BlueTEC technology developed by Mercedes-Benz for diesel vehicles is the most outstanding environmental innovation in the automotive sector and offers a sustained reduction in the burden on the environment. In recognition of this achievement, Bild am Sonntag [Germany's top-selling Sunday newspaper] has awarded the Stuttgart-based premium manufacturer the "Green Steering Wheel".

BlueTEC is the cleanest diesel technology in the world because it brings about a drastic reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxides – the only exhaust component whose levels are inherently higher in diesel exhaust emissions than in those from petrol engines. As a result, the readers of Bild am Sonntag and a jury of experts agreed that BlueTEC technology offers the greatest ecological potential of all the eco-friendly innovations currently to be found in the automotive sector.

Tried and trusted in practice, the Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC concept consists of a number of coordinated technical measures. In-engine measures minimise the untreated emissions while an oxidising catalytic converter and a particulate filter ensure effective exhaust-gas aftertreatment. Finally, the nitrogen oxides are reduced most effectively by a NOx storage catalytic converter and a special SCR(Selective Catalytic Reduction) converter.

The package as a whole results in exemplary levels for all exhaust gas constituents. BlueTEC technology significantly undercuts the NOx limits of the EU5 standard, and even has the potential to meet the future EU6 standard. But as well as being the cleanest diesel technology in the world, BlueTEC offers low real-world consumption which also helps the customer make savings on fuel, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

In Europe, Mercedes-Benz is currently offering the world's cleanest and most economical business-class EU5 diesel in the form of the E 300 BlueTEC. Other models are set to follow. The corresponding vehicle for the USmarket, the E 320 BlueTEC, holds the "2007 World Green Car" title. Moreover, the R, ML and GL-Class SUVs are already available with the award-winning BlueTEC technology in the US.

This was the second year in which Bild am Sonntag awarded the "Green Steering Wheel". The popular Sunday newspaper invited its readers to vote – by Internet, SMS or mail – for the best eco-friendly automotive innovation. Bild am Sonntag then asked a team of environmental experts to assess the eco-ideas which received the largest numbers of readers' votes. The jury included such prominent figures as Germany's Environment Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, the Chair of Germany's Green parliamentary group, Renate Künast, the President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, Matthias Wissmann, as well as senior representatives of German environmental protection associations and automobile clubs.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, accepted the award at the presentation ceremony in Berlin. Newly crowned Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton had driven the "Green Steering Wheel" onto the stage in an electrically powered smart fortwo; this electric vehicle had taken third place in the contest for the "Green Steering Wheel" and thus underlined the top position held by Mercedes-Benz Cars in the development of environment-friendly technologies to provide individual mobility in the future.

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