MONTVALE, N.J. – Mercedes-Benz will be attending the Detroit Auto Show in January — and it’s bringing three concepts. The Mercedes-Benz BlueZero concepts, making their world debut at the Detroit show, give a sneak peak at an upcoming production vehicle, according to

All three concepts are built on the sandwich architecture of the present A- and B-class subcompacts, and the BlueZero is reportedly a preview of the revised B-class due in 2010.

What varies between the cars, however, is their powertrain, according to As its name suggests, the BlueZero E-Cell is designed as an electric vehicle. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack lies underneath the sandwich floor and feeds a 100-kW electric motor coupled to the front wheels. Mercedes claims the E-Cell has a 62-mile range and fully recharges in two hours.

Should the recharge time of the E-Cell be too long or the range too short, Mercedes is offering the E-Cell Plus concept. Most its drivetrain is shared with the E-Cell, but engineers also threw in a turbocharged 1.0L I-3 from a Smart ForTwo. Not unlike the Chevrolet Volt, the E-Cell Plus works as an extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV), which switches to the combustion engine once battery power is depleted, giving the car a 372-mile range.