Bi-Fuel Mercedes-Benz E-Class Runs On Natural Gas, In Germany

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2014 Mercedes-Benz E Class

2014 Mercedes-Benz E Class

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While electric cars get a lot of press, electricity is hardly the only way to power vehicles without using gasoline.

Discussion of natural gas as a vehicle fuel is rising again, in part due to huge supplies coming online in North America.

Now Mercedes-Benz has launched its latest vehicle powered by the fuel, with the rather cumbersome name of 2014 Mercedes-Benz E 200 Natural Gas Drive, in its native market of Germany.

It's a bi-fuel car, meaning that it can run on natural gas or gasoline--making it more practical for longer-distance and varied use patterns than a fully natural-gas vehicle like the 2013 Honda Civic Natural Gas sold in this country.

The natural-gas E-Class mid-size luxury sedan uses a 156-horsepower four-cylinder engine that's been adapted to run on either natural gas or gasoline.

The car switches automatically to gasoline when the 121.5 liters of natural gas, stored under high pressure, runs low. It's also fitted with a start-stop system that switches off the engine, on either fuel, when the car is at rest.

Running on natural gas in the European test cycle, the bi-fuel E 200 emits just 116 grams of carbon per kilometer. When it switches to gasoline, that rises to 147 g/km.

Mercedes-Benz quotes a 0-to-62-mph acceleration time of 10.4 seconds.

Natural gas is considerably cheaper than gasoline in Germany, where the company estimates that if a driver covers 12,400 miles (20,000 km) a year on the gaseous fuel, the cost savings will be 1,000 (roughly $1,340).

Mercedes-Benz quotes a range of more than 250 miles on natural gas, and another 560 on gasoline--or another 744 miles if the buyer chooses to fit an optional 80-liter (21-gallon) gas tank.

The natural gas is stored in three cylinders: two under the trunk floor, and one behind the rear seat back. Despite this, the company says the trunk offers 14 cubic feet of cargo volume.

While the company notes that the E 200 Natural Gas Drive is the first bi-fuel vehicle offered in the luxury sedan segment, it has no plans to offer the natural-gas E-Class in North America.


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Comments (6)
  1. the acceleration is on par with a smart car, no thanks.... CNG is a waste of time, the only tech that gives real promise is all electric being 90-97% efficient.

    i seriously dont get why everyone wants to keep burning stuff, burning anything is a waste as the majority of the output is heat and light, not exactly usable for kinetic motion.

  2. Natural gas is non-toxic, odorless, clean-burning and cheaper than gasoline and diesel. This replacement fuel will help us move forward on the road to independence from dirty, expensive oil.

  3. @Laura: Ummmmmmm, natural gas is "non-toxic"? Then why does putting your head in an unlit gas oven kill you? I'm confused.

  4. @John Voelcker: Ummmmmmmmmmmmm, I'm surprised at you. Your replies in here are are usually well thought and considered, but this jibe is beneath you.

    Water is generally considered non-toxic.

    Then why does putting your head in a full bucket of water kill you? I'm (not) confused, just disappointed.

    Both will kill you, and toxicity will play no part.

  5. @Hugh: The question was absolutely serious. But your response prompted me to do a bit of research to answer my own question.

    First, a gas company website says: "Natural gas contains no toxic poisonous ingredients that can be absorbed into the blood when inhaled."

    Then I found this:

    Short answer: The gas used in stoves used to be coal gas, which contains carbon monoxide--not natural gas, which is a mix of methane and ethane.

    So, fair enough; I withdraw my question, with apologies to Laura. Learn something new every day .....

  6. Does this car qualify as a "dual fuel" or "hybrid" vehicle?

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