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.
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.
Photo credit: Motoring.com.au