Mercedes-Benz’ Plug-In Hybrid Offensive – 10 PHEVs By 2017

3 years ago by Mark Kane 28

Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID

Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID

Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID

Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID

Mercedes-Benz is preparing for electrification of basically all of its cars, planning at least 10 plug-in new hybrids models by 2017.

On average, it will be 1 plug-in launch every four months.

The first one – the Mercedes-Benz S 500 Plug-in hybrid – is already on sale in Europe and will come to the U.S. and China in March 2015.

The next PHEV will be a midsize C Class next year and then derivatives of other RWD and AWD cars including SUVs (well, there will be a lot of plug-in SUVs in few years).

Don’t count on any FWD plug-in anytime soon from M-B.  Sales chief Ola Kallenius stated:

“We would have to change [the production process for] the body of the car.”

Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only one among premium brands with such a bold PHEV plan.  For example, Audi is almost ready to launch the A3 Sportback e-trot in December in Europe, followed by several other PHEV models.

Emissions

According to Johannes Reifenrath, head of product strategy and planning at Mercedes-Benz Cars, the reason for the move towards plug-in variants is emissions.

In Europe, Mercedes must lower its CO2 emission to 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2020. This would be some 4.3 l/100 km (55 mpg) or 26% less than the automaker’s average in 2013.

“Obviously this will only happen if we continue to increase the proportion of electrified models, which is exactly what we are doing.”

Smart energy management will help too

Automotive News is indicating that fuel economy will improve due to some smart energy tricks.

“Part of the savings from the S-class plug-in comes from its predictive energy management system that uses GPS data and radar sensors to calculate a route-based adaptive strategy for when to best drive electrically, use the combustion engine only, or both in combination.”

“For example, it would deplete the battery as much as possible when going uphill in order to charge it on the way back down. The car would also try to ensure that the battery is fully charged when approaching a city so that it can drive emissions free in stop-and-go traffic with help from a next-generation braking system that recovers the kinetic energy.”

“The car also features a haptic accelerator pedal that signals the driver via a double pulse to the foot when it is more efficient to let up on the gas pedal.”

Batteries

Another improvement in the future will be higher capacity battery packs, which will enable at least 50 km (31 miles) in all-electric mode instead of today’s 33 km (20 miles) in the Mercedes-Benz S 500 Plug-in Hybrid.

Autonews

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28 responses to "Mercedes-Benz’ Plug-In Hybrid Offensive – 10 PHEVs By 2017"

  1. Robert says:

    Yes, nice! And, will it still only offer just Level 2, 3.3 kW chargers?

    1. Brian says:

      Is it really worth the added cost to put more powerful chargers in PHEVs? Most M-B customers aren’t likely to opportunity charge. They will charge at home, and happily let the car switch to gas when needed. Many will have leverage to push for charging at work as well.

      1. In a 50000+ € car, the costs for a 6/11 kW charger and CHAdeMO port really don’t matter.

        1. Brian says:

          I disagree. Cost always matters. These cars still have to compete within their segment. Sure, $2000 extra isn’t as big of a deal as it might be on a $30,000 car, but it still matters.

    2. Bill Howland says:

      They probably have yet to make a single-phase-only charger for their cars since their current cars are on a Mennekes standard and they only have to do a J1772 for the states.

      I’m under the impression that 3 phase power is the most common for residences in Germany, whereas in the states only ,0001% of the homes have it. So a US J1772 connector probably will not exist until they market them in the states like the 3.0 kw Smart charger.

      That charge rate is not a superbig deal for most people, at least not for VOLT owners who not only think 3.3 kw is big enough, but
      over 60% of them charge at either 0,9 kw or 1,3 kw since all they are using is the 110 volt ‘travel charger’ which comes with the car in the states and don’t care to purchase anything more expensive – the trickle arrangement is satisfactory for most volt owners.

      Now me, if they put a 3,0 or 3,3 kw charger in the US version of a Mercedes S class, I’d be much more worried about the All Electric Range. Since I have to sleep sometime, I’m less concerned about the charging rate. The largest charger docking station I have is 7 kw and its plenty for me. I don’t intend to have to buy anything larger. Charges my Tesla mostly, and occassionally the volt at 3,3 kw.

  2. Mike says:

    indeed – MB are doing this due to government targets, not from customer demand.

    1. Just_Chris says:

      If MB only has to increase their average MPG by 26% to get to 55 MPG do you not think current MB customers value efficiency?

      I also suspect that the quiet, smooth driving experience of an EV power train offers is something that they would value. Not to mention the added value of being able to use bus lanes and have greater access to parking in German city centers.

  3. Assaf says:

    [ to repeat myself ad nauseaum ]

    See, US Big Three? This is how building an EV lineup looks like when you really mean it.

    [ said before w.r.t. VW, BMW, etc. etc. etc. ]

    1. Teslaman says:

      What EV lineup? Mercedes has the B-Class and Smart.

      1. Brian says:

        Did you completely miss the headline? They are purportedly building 10 PHEV models within the next 3 years. THAT lineup.

  4. Bianco says:

    Mercedes costumers are not going to charge these cars at home untill they are delivered w a wireless charger.

    1. pete g says:

      Most of the Mercedes drivers I know purchase the cars for the longevity. It is very common for them to keep the cars for well over 10 years. Plugging in a car is less of a hassle than plugging in a phone.

    2. MDEV says:

      Mercedes costumers are buying Tesla

      1. Just_Chris says:

        I said I’d be really interested to see what the Germans did when Tesla, Nissan and Renault turned up in their home market and started taking market share. BMW, Porsche, VW and Merc have all responded. This is the kind of fight to the bottom that I really want to see, fight to the bottom of emissions.

    3. DaveMart says:

      Mercedes plan, with BMW, to lead on wireless charging, which is a natural premium car facility:
      http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/88647/mercedes-will-offer-wireless-charging-by-2016

      So wireless charging options by 2016.

      1. Mint says:

        Mercedes has good autodrive tech. They should be autodriving into a precise position for a simple actuator to make a wired connection.

        But I suppose PHEV doesn’t need high power charging overnight, so wireless could get cheap enough.

        1. DaveMart says:

          The pads usually connect to the car electronics to beep you into position, and so on.

          Getting in exactly the right spot for optimum charging is well in hand.

    1. Just_Chris says:

      AMG SLS electric drive? get the price right and the model S will have a real fight on its hands.

  5. Paul says:

    Anyway: soon they will be able to find chargers and pay for them in a very easy way, at least in Germany:
    https://www.bosch-si.com/newsroom/news/publications/publications-50240.html

  6. jmac says:

    Look……..

    Plugging your car in every day will become a drag.

    Right now, plugging your car into a household outlet is huge fun and even better you get to give the neighborhood gas station the bad finger every morning as you drive by.

    And brag to your neighbors about how you are paying less than a dollar equivalent for gas..

    But,knowing human nature, plugging in will become a big drag after a while. The plug in cord will become like an umbilical cord – something you want to detach yourself from.

    But, driving over a charging plate that automatically connects your battery to the charger without human intervention will not get old.

    Inductive charging is just as important to EV success as increased battery range.

    The Luxury auto makers like Mercedes, BMW, Rolls Royce already know this. They know that busy, wealthy, spoiled people do not want to soil their expensive manicured nails with plugs and cords.

    The once proposed electric Rolls Royce was designed to be inductively charged from the ground up.

    Inductive charging is coming like a freight train.

    It will save the electric vehicle movement simply because people will eventually get sick of plugging in.

    All these present day plug in cords are like the old hand cranked ICE engines back in the Ford Model T days.

    The convenience of Inductive Charging will replace the tangled cord hassle and the trunk full of bulky adapters to meet various battery charger standards

    1. Spec9 says:

      Meh. It just becomes instinct.

      That would be like saying ‘turning the key to start is a drag’ or ‘putting on a seat belt is a drag’.

      It takes just a few seconds and you don’t even think about it.

      1. DaveMart says:

        For PHEVs in particular I see inductive charging as a game changer.

        Studies have shown that Volt drivers charge away from home much more often than BEV drivers to make up for lower AER.

        I can see many shops etc putting in unobtrusive underground charge pads, when they wouldn’t put in charging posts and wires.

        So you pull into the shops, and don’t have to fiddle plugging in, especially convenient in inclement weather, and get a useful top up of power.

        Short stay top ups would be practical, when people would not bother plugging in.

        I can see them appearing everywhere, including of course taxi ranks.

  7. jmac says:

    Mercedes is five years behind the times. BMW is at least three years in the hole. And VW is also a late entrant.

    Bottom line is that the Germans are NOT leading the EV charge as their fans have asserted.

    The Germans, are in fact, laggards and late comers to the cause — not forerunners by any means.

    German engineering is over-rated and the Germans are as a whole probably 2-5 years behind cutting edge technology.

    You tell me.

    The BMW i3 looks like a car from the movie Transformers that never quite morphed into an actual recognizable vehicle.

    The i8 has a $150,000 dollar sound system that plays fake engine sounds.

    Okay, the i3 has carbon fiber panels. I’m glad to see BMW finally doing what Henry Ford did way back in 1941.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srgE6Tzi3Lg

    Bottom line is German engineering is overrated, German foresight is 5 years behind the times. In other words, virtually non existent.

    German design sensibility seems lost in an alternative universe, like the incomplete Transformer like i3.

    By all means, let’s get some more DeceptiCons to post more distorted nonsense about how Germany is leading the Electric Revolution.

    Any German success with EVs is due almost exclusively to the lingering effect of brand name recognition and a well deserved reputation for the quality of their luxury ICE vehicles.

    The Germans were NOT at the forefront of the EV Revolution. If they were so far advanced and so much ahead of everyone else, why didn’t they start selling cars way back in 2010 when the Chevy Volt and the Leaf began this whole thing.

    Nothing the Germans have recently put out leads me to any other conclusion than that they are simply playing catch up.

    Once it sunk in that their beloved diesels were never going to meet future emission standards, did the Germans reluctantly join the EV Revolution.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Well . . . they are off to a slow start. But I’ll analyze each effort on its own merits. So far, it is not so great.

      eGolf – Leaf clone delivered 5 years later
      i3 – Neat CFRP and interesting REx but weird shape. Nice interior.
      i8 – 0 miles all-electric range. Just an overpriced toy.
      Mercedes B-Class – Tesla built compliance car.
      Smart ED – Nice & Cheap . . . but bad aerodynamics and limited range. Good city commuter.
      GTE – Haven’t had the chance to evaluate yet.

      Yeah, so far the results have been underwhelming. But I’ll keep an open mind and I look forward to more cars from them.

      1. Brian says:

        Regarding the eGolf/Leaf comparison. The first Leaf was delivered in late 2010. Deliveries of the eGolf started in mid 2014, that’s 3.5 years later, not 5.

        And the eGolf is NOT a clone of the Leaf 1.0. If anything, it’s a clone of Leaf 1.5 which appeared in early 2013.

        So the eGolf is a little over 1 year later than the comparable Leaf (as opposed to the version Nissan rushed to market, only to be hit with some problems).

        The German companies have a reputation of taking a slow and measured approach (see also BMW’s program started with the e-mini in mid 2009). Once they do deliver, though, they seem to do very well in light of the competition.

  8. Spec9 says:

    Well, it looks like Daimler has made their decision in the EV versus Fuel Cell car war . . . NEITHER. They went the PHEV route. And that is a sensible decision. But I think there is also plenty of room for pure EVs. People with short commutes, people with solar PV, people that don’t want to deal with an ICE (smog checks, oil changes, exhaust, etc.) . . . lots of them want pure EVs. But PHEVs are great too.

    1. DaveMart says:

      They are building a fuel cell car in 2017.