Going all the way to ensure that it’s hybrid cars are really what they stand for, Mercedes-Benz has announced that they will launch the first hybrid with lithium ion batteries. Presently most hybrid cars use nickel-metal hydride batteries, but the S400 BlueHybrid the first Li-ion HEV that will hit production lines by 2009. Lithium ion batteries are more efficient than nickel-metal hydride batteries and have a better weight-to-power ratio, and are used in the all-electric Tesla roadster as well as in many plug-in hybrid conversions. However the hitch with large stacks of lithium ion batteries is that they can overheat, posing a serious problem in an automotive application. But Mercedes-Benz claims that they have secured 25 patents around making lithium ion suitable for cars. Integrating the battery with a car’s climate control system, which maintains the battery temperature at between 60 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, solved the problem.
Mercedes-Benz will first use lithium ion batteries in its S400 BlueHybrid, launching in 2009. The S400, unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, will use a 3.5-liter V-6 engine complemented by the hybrid system. Mercedes-Benz claims 30 mpg for the S400 and a 0 to 62 mph time of 7.3 seconds with its 300 horsepower.