That's the response Mercedes-Benz is shooting for when it unveils its natural-gas powered B 200 vehicle at the Paris Motor Show later this month.
Mercedes is pitching a five-seater that will cost half as much to refuel as its gas-powered equivalent while emitting 16 percent less greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the 156-horsepower B 200 Natural Gas Drive will get the equivalent of about 56 miles per gallon and have a full-tank range of about 300 miles, all while delivering a 0-62 miles per hour acceleration time of 9.1 seconds.
Additionally, the vehicle will feature what Benz calls its "Energy Space" modular body concept, where part of the floor beneath the back seat can be removed to clear more space for natural-gas containers. Mercedes will start selling the Mercedes-Benz B 200 Natural Gas Drive in Europe early next year, though it didn't announce a price. We do have more details in the press release below.
Stuttgart, Sep 06, 2012
Stuttgart. With 16 percent less CO2 emissions, significantly cleaner exhaust gases than petrol or diesel fuel and around 50 percent lower fuel costs than a comparable petrol model, the new Mercedes B 200 Natural Gas Drive featuring, as its name suggests, a natural gas drive, has a lot to recommend it. The latest model in the successful B-Class family is due to make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show (27 September to 14 October 2012).
The B 200 Natural Gas Drive is the first B-Class model to make use of the "ENERGY SPACE" modular body concept: a partial double floor beneath the rear seat bench creates space to accommodate one large and two smaller natural gas containers, holding a total of 125 litres of natural gas (corresponding to approx. 21 kg). Thanks to this intelligent packaging method, the five-seater model is able to retain the generously proportioned luggage compartment for which it is known.
In natural gas mode, consumption of the 115 kW (156 hp) B 200 Natural Gas Drive is just 4.2 kg/100 km – corresponding to CO2 emissions of 115 g per kilometre. As a result, emissions are around 16 percent lower than those of the B 200 BlueEFFICIENCY with petrol engine, which offers equal performance. The new model belongs to efficiency class A and meets the EURO 6 emissions standard, which is not due to come into effect for all petrol-engined vehicles until 1st September 2014. But the model not only spares the environment – it is also good on the wallet: converting the consumption of the B 200 Natural Gas Drive into the energy equivalent of petrol, the price per kilometre comes out at around 50 percent lower than the fuel costs of driving a petrol model.
Performance is also on a similarly dynamic level: the B 200 Natural Gas Drive can reach speeds of up to 200 km/h, and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds. The B 200 Natural Gas Drive works according to the monovalent+ principle. This means that its engine is basically operated using gas. For emergencies, there is a small 12-litre petrol tank on board. In the event that the gas tank should ever run dry, the vehicle switches over automatically, and imperceptibly, to petrol operation. And because drivers are not able to select petrol mode themselves, the B 200 Natural Gas Drive is taxed more favourably as a natural gas vehicle. The range in natural gas mode is around 500 kilometres.
The trip computer menu in the instrument cluster has been extended in the case of the B 200 Natural Gas Drive: the respective operating mode is displayed. In addition, a fill level indicator and remaining range are included for petrol mode. In gas mode, the driver has access to all of the regular trip computer functions.
Visually, the B 200 Natural Gas Drive also differs from other B-Class models in terms of a few details. Its main characteristics include the distinctive front bumper with strip-form LED daytime driving lights.
Vehicles fitted with natural gas drive are not only particularly environmentally friendly, they are also sustainable. This is because in addition to mineral natural gas, they can also be operated using biogas. Even synthetically produced gas can be used: this is produced using "excess" energy from solar power plants or wind farms, and in the future could help to resolve the storage problems encountered with alternative power generation. In this respect, overall the B 200 Natural Gas Drive can be considered to be emission-free.
The B 200 Natural Gas Drive is celebrating its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show and is optionally available with manual transmission as well as the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission. It is due to arrive in dealerships at the beginning of 2013.
With the B 200 Natural Gas Drive, Mercedes-Benz is adding a particularly economical and ecological variant to the new B-Class family. Since its market launch in November 2011, the B-Class has enjoyed outstanding popularity among customers: by the end of June, more than 70,000 units had been sold worldwide.