Today Mercedes-Benz released in advance of the Frankfurt auto show next month details of its fast and sleek, yet efficient S 500 Plug-in Hybrid which is to be produced next year.
Not quite a head-to-head competitor to Tesla’s all-electric Model S or Cadillac’s pending 2014 ELR, the third hybrid version of Mercedes’ vaunted S-Class promises a different flavor of world-class experience throughout, along with a touted 78 mpg.
This efficiency of 3 liters / 100 km (69 g CO2 per kilometer) is from the NEDC cycle (combined) and was tested when the car was in full hybrid mode.
The “Intelligent HYBRID” system promises up to 18 miles (30 km) of zero-emissions, zero-gas driving.
“It delivers these top values without restrictions in power, passenger comfort or operating range and offers a high level of climate comfort thanks to the pre-entry climate control functions,” says the company in a statement.
Beyond that, the S 500 plug-in promises to be one fantastic automobile and for average daily driving needs – and similar to other plug-in cars – it will give its best efficiency in shorter range driving.
Studies show the average mileage requirement for as many as 80 percent of U.S. drivers is under 40 miles daily so the new S-Class will fill the bill for many a driver.
The S 500 Plug-in Hybrid is said to be capable of 0-62 mph in 5.5 seconds and with a top speed set at 155 mph.
Power is supplied by a 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged engine plus electric motor.
Output is rated at 329 horsepower (245 kw) from the combustion engine plus 107 horsepower (80 kw) from the electric motor. Torque stated as 347 pounds-feet (480 Nm) from the combustion engine plus 251 pounds-feet (340 Nm) from the electric motor.
The Intelligent HYBRID system is M-B’s name for anticipatory energy management system and this optimizes energy recuperation during deceleration as well as maintaining a charge in the battery.
“The largest potential for lowering the energy consumption of hybrid drive systems lies in maximizing energy recovery during coasting and braking. Upon depressing the brake pedal the deceleration is initially effected by the electric motor and not by the disc brakes,” says the company. “The new S-Class is the first to use a recuperative braking system (RBS) of the second generation. It ensures an unnoticeable overlapping of the conventional mechanical brakes and the electric braking performance of the electric motor in alternator mode.”
The battery has 10-times the energy capacity of the 32-cell, 120-volt, 0.9 amp-hour battery in the S 400 hybrid and the S 500 plug-in offers a total of four driving modes to alternately use of conserve the charge from the plug-in.
Mercedes-Benz notes the engine is used for charging the battery as little as possible and only at suitable and most efficient operating points.
By way of a pushbutton, these are:
• E-MODE: electric power only
• E-SAVE: fully charged battery is reserved to be able to drive on electric power alone later
• CHARGE: battery is charged while driving
The car’s accelerator pedal offers haptic feedback to enhance control. A point of resistance provides feedback about the activation of the combustion engine and helps in metering the power output.
The S 500 Plug-in Hybrid also features ability to automatically shut off the engine any time it is coasting. This “sail” function has been seen on other hybrids and is one more energy saving technique among a list for this second-generation hybrid system.
The S 500 Plug-in follows the lead of the S 400 Hybrid which was the first hybrid in the world to make use of a lithium-ion battery.
Pricing and launch dates were not announced, but if you want even a small clue, the S 400 regular hybrid is the least expensive S-Class, and starts at $91,850.
More info should be forthcoming after the Sept. 10 start date for the auto show in Frankfurt.