In the pursuit of luxury and efficiency, Mercedes has developed two new models for 2012; the E300 Blue TEC Diesel Hybrid, and the E400 Hybrid. Unfortunately, the E300 Blue TEC diesel is for the European market only at this time.
With the introduction of the Mercedes E300 & E400 hybrids, Mercedes has presented one more twist to the game for first responders. The high voltage battery pack is not where we have been accustomed to looking for it, such as the rear cargo area or under the rear seat. Mercedes has put the .8Kw Li-Ion battery pack in the engine compartment, operating at 120Vdc.
As you can see from the pictures, the battery is behind the front strut tower (normally covered). The familiar orange cables are also quite close to the right quarter panel. This may cause some concern for those who look to put a relief cut here for a dash lift maneuver, or to gain access to the engine compartment for extinguishment operations.
In addition to the HV battery may be two 12v auxiliary batteries. One in the trunk to support cold starthttp://nfpa.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8351b9f3453ef0168e8e17ca3970c-pi demands, SRS , appliances, and another small battery to maintain consistent lighting voltage, and support infotainment appliances.
So, the obvious take-away here is to “Peek before You Pry”, or cut. As with any new building, or vehicle innovation, we are constantly challenged to stay on top of the technology that makes our lives more difficult in the work place.
Matt Paiss, NFPA EV Safety Instructor