Mercedes-Benz Plans Plug-In Hybrid Future – BEVs Claimed To Have Limited Appeal

JUL 23 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 15

2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

Though the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is now available in the US, don’t expect to see M-B offer more pure electric vehicles in the near future.

Instead, Mercedes-Benz will focus most all of its plug-in vehicle attention on plug-in hybrids.

Speaking at the launch of the Mercedes C-Class, Mercedes-Benz’ head of development, Thomas Weber, remarked that were still “a lot of questions” surrounding consumer demand for pure electric vehicles:

“So far around the world there has been huge discussion, small demand.  It’s not only linked to whether there are cars available to buy; the second question is whether there is an infrastructure available where you can charge your vehicle.”

Autocar confirms our belief that M-B will focus mainly on PHEVs:

“Although Mercedes is producing a small number of electric models, such as the B-class Electric Drive and Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, it will focus on plug-in hybrid technology for the larger cars in its line-up, with the Mercedes Rear-wheel Architecture (MRA) designed to accommodate PHEV technology.”

Weber stated:

“We believe that for C-class upwards, the only way to go as we near 2020 and beyond is plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. We will have a plug-in S-class in September, and later in the life cycle of the C-class we will have one too. MRA will make it possible for us to go for plug-in hybrids across the range.”

So, plug-in hybrid it is then for Mercedes-Benz.

As for development costs of plug-in vehicles, Weber claims:

“Drivetrains for EVs, including plug-in hybrids, are more expensive than conventional drivetrains, based on limited volume.”

“It will be important what the governments in countries are doing to support this early phase. It comes down to subsidies [although] maybe without money you can have benefits such as parking for free, special lanes during traffic jams and so on.”

Even with several suspected hurdles in its way, M-B remains committed to plug-in vehicles, but maybe not of the pure electric variety.  Quoting Weber:

“I’m still optimistic that in the coming years this kind of technologies will see at least a stronger growth rate than we see today. We still believe electric vehicles based on fuel cells will be part of the story and for the large vehicles we will see a growing share of plug-in hybrids.”

Source: Autocar

Categories: Mercedes

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15 Comments on "Mercedes-Benz Plans Plug-In Hybrid Future – BEVs Claimed To Have Limited Appeal"

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pjwood

The B-Class ED roll-out looks to be done as if to support Weber’s “huge discussion, small demand” thesis. Funny how supply/supplier has something to do with this. BTDT.

DaveMart

They are planning on having better batteries for PHEVs within two years:

‘ the S500 Hybrid manages only 33km.

Oddly, the car will need to increase its electric range to 50km within two years so that it can meet China’s minimum range rules for plug-in hybrids.

Dr Uwe Keller, Mercedes-Benz’s technical project manager for powertrain hybrids explained that the Magna Steyr-built battery pack had room for developments, which were coming thick and fast.

“We don’t just want an electric car, but the best real hybrid. Its role is to deliver a car that is everything, not just an electric car.

“We will have to fit a larger battery for the Chinese market in two years, approximately, because of their laws so we will look at larger capacity in the same power packet and space,” he explained.’

http://www.motoring.com.au/news/prestige-and-luxury/mercedes-benz/s500/benz-s500-hybrid-plug-in-to-be-wireless-44657

CSS

Head slap!
Well, they are letting us know where they stand. Or at least that they are not going all in towards the electrification of transportation like Tesla and BMW.
Typical ICE vehicle manufacturer smoke screens and red herrings (misinformation).
My favorite in this announcement is the question posed “… is an infrastructure available where you can charge your vehicle.” Actually YES. Only a day of electrical install away on every single single family home, shopping mall, commercial building etc. in the nation.
Then there is the classic “We still believe electric vehicles based on fuel cells will be part of the story…”
Most telling action on MB’s part is the fact that quick charge is not offered on their new electric sedan. The ONLY reason for this can be to limit the sales of the vehicle and thus not have it take an appreciable chunk out of their ICE vehicle sales. ICE vehicles with their multiple operation systems having regular mantenance and planned obsolescence engineered in. That goes for the lifespan of the vehicle itself for that matter.
Sad, but the bright side is that MB has been forced to and is now offering two BEV’s- thank you Tesla and environmental legislation!

Sam

Another one bites the dust. Looks like Mercedes-Benz isn’t serious about electric vehicles either. Nissan is still the only major manufacturer supporting electric vehicles. B class just another reluctant compliance vehicle.

Micke Larsson

Don’t forget BMW and Volkswagen.

Assaf

Another classic case of hedging and speaking out of both parts of the mouth.

Meanwhile Mercedes-Benz’ sister company, Smart, is betting full-on on BEVs.

Whom to believe then? Neither. It’s all market spin. They’re playing the field.

DaveMart

Er, perhaps you have not noticed that Smart cars tend to be a bit smaller than the average Merc?

What batteries can do in a small car is a different proposition entirely in a large one, although of course Tesla manage it, but not for the high speed cruising range a Merc has.

That is why they are going for PHEV, to enable high speed cruising and long range.

Cavaron

Yes MB, Plug-In Hybrids are the way to go in Europe. Opel had so much success with the Ampera… wait a sec…

DaveMart

And look at how badly the Mitsubishi Outlander has flopped!

It needs to be the right PHEV at the right price, just as every other car is about more than its drive train.

MTN Ranger

Also the Volvo V60 PHEV is selling really well despite it being very expensive.

http://www.volvocars.com/intl/campaigns/hybrid/pages/v60-plugin-hybrid.aspx

Micke Larsson

The Voltec drive train in the right car for the right price would have sold extremely well.

Just_chris

MB have all of the technologies tested and ready for scale-up including Fuel cells, BEV’s, Diesel, small petrol engines and straight hybrids. They will talk and lobby just like the rest of the automakers but if their customers change their buying habits (either through free thought, fuel cost spikes or tax breaks) then you will see them move, same goes with BMW or VW. IMO the i3, e-up! and electric B-class happened because people started buying the Nissan Leaf instead of the BMW 1 series and the VW golf. Tesla resulted in the i8 and Porsche’s.

IMO I think that statements made here should have read:

“EU tax laws for company cars, the introduction of emission free zones in cities across the EU and blind fear of the Mitsubishi Outlander have resulted in MB investing heavily in PHEV. There is strong demand for BEV’s in the luxury end of the market but we are struggling to get the supply chain setup for larger battery packs and our experience with Tesla tells us that this will not change soon.”

Anon

So, MB admits it either can’t or wont make a compelling BEV…

Lame.

Lad

When a low-cost, light-weight, high-energy density battery that can be sized to suit a driver’s needs, is available, BEVs will sell well. That’s what Argonne’s JCESR project and Tesla’s Giga Factory are about. Until then, car companies will hold back to maximize profits and you will see them dipping their toes in the water with other innovations. For example: BMW’s move into carbon fiber with an ICE extender and Toyota’s and Honda’s introduction of a BEV with a fuel cell extender called a FCV.

Chris O

So there is not much demand for 80 mile EVs supported by haphazardly rolled out infrastructure offered by multiple parties?

Shocker….

Here is a thought: a 200mile/$35k BEV supported by high output chargers systematically rolled out by the automaker rather than rely on third parties. Why didn’t anybody think of that….