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Through the middle years of the last decade, it became increasingly common for celebrities to show up at events like award ceremonies in the Toyota Prius as a way of demonstrating their support for environmental causes. Now that the realm of the hybrid is expanding beyond the iconic pioneer, other automakers want a piece of that celeb action too. At the Palm Springs International Film Festival that starts this week, stars are getting lifts in a fleet of new hybrids from Mercedes-Benz.

2010 Mercedes Benz ML450 hybrid - click above for high-res image gallery

2010 Mercedes Benz ML450 hybrid - click above for high-res image gallery

2010 Mercedes Benz ML450 hybrid - click above for high-res image gallery

Mercedes-Benz ML 450 hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Click above for a high res gallery of the Mercedes-Benz ML450 hybrid

Mercedes-Benz ML 450 hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Next week at the New York Auto Show, we'll be getting our first up close look at a German production vehicle with the two-mode hybrid system. Among the vehicles that Mercedes Benz will publicly show for the first time is the production ML450 hybrid. The ML450 uses a new version of the two-mode hybrid system co-developed with General Motors, Chrysler, and BMW. Mercedes will be manufacturing the new smaller two-mode transmissions that it will use as well as supplying them to BMW for the upcoming X