Click on the image to view high-res shots of the Mercedes F700 concept

Massive amounts of money are being spent in the alternative energy sector of the automotive industry. Last year, Daimler spent $6 billion in research and development and another $2.7 billion on environmental protection. Expect those already rather large sums to increase in the coming years. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche says that the company will "increase these budgets even more and by 2010 we'll invest $21 billion in research and development." Daimler has invested heavily in hydrogen technology and holds twenty-five patents protecting new battery technology for automobile use. Further development will continue to cost a large chunk of change.

Of particular interest is the fact that Daimler intends "to offer at least one model in each of the Mercedes-Benz core model series that is a leader in fuel consumption," according to Zetsche. Despite looming legislation that will require more fuel efficient vehicles, Mercedes-Benz plans on continuing to offer vehicles that will meet the size, performance and luxury demands prospective buyers have come to expect from the premium German marque. Otherwise, it won't be $21 billion well spent.

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