Mercedes Vision S500 Plug In Hybrid (2009)

Published: 11 September 2009

This is Mercedes’ latest Vision concept car, the S500 Plug-in Hybrid, and it will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show next week alongside an electric version of the company's new SLS supercar.

Based on the current-gen but pre-facelift S-class the S500 Plug-in Hybrid achieves over 88mpg but only emits 74g/km, and the company claims the car demonstrates 'the future of Mercedes' modular set of hybrid systems.' All next-gen S-classes are expected to get stop/start technology as standard, while full hybrid and plug-in hybrids will also be offered.

What’s so special about this Mercedes Vision S500 Plug-in Hybrid?

Merc is claiming that its S500 Plug-in Hybrid is the world’s first 'three-litre' limo, offering 88.3mpg (or 3.2l/100km), figures that shame the Lexus LS600h (30.4mpg), BMW’s 7 ActiveHybrid (29.1) and even the company’s own S400 Hybrid (35.8). The S500 also produces just 74g/km and can run for nearly 19 miles on electric power alone.

How has Merc achieved these startling figures?

Through the use of its clever eco-friendly BlueEfficiency technology including a stop/start system, next-gen direct-injection engine technology, and a hybrid unit with a lithium-ion battery.

The engine is a 3.5-litre petrol V6 using Mercedes’ next-generation of direct-injection technology. Mated to it is a 44kW hybrid module that’s nearly three times more powerful than the current 15kW unit found in the S400 Hybrid.

There’s also a lithium-ion battery with over 10 kWh of storage – and the ability to be refilled at charging stations in 60 minutes – but it’s ten-fold increase in capacity over the S400 Hybrid means it sits above the rear axle rather than in the engine compartment. The total weight of the electric components in the concept is 215kg.

An additional clutch between the engine and electric motor to decouple the two during pure electric running for maximum efficiency, and reduces energy losses during regenerative braking.  

>> Click 'Add your comment' below and let us know what you think of the new Mercedes Vision S500 Plug-in Hybrid

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy