Brabus, the German aftermarket performance outfit notable for monster power Mercedes-Benz models, might not seem a likely place to find green vehicle technology; yet the company has teamed up with Protean Electric to produce a hybrid, based on the current Mercedes E-Class.
First seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, the car made its North American debut at the SAE 2012 World Congress in Detroit this week. The Brabus Hybrid sports a 2.2-liter four-cylinder common rail turbo diesel engine and dual Protean motors that drive the rear wheels.
Each of these electric motors (which weigh 68 pounds) provides some 80 kilowatts (110 horsepower) and a whopping 590 pound-feet of torque. According to Brabus, this enables 0-62 mph acceleration times of 7.4 seconds and the car can dash from 37 to 75 mph in 5.6 seconds.
Additionally, Protean says that by utilizing a plug-in hybrid version, fuel economy can be improved by up to 30 percent.
During a press conference at the World Congress, Protean Chairman Bob Purcell, also announced that the company has formed a number of strategic alliances, with auto industry aftermarket companies such as AB Mikroelecktronik, Alcon, FEV, Mahle and Trelleborg Sealing Solutions to help spur the introduction of its electric wheel motors for mass market consumption.
Due to a design that mounts the rotor outside of the stator, these motors are said to boast strong regenerative capability; some 85 percent of kinetic energy can reportedly be recovered under braking.
Furthermore, the electric motors are designed for use in both front and rear-wheel drive vehicle applications and can be adapted to existing internal combustion engine powered cars and trucks to turn them into hybrids. This makes them, in theory at least, a decidedly attractive and flexible solution.
And if there was ever an extreme example of showcasing the benefits of this technology, a Brabus Mercedes is likely it.