The Mercedes S-Class plug in hybrid gets ever more sustainable… 

Mercedes-Benz S 580 e

Manufacturers are working hard to make their cars more sustainable, and certainly the premium cars with an expected long service life have a lot to prove here. So it is only logical that Mercedes for instance is making very big efforts, as they recently communicated. We found it very interesting, as it will become ever more important in the future.

The Mercedes communiqué starts with telling us first how much the new S Class has improved: 

It has twice the electric range with a good 100 kilometres, boasts 110 rather than 90 kW of electric power and a level luggage compartment with through-loading facility: the new plug-in hybrid from Mercedes-Benz, the S 580 e has combined fuel consumption, weighted of 1.0-0.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions are, weighted: 22-15 g/km; combined power consumption, weighted: 24.8-20.7 kWh/100 km.

Also very important, over its entire lifecycle, it is more environmentally friendly and therefore more sustainable: if the production, its use over 300,000 kilometres and recycling are taken into account, this model produces around 14.1 % (charging with European power mix) or 36.2 percent (hydroelectric power) lower CO₂ emissions than its predecessor, the S 560 e. This is a result of the Mercedes-Benz 360° environmental check.

“We have accelerated our Ambition 2039 programme to make our vehicles and our company CO2-neutral. We are systematically following this objective, with a comprehensive approach. That is why we look at the entire value chain: from development to the supplier network, our own production, the electrification of our products and the use of renewable energies to recycling at the end of the use phase,” says Markus Schäfer, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, Chief Technology Officer, Development & Procurement. “Mercedes-Benz documents these effects precisely, and has the resulting balance sheet checked and confirmed by independent experts The S 580 e has successfully completed this validation audit.”

The S 580 e is produced in the highly flexible Factory 56 in Sindelfingen. Installed on its roof is a photovoltaic system with around 12,000 PV modules and an output of around 5000 kWp (kilowatt peak). This feeds self-generated green electricity to the production shop. The upstream production of materials and components creates more carbon dioxide than for the previous model. This is mainly due to the increased light-alloy content in the bodyshell and the larger high-voltage battery with a capacity of 28.6 kWh. This disadvantage in production can be more than compensated during the service life of the car: doubling the electric operating range leads to a significantly higher proportion of all-electric journeys. Over the entire operating life, there are clear advantages for the S 580 e, especially where CO2 is concerned. This is especially true when renewable electricity is used for charging.

Thanks to the higher proportion of all-electric driving, the consumption of fossil resources (ADP fossil) can be reduced by 16 percent (European power mix) or 59 percent (hydroelectric power) respectively.

More facts are coming out of this 360° environmental check:

A total of 202 components of the new S-Class are made from resource-saving materials. The total weight of these components is 98.9 kilograms.

For example, the floor coverings are made from a regenerated nylon yarn with the trade name Econyl®. This is manufactured by recovering nylon waste destined for landfill, for example old fishing nets and fabric remnants from mills and carpets.

The new S-Class was developed to meet the seal of quality requirements of the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF), and has been awarded this seal. ECARF awards this seal in recognition of products whose allergy-friendliness it has scientifically tested. The requirements are extensive: numerous components from each equipment variant of a vehicle are tested for inhalable allergens, for example. In addition, the pollen filter is tested for correct functioning in both new and used condition. In addition, tests are performed using human subjects.

Dismantling information for ELV recyclers plays an important role in the recycling concept. For the S‑Class too, all necessary information is provided electronically by means of the International Dismantling Information System (IDIS).

Steel/ferrous materials account for about 35.5 percent of the vehicle weight in the new S 580 e. This is followed by light alloys with 27.1 percent and the polymer materials with 18.3 percent.

One sees again that attention to detail and painstakingly thorough development bears its fruits when designing and producing a car, and the oldest car manufacturer in the world certainly has a tradition to uphold…with success!  

Just look at the photo and the two graphs, and here we want to point out that on a modern car like the S Class, only 35 % of the whole automobile is still made of steel… 

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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