The German luxury car brand will offer plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Class, GLE-Class and flagship S-Class, all of which are expected to launch at the same time, and ahead of schedule, around November this year.
The move to add three plug-in models will make Mercedes-Benz the brand with the most cars of that type in Australia, followed by Porsche (which has the Panamera and new Cayenne hybrid models), BMW (i3 and i8), Holden (Volt) and Mitsubishi (Outlander PHEV).
There are two types of plug-in hybrid drivetrains that will be used in Mercedes-Benz’s models. The gruntiest will be seen in the GLE500e 4Matic and the S500e.
In both of those models, a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine is teamed to an electric motor that is mounted in the seven-speed automatic gearbox. The maximum combined output of the drivetrain is 325kW and 650Nm and the vehicles can be driven at speeds up to 130km/h in all-electric mode.
On the topic of modes, the drive selection variations include Hybrid, which uses the car’s computer to choose the best power source; E-mode, for all-electric driving; E-save, which keeps the battery at its current state of charge, reserving e-power for urban driving; and Charge mode, where the petrol engine recharges the batteries.
The GLE500e 4Matic model is Benz’s first pluggable SUV, and it’s said to “combine the power and refinement of a V8 engine with the fuel consumption of a three-litre car” – that is to say, a car that uses 3.3L/100km on the European test cycle.
As for the S500e, the fuel use is slightly less (3.0L/100km in Europe) while it can also hustle, with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds. It can run on battery power for 30 kilometres.
The C350e is set to run with a more modest plug-in drivetrain consisting of a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, which generate a combined 208kW and 600Nm. Recharging the battery from flat takes approximately 90 minutes at a specific wall box or two hours via a conventional socket.
Being lighter and smaller, the C350e uses less fuel – claimed consumption is just 2.1L/100km (on the Euro cycle).
Stay tuned for more on the plug-in hybrid Mercedes-Benz models as further information comes to hand.