1923 – Truck test trip from Stuttgart to Berlin and back
The new truck of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) needs ten days for its test drive in September 1923. The commercial vehicle with the new air-injection diesel engine (29 kW/40 hp at 1000 rpm) demonstrates its practical usefulness on a journey from Berlin to Stuttgart and back. The trip between the DMG factories lasts from September 20 to 30, 1923.
1954 – Test drive through the USA
Bill Carroll undertakes a test drive straight across the USA in 1954 in a Mercedes-Benz 190 D. The journey of 8,243 kilometers (5,122 mi.) takes the motor sport journalist from Seattle to New York. The diesel fuel for the ride across the continent costs the tester all of 32 dollars and 27 cents. “For Americans this fuel consumption is utterly sensational,” a German report on the journey says. And the journalist’s conclusion is an unequivocal recommendation to buy: “For anyone who has to drive long distances, the Mercedes-Benz 190 D is the best car.”
Mercedes-Benz bets on the publicity value of the test drive from Pacific to Atlantic. Rightly so: “The huge interest in this achievement of Bill Carroll and the general admiration for it permit us to assume, without exaggeration, that Mercedes-Benz diesel passenger cars will now continue their triumphal march through the United States.” Such is the resume of a report of the Stuttgart company on the American diesel marathon.
1955 – Triple victory in the Mille Miglia
The 180 D writes racing history too: in 1955, at the Mille Miglia, Mercedes-Benz dominates not only in the overall rankings, with Stirling Moss/Denis Jenkinson and Juan Manuel Fangio in the 300 SLR scoring a double victory. Stuttgart is also successful in the diesel ranking: Helmut Retter and Wolfgang Larcher win their class in a Mercedes-Benz 180 D. Their average speed is 94.6 km/h (58.8 mph). Karl Reinhardt and Wulf Wisnewski come in second, followed by Arturo Masera and Pasquale Cardinali. In the general classification the three 180 D’s take the places 201, 214 and 220. This outstanding victory in their class impressively demonstrates the capabilities of the diesel drive of the Stuttgart-built sedans.
1959 – Victory in the Africa Rally
In 1959 Mercedes-Benz racing driver Karl Kling again shows that the diesel drive can deliver a good sporting performance: with Rainer Günzler as navigator, he wins the Africa Rally over 14,045 kilometers (8,728 mi.) from Algiers to Cape Town in a 190 D. His average speed: 80.6 km/h (50.1 mph). Former Grand Prix driver Kling has succeeded the legendary Alfred Neubauer as racing manager at Mercedes-Benz – a position he holds from 1956 until 1968.
1959 – Diesel record in the 190 SL
A private rally team sets a world record for diesels in 1959 in a Mercedes-Benz 190 SL. The small roadster is specially fitted with a revised OM 621 engine. The four-cylinder unit displaces two liters and has an output of 44 kW (60 hp). That suffices to set a 24-hour record averaging a speed of 124.1 km/h (77.1 mph) in a 190 SL which, apart from the engine, is a stock car.
In 1961 the private rally enthusiasts repeat their attempt. This time the two-seater is thoroughly prepared to undertake the record run: all trim has been removed, and there is only a small, semicircular pane as windshield. With a 48 kW (65 hp) diesel engine under the hood, this time the record-breaking car averages 142.3 km/h (88.4 mph) over five kilometers (3.1 mi.) from a flying start.
1972 – Across the USA in a 220 D
11,000 kilometers (6,835 mi.) from New York through the United States in a Mercedes-Benz diesel – the customer magazine “Mercedes-Benz in aller Welt” describes this journey in 1972. The red sedan drives through big cities and across prairies, mountains and deserts on its way from coast to coast. The 220 D proves a reliable vehicle; on the Bonneville Flats in Utah it even dashes to 140 km/h for the travel diary.
1975 – Dieselstar
A Mercedes-Benz five-cylinder diesel engine with turbocharger powers the “Dieselstar” experimental car of motor journalist Fritz B. Busch in 1975. Busch built the record-breaking vehicle on the basis of a Formula 2 racing car. On November 16, 1975, on the test track in Ehra-Lessien (Lüneburg Heath) it establishes a world record for diesel cars, attaining a top speed of 253.7 km/h (157.6 mph). This is all the more remarkable in view of the fact that the existing diesel records have been established on straight-ahead stretches of the salt flats in Utah, USA. Busch, by contrast, also has to negotiate bends and brake the car on the test track.
The Mercedes-Benz engine for the record attempt is fitted with an AiResearch turbocharger and a special Bosch injection pump and is slightly modified: smaller cylinder bores reduce the displacement to 2,999 cubic centimeters; to handle the high loads the unit is also provided with a nitrided crankshaft, a heavy-duty oil pump and special injection nozzles. All said and done, the engine develops 138 kW (187 hp) at 4500 rpm.
1976 – C 111-II D
A year later, Mercedes-Benz themselves set as many as three world records for diesel cars: based on the C 111 concept car, a diesel racer takes shape which is used on record-breaking runs in Nardo, Italy. Among other things Stuttgart secures itself the best times for 5,000 miles (average speed 252.540 km/h or 156.9 mph), 10,000 kilometers (252.249 km/h or 156.75 mph) and 10,000 miles (251.798 km/h or 156.47 mph). In all, the C 111-II D posts 16 world records – 13 for diesel cars only, and three absolute record times. The C 111 actually originated as a test car for the rotary piston engine. But the end of the Wankel project after the second stage of development put this beautiful 1969 coupe on ice for the time being. Now the three-liter compression-ignition engine from the 240 D 3.0 gives the breathtaking sports car a new lease on life. The power unit gets the racer running with 140 kW (190 hp).
1978 – C 111-III<7b>
Two years later a new version of the C 111 with diesel engine again takes aim at a world record. This time, the record-breaking coupe is much changed from the original design: narrower, with a longer wheelbase, full fairings and extremely sophisticated aerodynamics, including fintails. The three-liter diesel engine now develops 169 kW (230 hp) thanks to a turbocharger and intercooler; the torque of the diesel racer has been boosted to 402 Newton meters. On April 30, 1978, the car maintains an average speed of 315 km/h (195.74 mph) on the twelve-kilometer circuit at Nardo for over twelve hours. Its consumption is only about 16 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers (14.7 mpg). That in itself should have earned it a world record. This time the C 111-III establishes nine absolute speed records, irrespective of engine type and displacement.
1992 – Biodiesel test with Mercedes-Benz taxis
The diesel engine also plays an important role in the application of alternative fuels. As early as 1992, Mercedes-Benz takes part in a large-scale test in Freiburg in which diesel taxis run on rapeseed oil methyl ester instead of diesel for one whole year.
2003 – F 500 Mind research car
At the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz presents a diesel hybrid drive in the new F 500 Mind research car. The engineers combine the high-torque V8 diesel engine of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class with an electric motor arranged between the internal combustion engine and the modified automatic transmission. Pairing the two produces the most powerful, torquiest hybrid drive for rear-wheel-drive cars in 2003. While the V8 diesel develops 184 kW (250 hp) and attains a maximum torque of 560 Newton meters, the electric motor contributes an additional 50 kW and 300 Newton meters maximum torque. The classic division of labor between the two drive systems, depending on the situation, and the recuperation of energy from braking allow the diesel hybrid drive to reduce fuel consumption in the European driving cycle by about 20 percent versus a comparable production vehicle.
2003 – Synthetic diesel fuel
In 2003 Mercedes-Benz presents an alternative diesel fuel. It is obtained synthetically from vegetable matter, which makes this fuel neutral with respect to carbon dioxide. The CO2 blown out the tailpipe during combustion equals exactly the amount which the plants extracted from the atmosphere during the growth process.
2004 – GST 2 concept car
The Vision GST 2 displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2004 has a diesel hybrid drive. The Grand Sports Tourer concept car is thus more than a successor to the gasoline-engined Vision GST of 2002. The pioneering hybrid consisting of a V8 diesel and an electric motor is similar to the one already used in the F 500 Mind. But now the hybrid operates in a vehicle with four-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmission. The Vision GST 2 with diesel hybrid affords ample dynamism and driving pleasure. The two power units with their total output of 300 kW propel the concept car from standstill to 100 km/h in 6.6 seconds; the top speed is elec-tronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).
2005 – S-Class Hybrid
In Detroit in 2005 Mercedes-Benz shows the S-Class Hybrid with the so-called P1/2 drive system. It combines a powerful CDI diesel engine with two electric motors. The eight-cylinder CDI develops 191 kW (260 hp) and a maximum torque of 560 Newton meters. The two electric motors together generate 50 kW so that the vehicle has maximum power of 241 kW (340 hp). This makes the S-Class sprint from stand-still to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds – tops for hybrid vehicles.
2005 – E 320 CDI on the way to a world record
2005 – Economical traveling in a long-distance test through the USA
The world-record-setting diesel sedans again show what they can do during a long-distance journey carried out under everyday conditions. In the summer of 2005 this test takes place on highways in the south of the United States. The E 320 CDI sedans make do with an average five liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers (47 mpg) on their trip through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. In another six-day test drive through the USA from Las Vegas to Chicago in the summer of 2005, despite differences in altitude of altogether 23,000 meters (75,400 ft), the E 320 CDI merely requires an average 7.1 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers on the selected route (33.1 mpg).
2005 – Bionic research car
DaimlerChrysler launch their BLUETEC initiative for passenger cars in 2005 at the Innovation Symposium in Washington by presenting the bionic car. The bionic mobile is a research vehicle whose exterior shape makes use of the aerodynamic principles of nature. But the drive also has to be maximally environment-friendly, and so the engineers introduce the SCR technology for passenger cars in this vehicle. The engine of the bionic car is a four-cylinder turbodiesel with common rail direct injection and a displacement of two liters. This diesel engine develops 103 kW (140 hp) and consumes 4.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (54.65 mpg) in the standardized European driving cycle. An impressive feature is the more than 80 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides versus production vehicles. This is made possible by the first-time use of SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology in a car. In the bionic car the designers opt for AdBlue injection; the reservoir is space-savingly accommodated in the spare wheel recess of the concept car. Its filling suffices to cover a distance equal to the servicing interval of an up-to-date diesel engine from Mercedes-Benz.
2005 – S 320 BLUETEC Hybrid
At the 2005 International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main, Mercedes-Benz presents the S-Class S 320 BLUETEC Hybrid as a luxury-class vehicle in which the low-emission BLUETEC diesel with SCR technology provides the basis for an ultramodern hybrid drive. The electric motor of the hybrid vehicle is integrated into the drivetrain.
2006 – GTL Demonstrator
In 2006 Mercedes-Benz creates the GTL Demonstrator test car on the basis of the E 320 CDI. It offers extremely clean combustion thanks to a tailor-made fuel manufactured from liquefied natural gas (gas to liquid, GTL). Even without aftertreatment of the nitrogen oxides, the car achieves emission levels far below any of the current limits. However, GTL diesel in larger quantities will not be available at filling stations until some time in the future.
2006 – Synthetic fuel
To further expedite the use of synthetic fuels, in March 2006 DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Royal Dutch Shell, Sasol Chevron and Volkswagen form the “Alliance for Synthetic Fuels in Europe” (ASFE). The synthetic fuels include SunDiesel, obtained from organic matter (biomass to liquid, BTL), and synthetic GTL diesel, obtained from natu-ral gas. Synthetic fuels are already contributing to the reduction of emissions. The aim is to better utilize this potential with more advanced technology.
2006 – E-Class SunDiesel
At the Challenge Bibendum in Paris, besides other vehicles Mercedes-Benz shows an E-Class which operates on the BTL fuel SunDiesel. The use of such biogenic fuels causes no additional carbon dioxide to be released, as combustion produces only as much carbon dioxide as was absorbed by the plants during their growth. BTL diesel thus improves the CO2 balance by as much as 90 percent compared with conventional diesel fuel. And there are no technical limits to the use of SunDiesel.
In addition, in Paris DaimlerChrysler displays a concept car – the smart fortwo cdi hybrid – in which a diesel drive and electric motor work together. The consumption of the smart fortwo cdi hybrid is expected to be about 2.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (81 mpg), obtained with a sprightly driving style.