Mercedes-Benz has gotten a lot of press recently about AdBlue, the additive that makes its new BlueTec clean diesel SUVs and wagons so clean. I called up Larkin Hill, a PR rep at Mercedes, and asked her to explain to me what this AdBlue and BlueTec stuff was all about.
“Twenty years ago, 80% of Mercedes sales were diesel,” said Hill. “But they had a reputation for being loud, slow, and sooty. The BlueTec diesels are quiet, fast, and clean. You can stand behind one in a white linen suit and not get dirty.” This, she said, is due to AdBlue, an exhaust treatment fluid used in all the BlueTec diesels to neutralize nitrous oxide emissions.
In order for the Mercedes BlueTec diesels to meet the U.S. Bin 5 emissions standard, the company had to guarantee that the customer would put AdBlue into the exhaust system. “You get many, many, many warnings,” said Hill. “The car gives you twenty chances. It counts down the number of starts you have left.” When you’re out of AdBlue and the countdown reaches zero, you can’t start the car without adding another quart.
The reservoir is easy to find and easy to fill, though, as it’s located in the spare tire well in the back. And you can go 10,000 miles of normal driving without worry. Most people will have their M-B dealer top off the AdBlue tank during regular maintenance. For those who do a lot of towing or want peace of mind, BlueTec owners can buy and carry extra quarts. It’s available at 1500 outlets, like Pep Boys.
Right now, there are three 2009 vehicles with BlueTec clean diesel: the ML320, the GL320, and the R320. Hill said the company plans to release an E320 sedan with BlueTec and AdBlue later this year. And yes, she said, AdBlue is indeed blue.