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The Benzel-Busch Green Fleet and Mercedes’ Long History in Electric Cars

electric car

If you think that electric cars are a new invention, you don’t know the history of Mercedes-Benz. In 1906—around the time of the first passenger flight and the debut of the first US movie theater—Mercedes was engineering a battery-powered vehicle. 

Decade after decade, the company has made advances to that original prototype. Electric passenger cars led to electric trucks, buses and even fire service vehicles with battery-electric propulsion. 

Today, we at Benzel-Busch offer the modern hybrid and electric successors to those original Mercedes vehicles, as well as Audi hybrid and electric, and smart electric vehicles. 

Mercedes Electric B-Class: The B-Class performs, looks and feels like any other Mercedes, only without the necessity of gasoline. The 177-hp electric motor will take you from zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds and can be charged in 2 hours to take you up to 60 miles. 

With Mercedes’ extensive EV-building experience, the Electric B-Class naturally managed a few EV firsts, such as an optional radar-based regenerative braking system. The radar system watches traffic around the car and adapts the brakes to recapture optimal amounts of energy. It also gets the driver more miles for every charge. 

The five-door compact has an athletic body and iconic details. It is elegant in a way that other EVs are not, featuring a distinctive range of high-tech systems to which only Mercedes drivers are accustomed. ATTENTION ASSIST® senses a drowsy driver, PRE-SAFE® helps prepare for an accident before it happens, and COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST uses radar to help the driver avoid rear-end accidents. Interior features include power front seats with memory, hand-finished leather and wood, and the ability to park hands-free. 

Mercedes E400 Hybrid: The E-Class is offered with gasoline, diesel and hybrid powertrains. Through regulated fuel pumps and alternators, this car turns to gas only when necessary. It also includes the industry’s first 7-speed automatic transmission (with shift paddles) and fuel-saving ECO Start/Stop technology.

Even as a hybrid, this car stands apart from other E-Class Sedans in style and luxury. The E-Class has a refined, aerodynamic exterior (featuring LED lights) that is made overwhelmingly from high-strength steel and includes aggressively sculpted bumpers, side sills and a distinctive new Mercedes grille. New exterior innovations include a tinted glass sunroof for clear days and rain-sensing windshield wipers for dreary ones. 

Inside, Mercedes’ exquisite craftsmanship is apparent in a sleek metallic trim, hand-polished wood complements, hand-fitted upholstery and a classic analog clock—just like Mercedes-Benz sedans of the past. At the center of the console is the Cockpit Management and Data (COMAND®) system, featuring a high-resolution color display that can be accessed via integrated steering-wheel controls. COMAND gives drivers control of audio, video, hands-free calling and optional navigation functions.

Mercedes S550 Plug-In Hybrid: Making use of a 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor, the S550 Plug-In Hybrid can get from zero to 62 mph in just 5.2 seconds. It can also go for up to 20 miles at 87 mph hour on electric power alone. This automotive icon performs like a V8, consumes fuel like a compact and has three modes: Hybrid, E-Save and Charge. It also allows drivers to take control, or to sit back and let the car to do what it does best. 

An electronic selector and shift paddles on the steering wheel allow for gear changes without moving from the wheel, while shift paddles can be used for manual control when desired. But to forsake gear changing, adaptive logic aligns automatic shifting with the driver’s style. The S550 independently adjusts to driving conditions through AIRMATIC® semi-active suspension. And AIRMATIC's automatic 4-wheel level control keeps the car stable by compensating for cargo and passenger weight. 

The S550 cabin is a spacious oasis outfitted with loads of ambiance-inducing technology. Networks of hundreds of customizable interior LEDs and fiber optics are snaked throughout and can be adjusted in brightness and color. FrontBass audio uses the car’s front frame members as resonance chambers for twin subwoofers. And drivers can even opt for a fragrance atomizer—an LED-backlit vial in the glove box that has its own ductwork and gently scents the cabin (but never the driver’s clothes). 

Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC Sedan: The E250 BlueTEC was recently pronounced “America's most fuel-efficient new car" by Road & Track magazine, which is a real accomplishment for a proper mid-size luxury sedan. It gets an EPA-rated 45 mpg on the highway (very close to the industry’s top-performing hybrids) and looks just like other E-Class sports sedans—which is to say: it’s completely elegant and instantly recognizable. 

But the true advances are deep within. In addition to more efficient components, the springs and shock absorbers are tuned for shaper handling and more aggressive driving. AGILITY CONTROL suspension molds to the driver’s style and the road’s surface for more stability and a smoother ride. And 4MATIC all-wheel drive gives the driver additional control by optimizing torque to every wheel.

Style-wise, the E250 BlueTEC is fully loaded, from LED head- and tail-lamps and polished wood interior trim to a tinted glass sunroof and 17-inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels. Optional upgrades include (but are not limited to) a panoramic sunroof and heated Nappa leather steering wheel. 

Audi Q5 Hybrid Quattro: Audi has succeeded in building a sporty hybrid SUV that can travel in five different operating modes (combustion engine, electric drive, hybrid, recuperation or boosting) and combines six-cylinder performance with four-cylinder fuel economy. It can cover 1.8 miles with zero local emissions at a constant speed of 37 mph, and can drive at up to 62 mph under electric power alone. This lightweight vehicle champions electrically powered driving, yet can imperceptibly toggle between electric and gas power. 

The Q5 is a pitch-perfect partner for active individuals. Features like hill descent assist makes steep slopes safer, and an ESP stabilization system gives it precision and stability beyond the competition. For instance, the ESP system can sense how much weight is mounted on the roof rack (as much as 165 lbs) and adjust its center of gravity to keep the car balanced. 

On top of efficiency, the Q5 is spacious, exceedingly comfortable and convenient. Features include keyless access, a panoramic sunroof, three-zone automatic air conditioning, heated and cooled seats (in front), and roller sun blinds in the rear. The Q5 is available in a variety of design packages, including options for cloth or leather upholstery, and standard or sports seats. 

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron®: The e-tron is based on Audi’s stylish A3 five-door vehicle, only it can run independently on electric power or gas power. Or it can run on a combination of both, getting 95 mpg and achieving as much as 204-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That makes the e-tron a better performing car than many hybrids and even conventional cars. 

The e-tron’s electric powered driving is low cost and silent, and can cover up to 18 miles (on pure electric). That’s enough for short commutes and more than enough for errand runs. With the gas engine, Audi drivers can go just about anywhere. Gas provides power and charge when the battery is low, so that electric juice can pair with the traditional engine for more acceleration. 

Going the extra mile to offset emissions, Audi has teamed up with sustainability focused companies for a progressive Audi energy program. Among those companies are SunPower, which creates highly efficient solar panels and offers an alternative to home battery storage; and 3Degrees, an award-winning carbon-offset and renewable energy company that offers a carbon reduction package. 

smart electric: This car is 100% electric, and it is the most compact, eco-smart and low cost of the Benzel-Busch fleet. The smart electric can fit into nearly any parking space and has a single-gear transmission for instant torque and smooth acceleration. It’s also a member of Plug Share public charging stations all over the US. 

Smart electric has been on the road for almost a decade now and innovations have been remarkable. With a new 74-hp electric motor, weighing just 33 pounds, the new smart car can go from zero to 60 mph in 11.5 seconds—twice as fast as the previous smart electric. And despite it’s tiny frame, smart upholds some of the strongest safety standards in the industry. Engineered by leading safety innovators at Mercedes-Benz, the smart includes a crash management system, Electronic Stability Program and the world's only high-strength steel tridion safety cell (withstanding up to 9,000 pounds of force).

Smart electric is remarkably customizable, too. Customizing options include vehicle wraps, leather interiors, mirrors and instrument clusters in kinetic green—but panoramic roofs come standard.