What the EFF Is BlueEFFICIENCY and BlueTEC?

Getting a diesel to pass United States emissions standards was once a dream that is now being realized. Providing a diesel that doesn’t sacrifice luxury and performance, however, is what Mercedes-Benz is all about. Their BlueEFFICIENCY was immediately accessible for responsible driving when their model line-up went under the knife, resulting in less weight and better aerodynamics and thus better fuel mileage (plus even more fun). But when it comes to an overall “green” car, it isn’t just about less fuel consumption and less pain in the pocket book. The cars that will stand the test of time are those that go further with less harmful emissions, and possibly even run on a different fuel than gas entirely.

Sheryl Crow loves her R320 BlueTEC, which boasts 20 to 30 percent higher fuel economy and 500 miles on a tank of gas. So what’s this diesel all about?

All the way back in 2006, the MB E320 BlueTEC put a twinkle in the US’s diesel-hungry eyes, offering a real technology to make emissions legal in the states. Its success came about because it does not result in change to the diesel engine necessarily, but rather, in how the emissions are treated and released. Basically, special catalytic converters and a filter turn bad Nitrous Oxides into harmless stuff, by way of ammonia in the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) system.

Here in the US, the fumes go through an oxidizing catalytic converter, through a particulate filter, and then AdBlue is sprayed into exhaust gases to release ammonia, which goes through the last converter exits from the exhaust pipe like a spring breeze. AdBlue is a liquid added to a tank in the rear near the spare tire, and is made up of 32.5% urea. Which is what you find in pee, but don’t get uptight about it, it’s not really the same thing. It’s “high-purity” and completely non-toxic. Oh, and Mercedes reports that the Diesel Tax Credit for owners of a 2009 Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC are $1,800 for the GL320; $1,550 for the R320; and $900 for the ML320. But money isn’t everything right?

For more science on the stuff, visit Mercedes-Benz Tech Center or the Mercedes Benz BlueTEC site.

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