Hot on the heels of the 100.9mpg S-class S 500 plug-in, Mercedes-Benz is planning 10 further petrol-electric plug-in hybrid models for release before 2017.
‘On average, we will bring a new plug-in hybrid to market every four months’, Johannes Reifenrath, head of Mercedes-Benz cars product strategy and planning, told CAR magazine.
First will be the new C-class C350 Plug-in hybrid, due for release in 2015 and shown here for the first time. It will combine a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor running in conjunction with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Launching 10 new hybrids is a key part of Mercedes’ plan to cut average CO2 output across its fleet to 125g/km by 2016.
How economical will the plug-in C-class be?
Carbon dioxide emissions are yet to be rated but Mercedes says we should expect an even lower figure than the S-class Plug-in Hybrid’s 65g/km. Speaking at the launch of the S500 Plug-in in Sweden, Reifenrath said ‘65g/km is not the limit, far lower is possible.’
‘Different markets have different legislations and we are confident we will meet them, with sub-50g/km figures a potential possibility in certain markets.’
As with the S500 Plug-in, some of the C-class’s boot space will be sacrificed to accommodate a large battery pack.
Despite the presence of a C350 prototype at the S500 Plug-in launch last week, the company says the Mercedes C-class Plug-in will not be on show at the 2014 Paris motor show.
Mercedes’ hybrid car plans
Mercedes’ plug-in hybrid system is modular, allowing virtually any existing engine in the company’s range to be combined with different ‘Powerpack’ components: electric motors in a variety of outputs, associated power electronics and various battery types can be picked off the shelf.
The 10 plug-in hybrid models slated for release by 2017 will all be petrol-engined, said Reifenrath, although he intimated that diesel-electric plug-ins are also in the pipeline.
‘We want to reach all our best-selling models’, said Reifenrath. ‘There will be SUVs. The first diesel plug-in hybrid will probably be an SUV as diesels outsell petrol engines in that market.’ He also revealed plans to use Mercedes’ new nine-speed automatic gearbox in a hybrid powertrain.
What about an AMG hybrid model?
Could we see cars with a rip-snorting V8 in the nose but a battery pack and charging cable in the boot rolling out of Affalterbach any time soon? No reason why not, says Reifenrath.
‘An AMG plug-in hybrid vehicle makes a lot of sense. The plug-in hybrid system doesn’t care if it’s connected to the most powerful engine in the house. It can be done, no problem. The latest supercars are hybrids now, after all.’
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