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back to article Mercedes reveals plug-in, fuel-cell concept cars

Mercedes will unveil three electric concept cars at the Detroit Motor Show in January. According to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Mercedes will show the Blue-Zero E-Cell, which is powered solely by a lithium-ion battery pack, as well as two other variations on the 'leccy car theme. The Blue-Zero E-Cell Plus is a plug-in …

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Huh, not completely hideous

Actually that design for a hybrid (etc) vehicle isn't as butt-awful as some of the other designs that various manufacturers have come up with. After all, you can always swap out those wheels for something less ugly.

Perhaps the Germans have a bit more design sense than some of their fruitier neighbours, go figure.

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All well and good...

.. but for the majority of us who have no off-road parking (and therefore no practical means of re-charging over night), these are pretty useless.

I'd consider an electric vehicle ('specially that hawaiian pick-up), but until employers start offering on-site recharging, again assuming there is off-road parking, not much use.

Hmmm, seems to be a bit of a theme here. No off-road parking, no ability to recharge. Nice idea, but until the support infrastructure is in place 'leccy vehicles aren't going to take off. A bit like LPG vehicles, we see them everywhere don't we?

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Paris Hilton

Did anyone else read the name

"Blue Zero E" and come up with "Boozie" in their head?

Must get out more.

Paris for testing the back seat

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@A.N Other

Ever heard of an extension cable? Marvellous modern inventions, it would allow you to plug into your house and then, and this is the magic, run the cable to your car....

Also an added benefit is that it will help rid the world of more stupid people who will pick up the cable and bit it (or so I hope)

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Dashboard

Dashboard looks like soemthing you'd get in a McDonald™'s Happy Meal™ after a enw Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles™ film is released (or more accurately, for the 17 months preceding that event)

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Hmmm ...

I live in a 4-unit apartment building with 6 off-street parking spaces in front. There's actually an outside outlet directly in front of my space, about 5 feet away. I wonder if the landlord would notice the cord?

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J
Alien

Yay...

At least it's not too strange looking, as these guys designing "green" cars are prone to do. I still think my old(ish) C230K coupe is prettier than this. Can't they just make it look normal, like "evolution, not revolution"?

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Boffin

@A.N Other

Here in Norge, most businesses that offer employee or customer parking in covered garages actually have reserved carparks with electrical outlets specifically for 'leccy powered vehicles.

Those vehicles are also allowed to use the bus/taxi lanes on the motorways.

So, the Norweegies are actually quite progressive in that respect. Who'd a thunk it?

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Workplace recharging

Workplace recharging is perfectly possible is the employer is motivated to do it.

I work for Nokia and a while back I was on the intranet and I stumbled across some information and rules about the use of the electrical power points in a company car park at a site in the north of Finland. These power points are used to keep cars warm enough to start on minus 30 winter days. There is one power point for every parking space on that site, so clearly given a good enough reason, employers will install power in car parks.

I think the ideal way to do recharging would be for each car to have a power connector that has both high current connectors for power, and a set of 8 contacts that lead to a smart card slot and keypad inside the car. The smart card would be used to identify who is paying for the recharge. For communal car parks in blocks of flats or company car parks any dumb smart card with a serial number would do. For public car parks on the street or in motorway service stations the driver would insert a bank card and pay with chip and pin. This system would also protect the charging point on your driveway from passing motorists recharging their cars while you are at work.

Now all we need it for a standards body (Europe?) to standardize the connector, some motor manufacturers to produce cars, and some forward thinking employers or towns to install the charing points.

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Coat

cyclists?

leccy tec cars are just another way of knocking cyclists off bikes, except NOW, they accelerate faster from stop at junctions, and they're quieter. (At least they still have wing-mirrors)

Are they exempt from the proposed work parking levy???

Mine's the hi-vis yellow one.

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@James

"Also an added benefit is that it will help rid the world of more stupid people who will pick up the cable and bit it (or so I hope)"

I doubt it, make something idiot-proof and Nature will invent a better idiot. The only you might rid the world of are small children, followed closely by yourself when their parents catch up with you.

The economics are such that a "full charge" will be like a "full tank of petrol", and when petrol was £1.25 a litre earlier this year we had a rush of stories in the press about idiots emptying your tank in the night. If you leave electric cables out at night, someone *will* steal your supply. You'll wake up in the morning with a flat car battery and an inflated electricity bill.

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Workplace recharging is bullshit

The biggest limitation to small scale EV uptake is crap battery technology. The batteries are improving and might make that go away.

The biggest limitation to large scale EV uptake is the limited electrical supply in most countries. Changing to EVs will likely double or treble electricity demand for many people.

Three to four hour charging is not feasible if everyone tries to do it at once. Charging load would need to be staggered like electric water heating is staggered by control signals sent through the power lines.

Electricity demand is highest in the working hours. In California I believe the daytime electric rate is approx 3x what the night time rate is. Most other WesternisedAll that demand means that there is no surplus power for recharging EVs while at work (for most people working daylight hours anyway).

Unless there is a huge commitment to building extra generation, EVs will be limited to a few percent of cars on the road.

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Paris Hilton

@James

Wow!! What a wonderful idea!!!

Run an extension cable to my car, that's parked anything up to 100yds from my house, for anyone to steal my electricity!!! Now why didn't I think of that?

Even if the recharge plug is locked in some way, still not the brightest idea in the world. Epic fail, James. Of course, you could have just been sarcastic in your comment...

Paris, because even she's not *that* dumb.

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