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Daimler Unveils a Fish-Inspired, Fuel-Efficient Diesel Concept Car

June 08, 2005|From Bloomberg News

DaimlerChrysler on Tuesday showed off a diesel-powered prototype car with a body based on a 4-inch-long fish and said the vehicle would help cut fuel use and pollutant emissions.

The car can go 70 miles on a gallon of fuel, 20% more than the current best diesel cars, and is designed to meet tougher U.S. emissions rules that take effect in 2007, company executives said in Washington. The car's shape, based on the boxfish, contributes to its fuel-efficiency.

DaimlerChrysler showed the car at an annual demonstration of its technology. Automakers are responding to government pressure to boost fuel-efficiency and reduce emissions. The company has made diesel technology a focus of its efforts. DaimlerChrysler also is developing hydrogen fuel-cell and gas-electric vehicles to match competitors such as Toyota Motor Corp.

The concept car's diesel technology "signifies we are at the point where the hurdle of 2007 emissions standards can be met with an engine that can be brought to production," said Allen Schaeffer, director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a trade group in Frederick, Md. "That's the real meat here."

The Mercedes-Benz model unveiled Tuesday had 25% less wind drag than conventional cars because of its shape, Daimler said. The company does not expect to bring the car into production, but parts developed for it will find their way into other vehicles, it said.

Engineers used the boxfish's hexagonal, honeycomb-shaped bone structure to create a stronger body, the automaker said. Parts such as the door panels were designed to be 40% more rigid and crash-resistant.

The car reduces nitrogen-oxide and particulate emissions, such as soot, by as much as 80%, the company said. The exhaust system uses a spray called AdBlue to convert nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water and has a maintenance-free filter for particulate emissions.

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