What does a 3 million dollar Mercedes hypercar have to do with climate change?
Surprisingly, quite a lot.
The Project One is not a mere concept car — this is a production vehicle that will be sold in 2019. I want to highlight it not just because of the performance, which is Bugatti Chiron insane, but because all of MB’s tech eventually filters down to ordinary vehicles.* More on this below, but first, the specs on the$2.8 million hypercar:
• 0 to 60 mph in about 2.6 seconds; top speed 217 mph;
• 1.6-liter V6 engine. This small engine makes 700 horsepower at 11,000 rpm;
• 3 electric engines, one each per front wheel, another for rear axle, adding another 500 horsepower. A 4th electric motor for instant, lag free turbo operation of the V6;
• plugin hybrid system with torque vectoring.
Production is limited to 275 and begins in 2019. If you haven’t ordered yours yet, so sorry, you are too late — they were long ago sold out.
Mercedes engineering innovations are important, as they have long set the bar for the auto industry, eventually becoming automotive standards. Think of things like 4-wheel independent suspension (1931), Rigid frames (1939), Side-impact protection (1939), Advanced collapsible steering columns (1939), Auto door locks (1949), Crumple zones (1951), Antilock Braking Systems (ABS), All-Wheel Drive (1985), CFC-free climate control (1991), Electronic Stability Program (1995), Anti-theft Protection (1997), Pre-Safe Collision Detection (2002) and more. If you like a safety feature of your current ride, the odds are it began in MB’s safety research lab.
This is why when MB decides to embrace hybrid technology, it is likely to be the single biggest threat to current EV leader Tesla. Daimler AG plans to spend $1 billion to start production of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles at its Alabama factory. Bloomberg News reported “The German automaker will build its fifth battery plant globally and create more than 600 jobs in the region, the company said Thursday in a statement. The Alabama factory will assemble electric sport utility vehicles, taking on Tesla’s Model X and making Stuttgart-based Daimler the first European company to assemble plug-in autos in the U.S.”
* I have a 1986 560 SL (118k miles) that has anti-lock brakes, seat belt tensioners, crumble zones, and other safety tech that was not standard equipment on most cars for another few decades.