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Mercedes Building Ultralight Carbon Fiber E-Class

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On: Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 3:55PM | By: Chris Weiss


Mercedes Building Ultralight Carbon Fiber E-Class

Carbon fiber and other composites are clearly the way of the future. Currently they're primarily seen in race cars and high-end supercars, but assuming that costs eventually drop to a somewhat manageable level, we'd expect to see these type of NASA-esque materials slowly work their way into luxury cars and other more everyday models. After all, carbon fiber is one of the surest ways to save weight and weight savings = more efficient cars, something that every automaker is looking to build.

In a sign that carbon fiber is coming, an Auto Bild report states that Mercedes-Benz is hard at work on an ultralight version of the E-Class. The German automaker plans to cut serious pounds with carbon fiber construction.

It's not yet clear where exactly carbon fiber will replace metal, but Mercedes reportedly plans to save 770 lbs., bringing the weight of this particular E-Class down to around 2,900 lbs. So we take it they'll be using a generous amount of carbon.

The superlight E-Class may increase efficiency and cut emissions by more than just the nature of its carbon fiber design. Mercedes is reportedly considering offering hydrogen fuel cell and/or gas-hybrid powertrains.

In addition to making the E-Class leaner and more efficient, the carbon structure will open up new design possibilities. Because the carbon is stiffer than steel, Mercedes designers can consider losing the B pillar and possibly even adding gullwing doors. The design will be influenced by the CLS.

The car will debut in 2015. I guess a possible fuel cell version would probably have to come later, since Daimler's fuel cell partner, Nissan, recently said that it won't get fuel cell technology to market until after 2015.




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Stephy21 | 9:01AM (Thu, Nov 3, 2011)

A lighter Mercedes that would be awesome. But lets hope the price isn't outrageous for this new ultralight carbon fiber car.



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