Mercedes tuner Brabus is bringing a few cars to the Frankfurt motor show, but instead of fire-breathing, gas-drinking supercars, they're electric.
The company that brought us the 738-hp Brabus SL600 and the 788-hp Brabus S600 R is turning its considerable tuning powers to low-emission luxury cars--for now.
Brabus Zero Emission, the alternative-drive side of the Brabus business, will have two prototypes on display at the Frankfurt show. The first is a version of the European Mercedes E220 diesel called Technology Project Hybrid. It uses two electric motors at the wheel hubs to keep fuel economy up.
The second is an all-electric version of the sedan with four wheel-hub motors and 2,360 lb-ft of torque at the wheels.
The Technology Project Hybrid from Brabus has a direct-injection, 2.2-liter common-rail diesel engine with two supplemental hub motors from English manufacturer Protean Electric. Those motors produce 67 hp each in normal mode and 107 hp each when the sport button is pressed. Torque from the two hubs is rated at an astonishing 1,180 lb-ft, according to Brabus.
During electric cruising, the Mercedes is powered by an 18.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The company says that in eco mode the car can travel 75 miles with zero emissions. In sport mode, the vehicle can still go 50 miles. When both the engine and the electric motors are used, the car can go from 0 to 60 mph in just more than seven seconds. Drivers can also opt to cruise in standard diesel mode.
The system can recharge when coasting or braking, up to 140 kilowatts. For home charging, Brabus partnered with German energy provider RWE to create a 380-volt unit that can fill up the battery in 30 minutes, the company says. On a 220-volt outlet, it takes about 5.6 hours.
The extra weight of the car dictated an upgrade to the suspension. Brabus added a height-adjustable sport setup with variable dampers developed with Bilstein.
For the finishing touch, Brabus adds unique body panels, LED daytime running lights, sill plates and a new instrument cluster the displays all of the hybrid-related information.
The second car from the company will be a 320 kW (429-hp), 3,200 Nm all-electric vehicle based on the E-class sedan. It will come with a range of 217 miles, according to the company. The Brabus High Performance 4WD Full Electric will have four motors at the wheels making 80 kW and 800 Nm of torque each.
The fully electric E-class will be a heavyweight at 2,200 kg but will benefit from electric motors that provide 100 percent of torque at zero rpm. The sprint to 60 mph will take less than seven seconds, according to the company. But because of the wheel-hub motors' maximum speed of 2,000 rpm, top speed will be 137 mph.
There are benefits to putting motors at each of the wheels. Besides eliminating significant drivetrain loss, the all-wheel-drive system can disperse torque even more efficiently with the electric motors during slippery conditions and maximize brake regeneration.
Charging will take 1.5 hours with the 380-volt charger and about five hours with the 220-volt unit.
The cars are prototypes, so no prices have been announced yet. The company does say, however, that both could be put in to low-volume production in the future.