Mercedes just announced that it’s bringing 10 new plug-in hybrid models to market by 2017. The aggressive move means that a new plug-in will be released every four months on average. The one kicking off the effort is the S 500 Plug-In Hybrid. After that, the C 350 e will launch in March.
Everyone at the Geneva Motor Show has been teased with what might be coming down the pipeline. The Mercedes Concept V-ision e signals the future direction for the brand and its plug-in hybrids, which will all be designated with an “e” in their name.
Many in the automotive industry have pointed out that plug-in hybrid powertrains is a bridge technology. It helps car owners experience what driving using just electricity is like, plus realize that plugging in a vehicle really isn’t a difficult task. Mercedes has played around with fully-electric concept vehicles in the past, including the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive, signaling the inevitable direction things are headed.
Now that plug-in hybrid powertrains have been introduced to the S- and C-Class, seeing it in the E-Class is only a matter of time, especially considering there’s already a diesel hybrid version. Mercedes says that the CLE won’t be part of the 10-model push, but the GLE and other SUV models will be. That’s made possible by the company’s intelligent modular hybrid technology, which allows it to be easily scaled up or down to vehicles of different sizes.
Thankfully, the automotive industry has moved well beyond the Toyota Prius being the only example of plug-in hybrid technology. The two Mercedes plug-in models actually serve up not only efficiency but also performance. Total system output for the C 350 e is 279 horsepower, while the S 500 Plug-In Hybrid pounds out 435 horsepower. Mercedes could really shake things up by creating a plug-in version of the GL, providing fuel savings and the ability to haul around a bunch of people.