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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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