Mercedes' F800 Style concept previews several technological revolutions, including a modular platform design that can house numerous different drivetrains.
Autocar caught up with Mercedes’ product innovations and process technologies guru, Bharat Balasubramanian, at the F800’s launch to discuss just how much of the F800’s technology could make it into future Mercedes cars, as well as how the internal combustion engine still has a big future.
What technology from the F800 Style concept will make it into production?
We expect to see all of it in production. Most of it will take on average six years, but some features could take two and others 10.
What drivetrains is Mercedes developing for the future?
All technologies, be it fuel cells, combustion engines and hybrids, will all be relevant for at least the next 20 years. We will continue to develop all three together.
So the internal combustion engine isn’t going away?
No. We’re continuing to develop this technology. It will still be relevant for years to come and there are lots of improvements still to make.
What car will be the first to get the modular platform?
A modular platform will first feature in the next C-class in 2015. All future models will have modular platforms which can take all powertrains.
Will Mercedes sports cars have similar platforms?
Yes. Sports cars will continue to be offered with high-performance engines, but we’ll see electric sports cars too, starting with the SLS. Hybrid systems are more suited to limousines such as the S-class, however.
Where are the infrastructures to support hybrids and fuel-cell cars?
The infrastructure needs to be addressed. We’re already there with the technology. We’re working with governments and energy companies to allow us to implement this technology. We all have to work together.