Innovations have always been the driving force at Daimler. Our goal is to offer our customers fascinating products and customized solutions for safe and sustainable mobility. During the year under review, we made substantial progress in reducing the CO2 emissions of our vehicles. We also further expanded the range of vehicles we offer with alternative drive systems. In addition, our trend-setting innovations underscored our pioneering role in vehicle safety.
A tradition of innovation. Innovations have played a key role at our company ever since Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler invented the automobile. This is truer than ever today. After all, we must now reinvent the automobile if we are to cope with the accelerated pace of technological
progress and the challenges posed by climate change and environmental protection measures. Our customers expect safe, comfortable and powerful vehicles that are increasingly fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. In order to meet these requirements, we are forging ahead with the work in our research and development units.
At a total of €5.6 billion, Daimler’s investment in research and development once again reached the very high level of the prior year in 2012. At the end of the year, approximately 21,100 men and women were employed at Group Research and the in development departments of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Daimler Buses. We were also able to offer interesting employment opportunities to highly qualified staff — particularly at our international research and development facilities.
Our company’s innovative prowess is demonstrated by our extensive portfolio of intellectual property rights, which includes more than 21,000 patents and a broad range of trademarks and protected designs. Daimler registered 2,200 patents in 2012 (2011: 2,175), most of them for drive systems and safety. More than 1,000 of those patents involved emission-free mobility, especially in relation to electric drive systems with batteries or fuel cells.
- We are continuing to develop and further optimize our vehicles with state-of-the-art combustion engines in order to achieve significantly lower fuel consumption and emissions.
- We are achieving clear further increases in efficiency through customized hybridization, i.e. the combination of combustion engines and electric motors.
- Our electric vehicles with battery or fuel cells are making locally emission-free driving possible.
Further reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. We have significantly reduced the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of our cars in recent years. This reduction was largely due to our new and extremely efficient combustion engines, our downsizing/supercharging
concepts, and our new transmissions. In 2012, we were able to further reduce the CO2 emissions of our fleet of new vehicles in the European Union by 10 grams per kilometer to an average of 140 g/km. We thus achieved an above-average reduction in the CO2 emissions of our vehicle fleet once again in 2012, while undercutting the EU targets for this year. The use of new engines and our 7 G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission enabled us to lower the fuel consumption of our new 2011 and 2012 models by up to 30% compared to their predecessors. This achievement underscores our determination to consistently implement fuel efficiency technologies in all our vehicle segments. Our goal now is to reduce our fleet consumption and CO2 emissions in Europe to 125 g/km by 2016. Our new and highly fuel-efficient compact models and our rising volumes of vehicles with hybrid and electric drive systems will play a key role here.
Environmental certificate for the A-Class. The new A-Class from Mercedes-Benz uniquely combines driving pleasure, efficiency and environmental compatibility. Its low emissions — starting at 92 g CO2/km — and a Cd value starting at 0.26 are leading the way in the compact
segment. What’s more, all gasoline-engine variants of the new A-Class already meet the EURO 6 emission standard that will not take effect until 2015. The direct-injection gasoline-engine models (A 180, A 200 and A 250) already boast particulate emissions per kilometer that are below the extremely stringent limit which will become compulsory when the second stage of EURO 6 goes into effect in 2017. The outstanding environmental compatibility of the new A-Class was confirmed in October 2012 by neutral auditors from the TÜV Süd technical inspection authority, which awarded the model an environmental certificate in accordance with ISO standard TR 14062. The certificate was awarded following a comprehensive evaluation of the car’s environmental performance. This evaluation examined and documented every environmentally relevant detail. An analysis of the total lifecycle of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class — from its production and use to its disposal — reveals that the A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY version of the new model emits 16% less CO2 (5.7 tons) than its predecessor.
The most economical large premium sedan in the world. Despite its higher torque and increased power, the new E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID boasts minimal fuel consumption values (combined consumption: 4.1 liters/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 107 g/km). The
vehicle’s modular hybrid concept, which includes a lithium-ion battery, places no restrictions on space while ensuring an impressive driving experience. The four-cylinder diesel engine in the E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID has an output of 150 kW (204 hp) and produces 500 Nm of torque. The engine is perfectly complemented by a 20 kW/250 Nm electric motor. The hybridization concept also enhances driving comfort, as the vehicle starts and begins accelerating almost noiselessly. The hybrid module dampens vibrations from the combustion engine and the vehicle’s climate control system remains fully operational in the start/stop mode. The E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID has been available for delivery to customers in both a sedan and a station wagon version since June 2012.
Environmentally friendly drive systems for the B-Class. Our presentation of the Concept B-Class Electric Drive at the 2012 Paris Motor Show offered an initial preview of the electric future of the B-Class. The so-called ENERGY SPACE in the vehicle floor ensures that the space inside
the model is generous and variable. The ENERGY SPACE accommodates the lithium-ion battery in a safe and space-saving manner and ensures a good center of gravity. The model’s high-torque electric motor and powerful battery guarantee locally emission-free driving pleasure over a range of 200 kilometers on a single charge. The electric vehicle with the three-pointed star, which is particularly family-friendly, is almost ready for series production. Its market launch is scheduled for 2014.
The Mercedes B 200 Natural Gas Drive, which we also presented at the Paris Motor Show, has 16% lower CO2 emissions, much cleaner exhaust gases than those produced by gasoline or diesel engines and around 50% lower fuel costs than a comparable gasoline-engine model. This vehicle, which is fitted with either a manual transmission or the 7G DCT dual clutch automatic transmission, has been available at dealerships since the beginning of 2013.
With the B-Class, Mercedes-Benz now has a versatile automobile that can be equipped with the most diverse types of drive systems, ranging from combustion engines to all-electric battery-powered drive and fuel cells.
Series-produced electric vehicles. With a total of nine models, we offer a range of battery and fuel cell-powered, locally emission-free vehicles that is unique in the automotive industry. Our lineup starts with the smart-brand ebike and extends to passenger cars, vans, light trucks
and buses. As a result, we can meet almost all mobility requirements. In June 2012, we began manufacturing the new smart fortwo electric drive, which will be launched in various markets, including China and the United States. This vehicle is also being used for the innovative car2go urban mobility concept. Our Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL and the Mercedes-Benz Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid city bus are the most extensively tested fuel-cell vehicles in the world. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL has been on the road since the fall of 2010, and the Mercedes-Benz Vito E-CELL van has been delivered to customers since the middle of 2010. We also supply the Fuso Canter E-CELL and the Freightliner Custom Chassis MT E-Cell light-duty trucks. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive will be delivered to its first customers in mid-2013. The model is geared toward super-sports car fans with a passion for state-of-the-art engineering and futuristic high-tech solutions. In 2013, we will also launch the first electric vehicle built by the new DENZA brand in the Chinese market. We jointly developed, and now produce, this innovative model with our Chinese partner BYD. Finally, smart will launch a new electric scooter for use in urban areas in 2014.
Our broad spectrum of electric vehicles now on the road is being supplemented by economical hybrid models that meet a range of demands. They include the new Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID. Hybrid technology also offers major advantages for distribution transportation involving light trucks. For example, the new Fuso Canter Eco Hybrid, which is now also manufactured in Portugal for sale in Europe, requires about 25% less fuel than a comparable Canter model equipped with a conventional drive system. The Freightliner M2e Hybrid truck boasts up to 30% lower fuel consumption, and that figure for the Atego Bluetec Hybrid is between 10% and 15%. There are currently more than 3,000 Daimler hybrid light-duty trucks and walk-in vans on the road worldwide.
Economical heavy-duty trucks for Europe and North America. We have also continually reduced the fuel consumption of our heavy-duty commercial vehicles over the past few years. Our success here is due to engines that are even more efficient, improvements we have made
to tires and aerodynamics, and the use of an axle drive ratio in line with vehicle requirements. Our BLUETEC technology has also made a major contribution to this development.
The new Actros is the world’s first truck to comply with the future Euro VI emission limits. Extremely economical engines, a sophisticated aerodynamic concept and services such as the Fleetboard telematics system make our heavy-duty Actros and Antos trucks among the most efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles in their respective classes. For example, despite their sophisticated exhaust gas treatment systems, our new heavy-duty Euro V truck engines consume up to 7% less diesel fuel than their predecessors, while the fuel consumption of the Euro VI variants is as much as 4% lower. Our goal for the complete Daimler truck fleet in Europe is to reduce fuel consumption by an average of 20% per ton-kilometer for the period 2005–2020. We continue to work hard to develop the technological innovations that will allow us to achieve this reduction.
This year, we will also set a new benchmark for fuel efficiency in the North American truck market with the launch of our new heavy-duty Freightliner Cascadia Evolution, whose fuel consumption is up to 7% lower than that of the current model. This increase in fuel economy was measured in the course of a one-week real-life test drive across the United States and was confirmed by an independent agency. At the beginning of 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) complete range of Freightliner and Western Star trucks as fully compliant with the Greenhouse Gas 2014 (GHG14) regulations. DTNA is thus a pioneer in the US commercial-vehicle sector, since it already complies with the EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards that will go into effect at the beginning of 2014.
New buses with impressive fuel economy. In the Record Run Buses 2012, the new Mercedes-Benz Citaro urban regular-service bus and the new Setra ComfortClass 500 travel coach demonstrated that fuel consumption can be reduced in Euro VI-compliant buses and coaches
as well. During the Record Run Buses, five buses were monitored by neutral parties over a distance of almost 18,000 kilometers in October 2012. As it turned out, the anticipated fuel savings of four to six percent were noticeably exceeded, with the new Euro VI-compliant Citaro consuming 8.5% less fuel than its certified fuel-efficient predecessor. The new Setra ComfortClass S 515 HD also performed outstandingly, consuming 21.0 liters/100 km on average over a distance of 7,000 km — 8.2% less than a comparison model. Development engineers achieved these reductions by closely examining not only the drive systems of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro and the Setra ComfortClass 500, but also their auxiliary components. Whether alternators, battery management systems, radiator fans or air compressors — these and other components significantly affect fuel consumption and were therefore optimized down to the last detail in both model series. Aerodynamics also plays a key role in fuel economy — particularly when it comes to travel coaches. That is why we further improved the aerodynamic properties of the new Setra ComfortClass 500. The result is an outstanding drag coefficient of just 0.33. The drag was also reduced by a technology that is without parallel in the bus industry and lowers the vehicle’s height by 20 mm at speeds above 95 km/h.
Predictive Powertrain Control lowers fuel consumption. Predictive Powertrain Control, which has been available in the Mercedes-Benz Actros since May 2012, reduces the fuel consumption of our heavy-duty trucks by a further 3%. This new driver assistance system
recognizes the topography of the road ahead and can then react in a manner that optimizes fuel consumption. It is particularly effective when a truck is traveling uphill. In such a situation, the world’s first GPS-based cruise control system not only regulates vehicle speed and braking, but also intervenes in gear-shifting operations. The system thus increases the effectiveness of the fuel-saving EcoRoll function, which is standard in the Actros. It can also initiate a single or double downshift if it determines that such action is needed. All in all, this intelligent cruise control system helps to achieve the type of driving performance that could only be matched by an extremely motivated truck driver with an exceptional level of concentration.
Our Road to Accident-Free Driving. Vehicle safety is one of our core areas of expertise and a key component of our product strategy. For over 60 years, our engineers have been ahead of their time when it comes to developing new safety technologies. With our Road to Accident-Free
Driving strategy, we are striving to make mobility as safe as possible for all road users.
The new S-Class with all-round vision. What began ten years ago with PRE-SAFE® and continued with DISTRONIC PLUS is now leading to a new dimension in driving at Mercedes-Benz that will open up new perspectives for both drivers and automobile developers. In the future,
all of our fully networked and intelligent driver assistance systems will be combined into our Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive package, which will begin making driving safer and more comfortable in the new S-Class and already in the new E-Class, approaching the goal of autonomous driving. The features involved include the new DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with Steering Assist and the new BAS PLUS system with an intersection assistance function. The Adaptive Highbeam Assist PLUS system enables drivers to keep their high beams switched on continuously without blinding the drivers of other vehicles, which are kept out of the light cone. The new Traffic Sign Assist system now recognizes no-passing zones and can also alert drivers to road access restrictions. All of these new systems are based on an intelligent combination of multistage radar sensors and a new stereo camera whose two “eyes” enable it to monitor an area extending approximately 50 meters in front of the vehicle in 3D. The system can also maintain an overall view up to a distance of 500 meters ahead. The data provided by the camera is further processed by various systems with the help of intelligent algorithms that analyze the information. As a result, the system can detect and spatially localize oncoming vehicles, vehicles ahead and vehicles coming from the side. It can also recognize pedestrians, various types of traffic signs and road markings. Due to the simultaneous determination of position (three dimensions) and directional movement (an additional three dimensions) the system has been named “6D vision.”
An airbag for seatbelts. The Beltbag is another innovation being launched with the new S-Class as standard equipment. The device — an inflatable seatbelt strap — can reduce the risk of injury to back-seat passengers in a head-on collision by lowering the strain placed on the rib
cage. Once crash sensors detect a severe frontal impact, the airbag control unit triggers the inflation of the Beltbag. A gas generator then expands the multilayered belt strap with tear seams to as much as three times its normal width. The resulting larger surface area can better distribute the force acting on the occupants, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
Even greater safety in Mercedes-Benz trucks. Although the Mercedes-Benz Actros is already considered the world’s safest truck, both it and the new Mercedes-Benz Antos for distribution transportation are now becoming even safer, thanks to the next generation of the unique
Active Brake Assist 3 (ABA 3) system. Adaptive cruise control and emergency braking systems currently available on the market are able to recognize and react to moving objects such as vehicles moving or slowing down ahead. The new Mercedes-Benz ABA 3 system, which we presented in September 2012 at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Germany, is also effective in situations involving stationary obstacles such as construction site safety vehicles or vehicles that have broken down. In such situations, the new system independently brakes the truck until it comes to a standstill. ABA 3 thus provides important support — especially when lapses in attention occur. As a result, it can play a major role in reducing the number of accidents on the road.
Digital vehicle networking. Automobiles are increasingly being transformed into intelligent and digitally networked companions that not only react to situations and think ahead, but also link drivers to their social networks and the surrounding environment. (See Always on) One of the world’s biggest practical tests for car-to-X communication (C2X) is now demonstrating how networked vehicles can improve safety and efficiency. The trials — part of the simTD (Safe Intelligent Mobility — test field Germany) research project headed by Daimler AG — are examining 120 vehicles that have been on the road in the Rhine-Main region since mid-2012. These cars are linked to one another and to the traffic infrastructure, thereby enabling them to keep each other informed about the current traffic situation. Daimler is also researching and developing C2X communication systems in the United States, where the Group is equipping vehicles with C2X systems and carrying out tests at its site in Palo Alto, California. These activities in the USA enable Daimler, as a major global car maker, to take account of the American market’s unique needs regarding C2X communication and to harmonize technologies as much as possible.