Daimler’s First Electric Car

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The New Mercedes Benz S ClassMost odd stories relating to the environment tend to revolve around researchers and scientists and their slightly off the wall discoveries. But not so today. Today, in news of the weird — or at least slightly surreal — I bring you Daimler, the German automaker, who announced last week their very first hybrid car, the Mercedes Benz S Class. It’s a limousine.

No, they aren’t joking. Daimler’s new hybrid limo has two motors, one electric and one gasoline, and it puts out 186 – 189 grams of CO2 per kilometer compared to the 234 grams from a comparable model with a normal engine. Of course, the average car on the European street only emits 160 grams per kilometer. Daimler’s reasoning appears to be that some people will always want limos, and as such something is better than nothing.

German automobile manufacturers have been significantly behind burgeoning environmental trends within the industry. While Toyota released the Prius 9 years ago in Europe and Lexus, Toyota’s luxury line, released its first hybrid 5 years later, German companies preferred to focus on diesel engines, dismissing hybrids and electrics as blips on the radar.

But increasingly tougher emissions standards in Europe and market trends worldwide appear to be forcing German companies to rethink. BMW plans to launch a hybrid sedan this year, and Porsche is set to come out with a hybrid SUV in 2010. In recent months, Daimler purchased a 10% stake in Tesla Motors as well as an another battery company.

Still, in the grand scheme of hybrids, a semi-electric limousine is not going to impact the environment that much one way or the other. Hopefully, Daimler’s next offering will be a little more practical.

Photo Credit: Mercedes Benz

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