Evolution From Radiator Cover To EV Sensor Hub

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Grilles are the easiest way to differentiate car brands. It serves as the face of the car, providing an identity amidst the ocean of automotive brands on the planet. But unlike human faces, vehicle grilles get younger over time, evolving and conforming to what the car needs and what is allowed beyond the limits of functionality.

That’s what happened to the Mercedes-Benz grille. It has come a long way since Wilhelm Maybach installed his invention, the honeycomb radiator, onto the Mercedes 35 PS in 1900. The radiator grille was designed to solve the cooling problems of internal combustion engines of the time, but ultimately started the era of the vehicle grille.

In 1931, the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz 170 changed everything. For the first time, the radiator is mounted behind the grille for protection, which is part of the hood of the vehicle. This gave birth to the iconic chrome grille, which not only serves as a radiator guard but also as an identifier, along with the three-pointed star emblem. Since then, Mercedes has continued to develop the chrome grille for decades.

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In the 1950s, Merc introduced a new standalone grille design with the “Gullwing” 300 SL and a smaller 190 SL roadster. It is known internally as the “face of the sports car.” The horizontal bar became a hallmark among the next Mercedes vehicles.

In 2007, Mercedes started offering customers a choice of grille depending on the trim level. They can be classic (Classic and Elegance) or sporty (Avantgarde), which is offered in the C-Class and E-Class.

With the era of electric vehicles peeking around the corner, the Mercedes-Benz grille remains but with a different function than the protective radiator covers of the past. Without the need for a radiator, the German marque turned to the Black Panel grille for its EQ range, which serves as the perfect surface for a hidden but indispensable sensor.

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