What the Hypercar Means for the Future of Mobility | Inspire
What the Hypercar Means for the Future of Mobility
Good to Know
Good to Know

What the Hypercar Means for the Future of Mobility

When the S 400 BlueHybrid – the first Mercedes-Benz foray into hybrid passenger cars – hit the streets nine years ago, no one could imagine the same technology would one day be repurposed to push the limits of performance.

There's been a disturbance in the force of performance motoring. Almost all the gadgetry we've come to accept as normal in our humble hatchbacks have trickled down from the world of motorsport. From rear-view mirrors and safety belts to four-wheel-drive and paddleshift gearboxes, every innovation was created and perfected somewhere on a racetrack. 

Except hybrid technology. The first hybrid cars were all about reduced emissions and optimised efficiency. The science was simple: storing the energy that normally goes to waste during coasting and braking for later use. At the time, harnessing such technology for the pursuit of speed wasn't part of the picture.  

Two steps back, one forward

But today some of the world's fastest and most exotic cars are petrol-electric hybrids – including Mercedes-AMG's upcoming hypercar, Project One. And as the technology becomes more common – and more affordable – it will continue to claw its way into mainstream motoring.

For non-performance road cars, hybridisation is more likely to follow the path of turbocharging in the quest for efficiency rather than eco-friendliness (in the same way that turbos once existed only to boost performance). The principle remains the same, though: doing more with less – less fuel, less emissions, less running costs.

And whereas other propulsion systems, such as hydrogen, are proving difficult to manage, plug-in electric vehicles require no expensive infrastructure to charge.

If, for example, you have solar panels powering your house, you could theoretically charge your plug-in car for free, or have your fully-charged car powering your house. Mercedes-Benz also offers an Energy Storage unit to South Africans – essentially a wall-mounted 2.5kWh (expandable to 20kWh) lithium-ion battery for storing excess harvested renewable energy.

There's little potential left for improving the internal combustion engine, but a world of expansive options awaits the makers of electric vehicles. In this regard, Mercedes-Benz is taking the lead in offering a range of cars that use electricity both for the purposes of lower emissions and exhilarating performance, plus offering holistic energy solutions beyond the realm of mere automobile ownership.

So will hyper-hybrids eventually become fully electric?

Not yet. In these applications, hybrid systems are implemented to aid traction or acceleration – the top-speed stuff is still all octane. The master engineers at Mercedes-AMG will soon have new and nerdy neighbours more obsessed with volts than kilowatts, but it will be a happy marriage instead of an uneasy coexistence.  

* Turn your dream of driving a Mercedes-Benz into reality with Agility Finance.

Words: Braam Peens

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