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I was able to visit the Fuel Cell Development center when I visited Germany last year. I saw all of the vehicles that they show in this video and went for a ride in one of the fuel cell equipped B-Classes. It was seamless, impressive and entirely believable as a daily driver. Mercedes has also put fuel cells into commercial busses and delivery vehicles all over Europe. As this technology gains recognition and passes all of these tests it may become the most viable of the alternative fuel sources available now.
A customer of Atlanta Classic Cars went off the side of the road, overcorrected, crossed the road and hit a tree head-on at about 50 miles per hour. She had some surgery on her hand and her leg but will make a full recovery. The fireman told her husband that the tree tried to kill her and the car saved her life.
Notice in the pictures how some of the engine moved up and some moved down but nothing entered the passenger cabin. The most amazing thing to me is that all four doors open smoothly. With the entire front end crumpled, the passenger compartment was not compromised. Except for the mud, the inside of the car looks almost new!
And the story has a happy ending…She bought a brand new C300 over the weekend!
A customer e-mailed me last week to ask if the iPhone cradle they saw on Ebay would work in their car. Even though I had written about this part when Mercedes announced it I had never actually used one. I had my parts department order one for me and was able to test it today.
This cradle is designed to plug into the MHI port in most 2007-2008 vehicles and the 2009 S and CL. Any car that would use a bluetooth adaptor, what I call a “puck,” could use this cradle. This cradle is NOT compatible with the 3G iPhone. The 3G iPhone is too wide to fit into the cradle. There is a rumor of a 3G version but it doesn’t seem to be avaliable in the US yet. So, you plug the cradle into the car, synch the bluetooth and you now have a bluetooth adaptor that will also charge your iPhone as opposed to the normal puck that does not charge your iPhone. That seems to be the main benefit.
The instruction booklet also states that “If your vehicle is equipped with an iPod Integration Kit, it is possible to access the iPod functions of the iPhone in the cradle via the COMAND system…after an additional connection between the cradle and the iPod Integration Kit has been installed. A competent installation by a qualified specialist workshop must be performed for the connection of the iPhone Cradle to the iPod Interface Kit.” What that means is that you can’t just plug it in and start using it as both the phone and the iPod. You would have to take it out of the cradle and plug it into the kit to play music unless you pay the labor (and parts?) at the shop for them to re-wire it.
Also, I thought the plug on the side of the cradle (show above on the left) looked familiar. It is the same plug that the Multimedia Interface Cable or iPod/MP3 Adaptor Cable uses to plug into 2009 vehicles with the NTG 2.5 COMAND system (2009 ML, GL, R, E, SL, SLK). If you unplug the Multimedia Interface Cable and plug in the iPhone cradle you can access the iPod functionality of the iPhone and stay connected via bluetooth (shown below). This is not an improvement. You can already plug the iPhone directly into the Multimedia Interface Cable and do the same thing. The instruction booklet makes no mention of this extra cord on the side. Strange.
So, in summary… You cannot use this accessory with the 3G iPhone. You cannot use it with a 2008 or 2009 C-Class (no MHI). It is pretty useless for a 2009 ML, GL, R, E, SL and SLK. If you use an iPhone and would like it to charge in the car and you drive a 2007-2009 S or CL or a 2007-2008 E, ML, GL, or SL you might like it. Please consult with your parts department to definitely determine compatibility.
Mercedes-Benz has always had an eye on being a green company. From the vehicles they build to the factories they build them in, Mercedes is environmentally responsible and forward thinking. They have recently updated a portion of MBUSA.com to highlight some of their accomplishments. The Thinking GREEN section talks about the clean-burning diesel vehicles, the flex-fuel capability of the C-Class and the upcoming hybrid models. It also delves into manufacturing process and corporate initiatives. I found this to be very informative. You can visit it directly here.
The S400 will use a “mild hybrid” system that allows the battery to provide a boost to the engine when running and also restart the engine when it shuts off at a stop. Mercedes is using is a Lithium Ion battery pack, which is lighter and more efficient than the usual nickel-metal-hydride battery other manufacturers are using. The German Automobile Association and Europe’s largest car club, the ADAC, awarded its Yellow Angel award for the Innovation & Environment category for the use of this lithium ion battery technology. I thought this article from HybridCars.com was informative.
Fifth Gear recently reviewed a Smart Car that uses this shutting-off-at-a-stop system and said it was seamless. This system is demonstrated at 2:30 min in.
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If you have a 2008 or 2009 S/CL-Class or a 2009 SL/SLK/E/CLS/M/R/GL-Class with a Command head unit your software update should be available mid-October.
If you have a 2008 E/CLS/SLK-Class with a Command head unit the software update is currently being tested and they are hoping to have it available by the beginning of November.
All other 2008 and 2009 vehicles should receive “The Best of XM” without a software update.