Mercedes-Benz C-Class plug-in hybrid confirmed

A hybrid version of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class was confirmed last month, however the boss of the company's US operations has now revealed exclusively to CarAdvice that the petrol-electric model will offer plug-in charging capability.
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The fourth-generation C-Class, spied below and due to be released next year for a 2015 on-sale, will be able to be both recharged via a household power point or the internal combustion engine. It will also be able to run soley on battery power for many kilometres, or petrol power only, or a combination of both.

“There will be a plug-in hybrid that will have full electric capability on the C-Class platform,” confirmed President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, Stephen Cannon.

“The plug-in hybrid is a way to dramatically drive down emissions, while still allowing it to be a little … less range anxiety.

“Over time we’re going to be proliferating [electric vehicles] … it’s going to start with hybridisation.”

Where the E-Class launched as the first Mercedes-Benz hybrid last year, it does not offer plug-in charging capability. The E-Class does, however, mate a turbo-diesel engine with an electric motor. If this pairing is used with the C-Class, the new generation mid-sized sedan could be the first ever mainstream production turbo-diesel plug-in hybrid.

Cannon wouldn’t confirm that possibility, but did outline the plans for Mercedes-Benz expanding its electric vehicle range, starting with the B-Class Electric Drive unveiled at this week’s New York auto show, followed by the Smart e-drive and flagship SLS GT Electric Drive.

“Right now, this [B-Class Electric Drive] is our first foray into electric space.

“There will be an offering of full electrics – Smart and B-Class as our start – complemented by hybrids, plug-in hybrids, clean diesels and eventually fuel cells.

“So that’s kind of the whole package…”

At New York, Mercedes-Benz head of sales and marketing Dr. Joachim Schmidt commented that “electric cars are and will continue to be a major part of our strategy for sustainable mobility.”

“We are truly committed to the vision of emission-free driving,” he added.

“And we are convinced that more and more customers want zero-local-emissions driving – when the whole package makes sense”.

Recently, Mercedes-Benz inadvertently revealed a picture to journalists in a presentation showing an ‘e-drive’ display in an S-Class interior. If correct, and the new S-Class launches later this year with a plug-in hybrid model, it will beat the now-confirmed C-Class plug-in to market.