The rapid product offensive was announced by the man responsible for group research and development at Mercedes-Benz, and member of the board of Daimler AG, Dr Thomas Weber at the international launch of the S500 plug-in hybrid this week.
“During the next years we will offer plug-in hybrids in all of our volume segments,” Weber said.
“We will bring a new plug-in hybrid to market every four months … the S-Class forms the spearhead of a true plug-in hybrid offensive of Mercedes.”
The S500 plug-in hybrid debuts a modular electric motor/battery platform that has been designed to fit “into different vehicle types from the C-Class upwards,” according to Weber.
Next in line after the S500 is likely the Mercedes-Benz C-Class plug-in hybrid, which could be revealed at September’s Paris motor show. It will utilise the same 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine and 8.7kWh battery pack (read full specifications here).
“In principle, the [plug-in hybrid] system is suitable for all Mercedes models with rear-wheel drive and 4MATIC [all-wheel] drive,” he continued.
“This modular approach enables high volumes and therefore economies of scale … a first-class, standardised modular hybrid system with individual components.
“These modules can be freely combined with gasoline and diesel engines and also with all engine types, starting withour four and six cylinders.”
The next-generation GLC-Class (formerly GLK) and E-Class, both due next year, will be assured of a similar system, while Weber says that Mercedes-Benz will focus on the hybridisation of larger cars first.
The smaller front-wheel drive A-Class, B-Class, GLA-Class and CLA-Class will then follow with an adapted system, with Weber confirming: “our modular system enables us to derive a front-wheel drive plug-in hybrid, too”.
By then, wireless charging capabilities will likely be on offer.
Mercedes-Benz senior manager and technical hybrid project manager Dr Uwe Keller added: “looking ahead we can anticipate that the plug-in hybrid will also work 'unplugged'”.
“We are working on the charging mechanism of the future: inductive, wireless charging,” he added, explaining that all a driver would have to do is steer their Mercedes-Benz over a charging ‘plate’ on the road to recharge.
“We will soon be testing this technology on our flee … because we want to offer our customers, in the near future the convenience of wireless charging."