View Full Version : Sprinter Hybrids

11-26-2011, 08:44 PM

Somewhere around five years ago MB tested Sprinter Hybrids. I suspect that the cost and weight of battery banks was, and still is the reason this idea never progressed. However, I thought that I would ask to see if anyone had any insights on the results.

My primary interest in hybrids is the theory that a Sprinter with an installed roof solar system could at the very least increase the mpg of the vehicle. An extra couple hundred watts of DC power while driving down the road (he says confidently) ought to be worthy of a few extra mpg. Toss in enough battery power to accommodate stop and go traffic and perhaps be more efficient in the engine actually producing power in city traffic; it seems like an interesting theory. Of course, if the drag of the solar system took away the extra mpg...yea. "In theory," MB "could" build removable solar panels/tiles into the roof design to eliminate the extra drag.

While I am tossing out a theory for discussion, I would think a vehicle the size of a Sprinter could accommodate say four DC generating engine systems rather than one large engine as found in hybrids today. For flat highway travel or for city driving, perhaps one smaller engine system would produce enough DC power while running at peak performance. When demand passed a certain point, the second engine system would automatically start to add to the DC power being produced. Such a concept is used in efficient HVAC systems, therefore I would think this concept would work well in a Sprinter hybrid.

Just wondering out loud. Thanks.

11-27-2011, 02:15 AM
I'll just try a seat-of-the-pants calculation on using solar panels:

If a 16 kw-hr Volt gets a 40 mile range then a twice-as-heavy Sprinter might get around 1 mile per kw-hr.

If you put a kw of solar cells on the roof it might yield 5 kw-hrs or so on average per day.

So about a dollar's worth of diesel be could be saved per day. Maybe a ten year payback if the solar system could be added with little weight or wind resistance and the total cost was maybe three thousand $$$.

OTOH, regenerative braking systems these days likely have a payback of a year or two at the present stage of technology.

There are indeed many advantages to electric boost motors but its still cheaper to use a capacitor/battery storage system for mild hybrids.

11-27-2011, 03:55 AM
The "hybrid" Sprinters circa 2005 were hydrogen fuel cell powered, with a (75KW, if memory serves) electric motor mounted in-line on the drive shaft, just aft of the transmission. I think there were about a dozen made, and a few (4?) were test driven as UPS vans in New York.

Ahh... found at least one thread...

Read it and drool (or cry)...

And here's Mercedes 2004 puff-piece on "alternative drives"


12-02-2011, 03:53 PM
Here's a 2007 article on a plug-in hybrid Sprinter assigned to New York Times shuffle duty:
http://www.trucktrend.com/features/news/2007/163_news070412_new_york_times_hybrid_dodge_sprinte r/index.html

... i wonder if they're still using it?