LOS ANGELES, March 18, 2015 — Calling it a “strategic hybrid initiative,” Mercedes-Benz today blasted away from the luxury sedan, CUV and SUV pack by promising to deliver “a total of ten plug-in hybrid models” (that’s a new model launch every four months!) by 2017. And don’t be fooled. Now, MB has rebranded it’s “e” class not to denote pure electrics, but their burgeoning lineup of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
It seems Mercedes-Benz is betting on the plug-in hybrid as the new go-to technology consumers will buy just like GM took a big gamble on its Chevy Volt and its luxury twin, the 2014 Cadillac ELR.
Interestingly, this automotive journalist and green car road test reviewer was driving Cadillac’s most luxurious plug-in hybrid this week, the stunning 2014 ELR – and was incredibly impressed with this modern coupe’s exterior, interior, performance and electric charging and range capabilities (35+ miles for each full electric charge!).
So, it isn’t surprising to this green car expert that Daimler is going all out with plug-in hybrid technology rather than all-electric vehicles (EVs) or some other illogical “sustainable” energy platform such as hydrogen or fuel cells. Luxury car buyers and drivers want utility as well as comfort, safety and today’s best safety and infotainment technology. Drivers want to be able to plug in and get the benefits of electric motors (zero emissions, almost zero fuel costs and non-violent energy), but they also need to know they can fuel up at any gas station and go, go, go.
First, MB launched its S 500 plug-in hybrid full-sized sedan that accelerates from 0-100 mph in just 5.2 seconds with an electric range of up to 33 km (20.5 miles). This month, the C 350 e “saloon” and “estate” models are now in European dealerships and goes up to 31 km or 19.3 miles on electric power with a whopping 270 hp). Next, the GLE SUV will be the next in line to take on MB’s new “e” nomenclature.
Mercedes-Benz previewed its “e” power plant “vision” recently at the Geneva Motor Show with a look into its new V class. MB engineers claim the new power plant in this mid-sized luxury van comes from a “highly efficient twin power source of petrol engine and electric motor,” which “delivers a system output of 245 kW (333 hp) with a system torque of up to 600 Nm.” Wow!
Here’s a breakdown of MB’s plug-in hybrid history. Remember, Daimler says it “main emphasis as regards to alternative drives” will be with plug-in hybrid technology as well as being a “leading player in the field of all-electric mobility.”
All current hybrid and electric drive vehicles from Mercedes-Benz cars:
2012: smart fortwo electric drive
2012: E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID
2013: SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive
2013: S 400 HYBRID
2013: S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID
2014: C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID
2014: B-Class Electric Drive
2014: S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID
2015: C 350 e
When buying a new car, plug-in hybrids are the perfect solution for those who are seeking to wean off the violent petro dollar and create a more sustainable world, yet still need the accessibility of pulling into a gas station. Daimler definitely has the right idea to take its new “e” plug-in hybrid motor technologies and put them into its lineup of world-class luxury vehicles – and by 2017 no less!