Technology Milestones: From ABC to ZAS

Technologies with which Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz made history:

Debut Technology

  • Mercedes 35 PS: First modern-design car, with aluminium engine, camshaft-driven inlet valves, honeycomb radiator, coil clutch, stamped steel frame, low centre of gravity, impact-free steering and water-cooled brakes
  • New high-performance engines with camshaft-driven overhead inlet valves in the Mercedes-Simplex 18/22 PS and Mercedes-Simplex 60 PS
  • DMG presents two major innovations in commercial vehicle design with a radiator positioned at the front end of the frame and cast steel wheels.
  • Six-cylinder racing engine with machined steel cylinders and overhead camshaft with vertical shaft drive: provides inspiration for aeroengines and high-performance car engines
  • DMG supplies the first petrol-engined fire-fighting vehicle in Germany
  • The Berlin fire service takes delivery of the first electrically powered fire-fighting convoy, consisting of four “Mercedes-Electrique” vehicles
  • Mercedes 37/90 PS with three valves per cylinder and twin-spark ignition
  • Mercedes 28/95 PS: production car with six-cylinder engine with machined steel cylinders and overhead camshaft with vertical shaft drive
  • Mercedes 6/25/40 PS and 10/40/65 PS: first supercharged production cars
  • DMG presents the first diesel trucks with compressed air injection at the Berlin Motor Show. Benz & Cie, since May partners of DMG in an association of mutual interest, presents the first standard-production diesel truck in the world to feature the Benz-developed pre-chamber injection system
  • Benz & Cie present low-frame buses
  • Mercedes-Benz L5: the first standard-production six-cylinder diesel truck and the first volume-production diesel truck in the world
  • Change-over to all-steel bus bodies at Mercedes-Benz
  • Presentation of Lo 2000 2-tonne light truck, the first diesel-engined light truck in the world
  • First experimental vehicle with strong side protection, rigid floor and three-part steering column
  • Patented safety conical-pin locks prevent doors from jumping open in an accident
  • The first Unimog, the Daimler-Benz-developed Universal-Motorgerät, is produced
  • Patented safety body with rigid passenger cell and defined crumple zones front and rear
  • Single-joint swing axle in the Mercedes-Benz 220
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is the first standard-production vehicle with fuel-injected four-stroke engine
  • L/LP 326: first Mercedes-Benz diesel truck developing 200 hp
  • Conical-pin door lock with two safety catches
  • LP 333: cab-over-engine three-axle truck with two steered front axles
  • First impact and roll-over tests
  • Mercedes “tail-fin” models feature the first safety body in the world, with integrated crumple zones
  • All Mercedes-Benz models now equipped as standard with anchorage points for front seat belts
  • Dual-circuit hydraulic brake system with disc brake on front and rear wheels in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE
  • First shoulder belts
  • Mercedes-Benz 230 SL: first sports car with safety body
  • Development of a systematic safety research strategy. The terms “active safety” and “passive safety” are coined
  • Safety steering system comprising telescopic steering column and steering wheel with impact absorber now standard on all models
  • Presentation of the O 305 prototype standard urban line-service bus
  • Presentation of Mercedes-Benz safety head restraint
  • First static three-point seatbelt
  • First testing of airbag systems
  • Official founding of Mercedes-Benz accident research department and start of accident analysis
  • Premiere of experimental electric bus OE 302.
  • New LP 1632 commercial vehicle with first hydraulically tilting cab.
  • ESV programme starts (ESV = Experimental Safety Vehicle). ESV vehicles feature three-point inertia-reel seatbelts, belt force limiters, belt tensioners and the first driver and passenger airbags
  • Mercedes-Benz 350 SL featuring belt buckle fixed to the seat frame, four-spoke safety steering wheel and dirt-inhibiting side windows and rear lights
  • OG 305 experimental natural gas bus presented.
  • First electric van LE 306 with replaceable battery presented.
  • OE 302 experimental electric bus goes into scheduled service in Esslingen near Stuttgart.
  • Three-point seatbelts and head restraints standard for the front seats
  • First children’s restraint systems
  • First Mercedes-Benz offset crash test
  • Mercedes-Benz 240 D 3.0: First production car with five-cylinder engine
  • Mercedes-Benz presents the first prototype with hydrogen drive and hydride store, based on an L 306 minibus
  • Line-service trials of an OE 302 DUO bus for combined battery/overhead line operation
  • New safety steering system with corrugated tube in W 123 series.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SD: first standard-production turbocharged diesel passenger car
  • Presentation of the O 305 standard-line service articulated pusher bus
  • Market launch of anti-lock braking system (ABS): World debut in Mercedes-Benz S-class (116 series)
  • Offset crash with 40 per cent frontal overlap incorporated into the tough internal crash-test programme
  • Presentation of the O-Bahn track-guided bus system, an alternative solution for local passenger transport
  • New S-class (W 126) with forked member front-end structure is the first car in the world specially designed to withstand an offset collision
  • All Mercedes-Benz models fitted as standard with three-point seatbelts on the outer seats
  • Front belt-height adjustment premiered in the S-class
  • First driver airbag and belt tensioner in the S-class
  • MB presents the anti-lock braking system for commercial vehicles.
  • Presentation of the O 305 experimental bus with methanol drive
  • Multi-link independent rear suspension makes its world debut in the Mercedes-Benz compact class (W 201)
  • All Mercedes-Benz models now fitted with front belt tensioners
  • Debut for ASD (automatic locking differential), ASR (acceleration skid control) and 4MATIC (engageable four-wheel drive)
  • Electronic powershift (EPS) fitted as standard on trucks
  • Closed-loop three-way catalytic converters fitted as standard on all petrol-engined Mercedes-Benz passenger cars
  • ASR introduced for Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses
  • First passenger airbag supplied as an option for the S-class
  • Introduction of decompression valve engine brake in Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses
  • First seats with integrated seatbelts, first automatically extending roll-over bar and first draught stop in Mercedes-Benz SL Roadster
  • Introduction of Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) engines for commercial vehicles
  • Automatic height adjustment for rear seatbelts in 124 series
  • All-round disc brakes for heavy-duty commercial vehicles introduced on Mercedes-Benz O 404 coach
  • All Mercedes-Benz models equipped as standard with driver airbag and ABS
  • Passenger airbag standard on S-class
  • The one millionth Mercedes-Benz fitted with airbag
  • First offset crash test with deformable barrier
  • Presentation of Euro 2 engines for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles
  • First integrated child seat optionally available for C-class
  • First four-valve diesel engines for C-class and E-class
  • Catalytic converter fitted as standard on all Mercedes-Benz diesel cars
  • First rear-end crash test with deformable barrier
  • NECAR (New Electric Car): first-generation fuel-cell prototype from Mercedes-Benz
  • “Electronic Stability Program” (ESP) introduced as standard in S 600 coupé
  • First belt tensioner with integrated belt force limiter in the world
  • Disc brakes all round for Sprinter vans
  • Joystick gearshift in Vito vans
  • F 200 coupé study featuring “drive-by-wire” and “Keyless-Go” technology
  • First vehicles equipped with Brake Assist (BAS), a world first
  • PLD (pump/line/nozzle) high-pressure injection for commercial vehicle engines.
  • CAN databuses and control systems for heavy-duty trucks
  • First hybrid bus with electric wheel hub motors, traction battery and diesel engine
  • Telligent level control introduced
  • New V6 and V8 engines with three valves per cylinder and twin-spark ignition
  • Sidebags for driver and front fitted as standard throught the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range
  • A-class with sandwich floor and engine which slides down and underneath the passenger compartment in a frontal collision
  • New common-rail direct-injection (CDI) passenger car diesel engines
  • NECAR 3 (based on the A-class): first fuel-cell prototype in the world with on-board hydrogen reformation
  • Introduction of modular design principle in bus manufacture to produce vehicles of different length
  • Introduction of networked freely programmable CAN databus systems in bus manufacture
  • NEBUS: first fully operational fuel cell bus
  • First window bags supplied as optional equipment for the E-class
  • New S-class featuring 30 technical innovations. e.g. passenger airbag with two-stage deployment, rear belt tensioners and belt force limiters, automatic child seat recognition (ACSR), air suspension with adaptive damping system (AIRmatic), COMAND operating/display system
  • Mercedes-Benz CL coupé: first production vehicle in the world with Active Body Control (ABC)
  • CDI engines fitted in the van segment
  • All Mercedes-Benz models standard-equipped with ESP
  • Distronic autonomous intelligent cruise control goes into production
  • ZAS – automatic cylinder cut-out introduced in S 600 and CL 600
  • CDI engines fitted in the van segment
  • Joystick gearshift for coaches
  • “Cito” midibus with standard diesel-electric drive
  • World’s most powerful passenger car diesel engine fitted in the S 400 CDI
  • CL 55 AMG F1 Limited Edition is first roadgoing vehicle to be equipped with ceramic brakes (C-BRAKE)
  • Introduction of Telligent proximity control, Telligent stability control, Lane Assistant
  • Sprintshift automated manual transmission for Sprinter vans
  • New-generation Unimog with cab made of fibre composites, VarioPower high-performance hydraulics and VarioPilot transferable steering
  • FleetBoard telematics-assisted Internet service introduced
  • Window bags for vans

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