Mercedes-Benz could become electric 30 years agoMay 5, 2020
Electric cars could become a mass phenomenon on the roads much earlier if the experimental Mercedes-Benz 190E 30 years ago were launched in a series.
In May 1990, at an exhibition in Hanover, Mercedes-Benz introduced the all-electric 190E sedan. The idea of the project was to test the Model 190E platform for various drive types and battery locations.
At that time, the possibilities were assessed mainly of sodium-nickel-chloride or sodium-sulfur batteries, which had a much higher energy intensity than conventional lead-acid batteries.
At the 1991 Geneva Motor Show, the company introduced a more advanced version of the 190E Electro. Electric 190E possessed all the characteristics and safety level of a conventional ICE model.
The exhibition copy, presented in Geneva, had in its arsenal two DC electric motors – one for each rear wheel. The total power was modest by modern standards, 44 hp. According to the creators, the power reserve of the electric 190E was 110 km.
The car used a sodium-nickel-chloride battery and a regenerative braking system that helped recharge the battery while driving. All excess was removed from the car to compensate for the weight of heavy batteries. As a result, the electric car weighed only 200 kg more than a similar model with ICE.
In order to assess the viability of the project, from 1992 to 1996, electric vehicles passed comprehensive tests on the German island of Rügen with the support of local authorities.
To evaluate the operation of electric vehicles in everyday use, an experimental batch of 10 Mercedes-Benz 190E Electro was made. They had various configurations of electric motors, transmissions and batteries.
Special recharging stations with solar panels were also installed on the island to evaluate the maximum possible effect of using “green” energy. In total, 60 cars and minibuses of various brands participated in the test.
Cars were tested by a variety of users, including local taxi drivers. According to representatives of Mercedes-Benz, there were practically no problems, and test cars showed excellent reliability.
One of the cars even dashed off 100 thousand km per year. Unfortunately, despite all the successes, the decision to launch electric vehicles in mass production was never made.
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