Mercedes-Benz To Offer Lease-Only ML 450 Hybrid SUV

By dancurranjr On December 6th, 2009

Mercedes_ML_450_hybridThe first full-hybrid Mercedes-Benz, an ML450 sport-utility vehicle, will be available to customers Monday in the United States.

Using two-mode technology developed with General Motors and BMW, the ML450 Hybrid combines a 3.5-liter, 275-horsepower V-6 gasoline engine with two electric motors for a total power output of 335 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.

The all-wheel-drive SUV will not be available for purchase. Customers will be allowed to lease the vehicle for $659 a month for 36 months, or for $549 a month for 60 months. Mercedes officials did not say what would be done with the vehicles once the lease period is over.
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The German manufacturer says the hybrid system will provide fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. That’s an improvement of 46 percent over a comparable V-8 powered ML 550 SUV.

The ML 450 hybrid can operate on electric power alone up to 34 miles per hour. During parking and low-speed maneuvers it also operates exclusively on electric power.

The gasoline engine and electric motors team up seamlessly when maximum acceleration is required.

The two electric motors are housed within the modified automatic transmission.

One motor, on the transmission output shaft, is used when pulling away from a stop. It generates 80 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.

The second motor, located closer to the gasoline engine, assists primarily with acceleration. It produces 83 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque.

The electric motors get their power from a liquid-cooled, 288-volt nickel-metal hydride battery that is housed under the cargo floor. It does not diminish passenger or cargo space.

As is the case with other hybrids, the electric motors act as generators during coasting and braking to replenish the battery. The ML 450 Hybrid also has an automatic stop-start function that turns the gasoline engine off during stops at traffic signals and then automatically restarts it when the driver’s foot moves from the brake to the accelerator.

The ML 450 Hybrid follows the S400 mild hybrid sedan into Mercedes-Benz showrooms.


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