Brian Joss –
Mercedes-Benz is bringing out 10 plug-in hybrid models: one new model with high-tech hybrid drive every four months on average, until 2017. This follows the successful launch of the S 500 plug-in hybrid. March will see the C 350 e, the second model to feature the progressive drive concept. And what might happen next with the strategic hybrid initiative has just been demonstrated by the Concept V-ision e study at the Geneva Motor Show.
Under the new Mercedes-Benz nomenclature, an “e” replaces the words plug-in hybrid.
“Plug-in hybrids are a key technology on the road to the emission-free future of the automobile,” said Professor 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 the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the range of a combustion engine. In addition, hybridisation makes the combustion engine more efficient and with it a special type of dynamic performance.”
As the plug-in hybrid comes into its own especially in larger vehicles and with mixed distance profiles, Mercedes-Benz is opting for this drive concept from the C-Class upwards, which means that this key technology will make its entry soon into the SUV segment with the new Mercedes-Benz GLE.
With plug-in hybrids, Mercedes-Benz Cars is stepping up its drive to reduce CO2 emissions: at 129 g/km, the European fleet value for 2014 was once again 5 g lower than the year before. This is equivalent to an average consumption of 5.1 litres/100 km. This means that the company has lowered the CO2 emissions of its fleet in Europe by over 40 per cent within two vehicle generations.
With the Concept V-ision e, Mercedes-Benz has just given a preview at the Geneva Motor Show of the versatile development potential of the V-Class, a further model series that enjoys powerful propulsion thanks to modular plug-in hybrid technology. The highly efficient twin power source of petrol engine and electric motor delivers a system output of 245 kW with a system torque of up to 600 N.m. This guarantees sporty performance – with a standard consumption of less than 3litres/100 km. An all-electric range of up to 50 kilometres turns day-to-day short-distance driving into an emission-free experience. Numerous additional new comfort features, such as executive seats with calf support, massage function and footrest in the rear or a large centre console with heated cup holders and five-litre refrigerator box, provide further scope for individualisation of the V-Class. The first model to sport the new “e”, the new Mercedes-Benz C 350 e is a plug-in hybrid that combines extraordinary levels of efficiency, dynamism and comfort, according to Mercedes Benz.
In either the saloon or estate variant, the performance of a sports car makes it a convincing proposition, especially in combination with a certified consumption of just 2.1 litres/100 km and an all-electric range of up to 31 kilometres. Its four-cylinder petrol engine, in conjunction with a powerful electric motor, gives it a total system output of 205 kW with torque of 600 N.m. The saloon and the estate model are equipped with air suspension and a pre-entry climate control system as standard. The S 500 plug-in hybrid blends an ultramodern hybrid drive configuration with the appointments of the S-Class. With a system output of 325 kW and 650 Nm of torque, the Mercedes-Benz S 500 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds while boasting an all-electric range of up to 33 km. The certified consumption is 2.8 litres/100 km, which is equivalent to emissions of 65 g CO2/km.
Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the hybrid models of the C and S-Class come with environmental certificates. These document the models’ environmental performance from development through to recycling, across the entire life cycle, and the performance is certified.
In 1982, at the same time as it was launching the Mercedes-Benz 190, the predecessor of the C-Class, Mercedes-Benz also presented the first concept vehicle with a hybrid drive in which the battery was charged by a two-cylinder horizontally opposed engine. A number of other experimental vehicles followed until in 2009 the world’s first standard-specification hybrid drive with lithium-ion battery made its debut at Mercedes-Benz: for a long time, this S 400 HYBRID was the most fuel-efficient petrol-engined luxury saloon and the most successful hybrid in its segment. The second-generation hybrid transmission evolved from the 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission. It premiered in 2012 in the E 300 BlueTec Hybrid, the first diesel hybrid in the premium segment worldwide. After the E 300 BlueTec hybrid, S 400 hybrid, S 300 BlueTec hybrid, C 300 BlueTec hybrid and S 500 hybid, the C 350 e is the latest hybrid model from Mercedes Benz. In the years to come, the main emphasis as regards alternative drives will be on plug-in hybrids.