Plug-in Hybrids Mercedes GLE plug-in hybrid

Published on January 20th, 2016 | by Steve Hanley


Mercedes Aims For 60 Mile Range From Its Plug-in Hybrid Cars

January 20th, 2016 by  

Mercedes plans to introduce 10 plug-in hybrid cars in the US market by the end of 2017. All of them will have a relatively modest electric only range of 20 miles or so. In a recent interview with Australia’s Motoring at the Detroit auto show last week, Mercedes R&D chief said that his company expects to exceed the 60 mile (100 km) barrier with its next generation plug-in cars. In the automotive business, a generation is typically about 5 year long.

Mercedes GLE plug-in hybrid

The second generation Chevy Volt already has close to 60 miles of range. If Weber’s remarks are correct, it will take Mercedes until 2022 or so to equal the performance of the 2017 Volt. “We are working to bring 10 plug-in hybrids to the market by the end of next year, but that will not be the end of it,” Weber said. “Then we work on the extension of the range based on battery development. We are working on plug-in hybrid systems based on the S-Class technology for extended range. The next generation vehicle (due in 2017) will overcome the 30km to 50km hurdle and then the next generation after that will be 80 to 100km when they run as pure electric cars.”

Mercedes is also hard at work on an all electric sedan that will slot in between the E Class and S Class in size. That car is said to be on track for introduction in 2018. It is also said to be developing a hydrogen powered fuel cell car. Weber says developing plug-in hybrids, electrics and fuel cell cars makes sense, as they are all fully or partially powered by electricity. “On the component side, there are synergies with batteries and motors in all the electric models, and that includes the plug-in models,” Weber said. “The components can be used with more than one vehicle.”

That is precisely the reasoning behind the new Hyundai Ioniq, which will offer buyers a choice of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric power. The difference is that all versions of the Ioniq are expected to go on sale by September of this year. The Mercedes offerings are 4 or more years away. It seems mighty Mercedes may have been caught napping by the electric car revolution inspired by Tesla.

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I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • evfan

    I suspect a typo, this should be 2016 not 2017 … “If Weber’s remarks are correct, it will take Mercedes until 2022 or so to equal the performance of the 2017 Volt.”

    • Steve Hanley

      Actually… There will be no 2016 Volt except in California and the other 10 states that follow CARB rules. The car will be sold as a 2017 model in all other states.

      It’s confusing. Needlessly so, in my opinion.

      • evfan

        Granted, but how does that make the following statement incorrect “”If Weber’s remarks are correct, it will take Mercedes until 2022 or so to equal the performance of the 2016 Volt.”

        I am trying to focus on the fact that Mercedes is 6 years behind GM, not 5.

        • Steve Hanley

          Weber’s statement has a lot of wiggle room in it. He said the next generation cars would break the 50 km barrier and the generation after that would break the 100 km barrier.

          I am ASSUMING he did not mean to say that it would take 2 generations — approximately 10 years — AFTER the 2017/2018 cars come out to break the 100 km barrier.

          The word “generation” can mean anywhere from 4 to 6 years in the car business. I chose to take 5 years as the middle of that range.

          Suffice to say that Mercedes plug-ins with 60 miles or more range won’t be on the market any time soon.

  • kvleeuwen

    This is a surprise for… nobody, really.
    This day and age, drivers of premium cars expect the smooth ride only electric drive can deliver.
    Mercedes was not paying attention. At least they have woken up.

  • Hopefully the all electric sedan will be an all new, dedicated platform. Trying to make a hybrid or conventional platform into an electric one has a whole host of unnecessary limitations and compromises that can lead to a vehicle that is laughably incompetent compared to Tesla’s pure EV mindset.

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