Over the next two years Mercedes-Benz will launch 10 new plug-in vehicles, releasing one every four months.
The plan is part of the company’s hybrid initiative, which includes a hybrid setup that can easily transfer to different vehicle classes. This gives Mercedes the ability to use the technology on its entire fleet, from the base-grade C-Class sedans to the larger SUVs.
Since 2012, Mercedes has introduced nine electrified models to the market. Only one was a plug-in hybrid; the others were powered by an electric drive, gasoline hybrid or diesel hybrid. But that ratio is about to change.
“In the years to come, the main emphasis as regards alternative drives will be on plug-in hybrids,” said Mercedes.
The one-vehicle-per-quarter is only an estimated timetable for the rollout, and all new PHEV models will be labeled with an “e” instead of “plug-in hybrid.”
In a recent statement, Mercedes officials talked about why plug-ins will be the company’s main hybrid focus.
“Plug-in hybrids are a key technology on the road to the local emission-free future of the automobile,” said Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
“Plug-in hybrids offer our customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine’s range.
“In addition, hybridization makes the combustion engine more efficient and brings with it a special type of dynamic performance – making driving an absolute pleasure.”
Mercedes said its next step will be to apply hybrid technology to its SUVs, with plans for an upcoming plug-in version of the GLE.
One of the future models may also be the Concept V-ision e (pictured above). The mid-size van, which Mercedes previewed in Geneva last week, uses a four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 90 kW electric motor. Total output is 333 horsepower, and top speed is 128 mph.
To power the electric motor, Concept V-ision e draws from a 13.5 kilowatt-hour battery. This gives the van an emission-free range of 31.1 miles at up to 50 mph says the manufacturer.
If Mercedes successfully launches all 10 PHEV models, and doesn’t retire any current hybrid models, the carmaker will have almost 20 electrified vehicles in its fleet. Current hybrid and electric vehicles (and their release date) include:
2012: smart fortwo electric drive
2012: E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID
2013: SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive
2013: S 400 HYBRID
2013: S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID
2014: C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID
2014: B-Class Electric Drive
2014: S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID
2015: C 350 e