You know times are changing when Mercedes-Benz are showing off extremely attractive concept cars with support for hybrid and all-electric powertrains. Say hello to the F800 Style concept car which is expected to debut at next month’s Geneva MotorShow.
Given that it’s Mercedes-Benz, the F800 Style concept is a showcase of both genius design but also the German company’s future in fuel efficient vehicles. Mercedes says the five-seat premium sedan will combine fuel efficiency, safety and convenience as well as an “emotive design idiom”.
The most exciting feature is the F800 Style’s all-new multi drive platform. This means the car is built to accomodate electric drives with fuel cells or Plug-in Hybrids.
If combined with Merc’s fuel cell technology, it’s expected to drive more than 600km on a single tank (emission free) and 30km solely on electricity when driven via a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The idea is to provide emission free motoring for those seeking a premium-class automobile that is practical for everyday driving.
“We are dedicated to reconciling our responsibility for the environment with practical customer utility in a fascinating automobile,” says Dr. Thomas Weber, the Daimler Board of Management member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “The new F800 Style research vehicle combines this commitment to providing the leading innovative drive concepts with our traditional Mercedes strengths in the areas of design, safety, comfort, and outstanding performance.”
The F800 measures in at 4.7244 meters and within those dimensions engineers have stored the cars environmentally compatible alternative drives (Plug-in Hybrid or fuel cell drive system). They are either tucked away in the engine compartment or cleverly stored in the gaps within the chassis. Unlike some current hybrid cars the drive systems are designed to take as little space as possible.
“For many decades now, our research vehicles have been turning pioneering concepts into reality and thereby setting future trends. We set a course on the large touring sedan segment in 2007, when we presented the F700,” says Prof. Herbert Kohler, Head of E-Drive & Future Mobility and Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler. “Characteristic features of the F800 Style are its innovations, whose development is already close to the series production stage. This is true not only of the electric drive with fuel cells but also of the Plug-in Hybrid, whose components were taken from our modular system for electric and hybrid vehicles.”
Mercedes-Benz will make use of a V6 petrol engine with around 224kW mated to an electric engine which generates around 80kW of power, giving over 300kW of power. The greatest feature is the ability to charge the lithium-ion battery either at a charging station or a household power socket.
The company says the F800 Style research vehicle is another step towards market-ready Plug-in Hybrid cars. Mercedes-Benz is expected to begin series production of the S500 Plug-in Hybrid with the introduction of the next-generation S-Class.
So the all important fuel economy figures? How does 2.9 liters of petrol per 100 kilometers sound? Sounds even better as it puts out just 68 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer.
Unlike current hybrids the F800 is actually a relatively quick car, dashing from 0-100km/h in under 5 seconds and able to drive in full electric mode for speeds of up to 120km/h.
The electric module is integrated into the housing of the seven-speed transmission while the lithium-ion battery is placed underneath the rear seat.
The other option of course is the F800 Style with electric drive and fuel cell technology. Using this powertrain the F800 develops around 100kW of power and 290Nm of torque.
It works when the fuel cell generates the traction current by chemically reacting hydrogen with oxygen onboard the vehicle, producing water vapor in the process as the only emission.
It wouldn’t be a Mercedes if it didn’t come with a whole heap of ultra-cool gadgets. For example, the F800 Style features a new multi-function display concept and a human-machine interface (HMI) with a cam touchpad. An intelligent expansion of the COMAND system already in use in Mercedes vehicles, the HMI consists of a touchpad on the center console and a camera that records video images of the user’s hand as it works the pad.
In what can only be described as pure science fiction made into reality, the touchpad works by presenting live image of the hand in transparent form in the central display above the console. The user sees the contours of his or her fingers glide across the image without covering anything, thus ensuring that all of the functions of the currently used menu remain visible so that they can be easily operated by applying slight pressure to the touchpad. Pressing the display with one’s fingers generates a feeling similar to that of touching laptop keys so that users know when they are carrying out specific actions.
Similar to an iPhone, wiping, pushing, turning, and zooming on the touchpad gives options to control many of the car’s features such as climate control system, telephone, stereo and navigation systems, and Internet access.
Other cool new features include the active radar cruise control but not the vehicle is able to steer itself around corners at speed below 40km/h.
Overall the new F800 Style concept presents an exciting insight into the future of cars from the German giant.
More details on other technological achievements are attached below:
Range on Map: Graphic range depiction during electric operation
Another very user-friendly innovation created by the Mercedes engineers is the “Range on Map” function, which shows the remaining possible travel radius during electric vehicle operation as a 360° depiction on a map. Should municipalities only permit purely electric automobile traffic in the future, the driver can determine whether the electric range of his or her vehicle is sufficient for the journey into and out of the urban area by means of the Range on Map function. The system provides this function by combining information on the current battery charge level with data from the navigation system.
In the new operating and display concept, Mercedes-Benz has created a solution that provides an unparalleled amount of information in a system of exemplary clarity. The engineers have thus achieved the goal of successfully developing a comprehensive yet easy-to-operate information and control system for future automobiles equipped with electric or partially electric drive systems. A further-developed version of the system can also display recharging stations.
Mirror display is easy on the eyes
The mirror display of the innovative cam touchpad HMI eliminates the differences between close proximity visibility and visibility over longer distances, thus contributing to the driver’s physiological safety in a manner typical of Mercedes. The system displays driving and vehicle information via a mirror in the instrument cluster so that they appear to be farther away. The distance the eye looks into is thus extended, which means less switching between near and far focus – and therefore less fatigue – for the eyes.
New DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant further reduces the stress of driving
Back in 2006, Mercedes-Benz introduced DISTRONIC PLUS, the world’s first proximity and speed control system that operates even when the car is standing still. The system substantially reduces the stress for drivers in dense traffic, as it regulates the distance from the vehicle in front even at very low speeds all the way down to a standstill. With its new DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant feature in the F800 Style, Mercedes-Benz has also become the world’s first automaker to implement a system that is also capable of automatically following the vehicle in front of it into curves. The system recognizes the difference between driving along curving roads and turning, which means it does not “blindly” follow the vehicle up in front – for example, when it changes lanes in order to exit the highway.
The result is that at speeds of up to about 25 mph, the Traffic Jam Assistant function takes care of both longitudinal and transverse movements so that drivers do not have to steer themselves. The driver can just sit back and relax – with hands on the steering wheel. When the 25 mph mark is exceeded, the steering torque that keeps the vehicle in its lane is gradually reduced to a point at which the Traffic Jam Assistant smoothly disengages. Drivers can, of course, override the system at any time. Sensitive sensors notice active steering movements, thus automatically deactivating the system’s lateral control function.
“The DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant is the logical continuation of the Mercedes-Benz assistance and safety philosophy. With it, we are setting another milestone on the path toward creating innovative systems, with which we will further enhance the high driving comfort that is a hallmark of Mercedes,” says Prof. Bharat Balasubramanian, Head of Product Innovations & Process Technologies at Group Research and Advanced Engineering. The required data is generated by radar distance sensors that are supplemented by a stereo camera.
PRE-SAFE 360° improves safety in rear-end collisions
While the Traffic Jam Assistant heightens comfort and active safety, the innovative protective system known as PRE-SAFE 360° further improves passive safety. PRE-SAFE 360° is based on the proactive occupant protection system PRE SAFE® developed by Mercedes-Benz. Unlike the previous system, PRE-SAFE 360° also monitors the area behind the vehicle. As a result, the system engages the brakes around 600 milliseconds before an anticipated rear-end collision occurs. The key advantage of this system is that braking a stationary vehicle helps prevent secondary accidents such as those that occur when the car is pushed uncontrolled into an intersection or a pedestrian crossing. It goes without saying that PRE-SAFE 360° also allows the driver to take control at any time. For example, the brake is immediately released if the driver hits the gas pedal, should they recognize that there is sufficient space in front of their vehicle to avoid the rear impact.
Rear pivot-and-slide doors ensure maximum entry comfort
A particularly customer-friendly innovation of the F800 Style is its rear doors. Whereas the front doors are attached to the A-pillar in a conventional manner and open wide toward the front, the rear doors slide backward when opened, as they are suspended from an interior swivel arm. Because the doors slide back close to the vehicle body, occupants find it much easier to get into and out of the automobile in tight parking spaces.
The F800 Style also has no B-pillar, making the entire space between the A and C-pillars completely accessible when the doors are opened. Despite the lack of a B-pillar, the F800 Style boasts a bodyshell that is both extremely robust and lightweight, and that meets the stringent demands for crash safety that are a hallmark of the Mercedes brand.
Reinterpretation of the typical Mercedes-Benz design idiom
The F800 Style is both a technology platform and a showcar. This research vehicle was created through close cooperation between technical research and advanced engineering departments and the advanced design studios in Sindelfingen, Germany and Como, Italy. Its exterior appearance is marked by a long wheelbase, short body overhangs, and a sensually flowing roof line.
“The exciting coupe-like roof line, and in general the vehicle’s balanced proportions, lend it a stylish sporty look that reinterprets the Mercedes-Benz design idiom and emphasizes the sculptural character of the F800 Style,” says Mercedes-Benz Head of Design Prof. Gorden Wagener. “The result is a harmonious blend of innovative form and function, which conveys a sense of great styling and authority.”
Front end with distinctive LED headlights
The vehicle’s front end features a variation of the radiator grille with the centrally placed star that is typical of Mercedes sports cars. The curved radiator grille bars softly flow around the tube holding the Mercedes-Benz brand star. Along with the wide radiator grille and the generously curved air intake openings, the model’s unique bright LED headlights emphasize the dynamic nature of the research vehicle. The headlights are divided into individual segments for daytime running lights, turn signal indicators, and primary headlights. The F800 Style’s taillights are also equipped with state-of-the-art LED units that enable an exciting interplay of indirect illumination and direct beams. The result is an attractive, unmistakable, and memorable visual effect.
Wood and light create a cozy interior
Luxurious wood surfaces and lots of light ensure a high level of comfort in the interior of the F800 Style. Occupants will immediately notice the modern sense of lightness, and functional elements like the driver area and the door armrests seem to float in space like sculptures. The innovative lightweight-construction seats in the F800 Style consist of a magnesium shell and a carbon fiber laminate shell backed with a fine yet resistant netting. The seat shell also features genuine wood veneer. For the veneer process, Mercedes-Benz engineers used a 3D surface coating procedure designed especially for the veneering of three-dimensional surfaces. This same procedure was used to create the wood finish in the center console, on the doors, and in the driver area. These wood finishing pieces are molded as 3D laminated components and are augmented by an aluminum core, which ensures that the components meet the high crash safety standards that are a hallmark of Mercedes.