Mercedes-Benz is appealing to a broad customer base with an ever-increasing number of models in its line-up offering plug-in-hybrid technology. This trend is making an important contribution on the path to CO2‑neutral mobility that Mercedes-Benz is committed to pursuing as part of its decarbonisation strategy.
Plug‑in hybrid vehicles offer the option of running on electricity only and thus with zero local emissions, especially in urban areas. EQ Power models are parallel hybrids that can also be charged from external electricity networks (plug-in). The powertrain consists of an electric drive and an internal combustion engine working in tandem and able to power the vehicle either individually or together.
Plug-in hybrids thus offer a fast and straightforward entry into electric mobility – without being dependent upon a fully functioning, nationwide charging infrastructure. Mercedes-Benz is systematically expanding its plug-in-hybrid line-up and will offer more than 20 model variants by the end of the year – from A-Class to S-Class, from GLA to GLE.
“Plug-in hybrids bring together the best of both worlds. In the city, they run on electricity alone; and over longer distances, they benefit from the range of the combustion engine,” explains Dr. Torsten Eder, Chief Engineer Mercedes-Benz Drivetrains. “They make the vehicle more efficient overall because they recuperate braking energy on the one hand and, on the other, can run the internal combustion engine at the most fuel-efficient speeds and loads. The different characteristics of the drives complement one another perfectly. An electric motor runs most efficiently when driving at low speeds, while an combustion engine performs most efficiently at higher speeds and loads.”
Six different compact models with more than 70 kilometres of electric range
In the compact segment, Mercedes-Benz already offers a plug-in hybrid variant in every model range – A-Class, A‑Class Saloon, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA. Running together, the 160 kW (218 hp) 1.33-litre four‑cylinder petrol engine and the 75 kW electric motor produce a system output of 160 kW and a total maximum torque of 450 newton metres. The key characteristic of the electric motor, full torque from standstill, makes the compact plug-in hybrids exceptionally responsive, as reflected by the dynamic performance figures. For instance, the A 250 e (fuel consumption combined 1.6–1.4 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined 36–32 g/km, energy consumption combined 15.3–14.8 kWh/100 km) completes the classic sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6. 6 seconds. Even running on electricity alone, it can reach a top speed of up to 140 km/h – more than enough to make good progress on the motorway within the speed limits of most countries without using the engine.
The electric range is more than 70 kilometres (NEDC). The lithium-ion battery, with a total capacity of 15.6 kWh can be externally charged with either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). At a 7.4 kW wallbox (AC), it takes around 1 hour 45 minutes to charge from 10 to 100 percent SoC (State of Charge). Using DC rapid charging with a maximum of 24 kW, it takes around 25 minutes for the battery to go from 10 to 80 percent SoC. To ensure minimum restrictions in the luggage compartment compared with non-hybrid sibling models, the exhaust tailpipe is located centrally beneath the vehicle floor and the rear silencer is housed in the centre tunnel. The integration of the fuel tank in the axle space creates extra room beneath the rear bench for the high-voltage battery.
A diverse spectrum of EQ Power from the mid-size to the luxury segment with up to 100 kilometres of electric range
The EQ Power models, which span from the C-Class to the S-Class and from the GLC to the GLE, are now already in their third generation of hybrids. Peak output of 90 kW and off-the-line torque of 440 newton metres deliver refined performance in all driving modes, including electric only, and top speeds of 130 km/h. In the case of the GLE 350 de 4MATIC (fuel consumption combined 1.3–1.1 l/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined 34–29 g/km; energy consumption combined 28.7–25.4 kWh/100 km) peak output is as high as 100 kW with a top speed of up to 160 km/h. In the new E-Class model range, Mercedes-Benz offers seven different plug-in hybrids in the saloon and estate, with a petrol or diesel engine and with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The electric range of the C-, E- and S-Class is around 50 kilometres (NEDC), while the GLE offers more than 100 kilometres (NEDC). Crucial to the rise in electric range is the increased nominal capacity of 13.5 kWh. The battery in the GLE can store as much as 31.2 kWh.
At a wallbox with alternating current (AC), an empty battery can be fully charged at home in approx. 1.5 hours (GLE: 3 hours 15 minutes). Even using a regular domestic power socket, a full charge takes around just five hours. The GLE is equipped with a COMBO charging socket for charging with either alternating or direct current. At a DC charging station, it’s possible to charge the battery from 10 to 80 percent SoC in ca. 20 minutes and from 10 to 100 percent SoC in 30 minutes.
Intelligent operating strategy aids the driver
To make sure the time between charges is as long as possible and the charging time as short as possible, the vehicle electronics system in the EQ Power models helps the driver to drive efficiently with an intelligent, route-based operating strategy. It identifies and recommends the sections of the route best suited to the electric driving mode and takes into account factors such as navigation data, topography, speed restrictions and traffic conditions for the entire planned route. The ECO Assist system supports the driver as a kind of coach and helps save electricity and fuel. Drivers who consistently follow its advice can lower their consumption by up to five percent compared with a normal driving profile.
Mercedes me Charge simplifies the charging process
Drivers of a Mercedes-Benz EQC or plug-in hybrid model with the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system have optional access to one of the world’s largest charging networks with more than 300 different operators of public charging stations in Europe alone (cities, car parks, motorways, shopping centres etc.). Convenient access to the charging points is via the Mercedes me Charge card, the Mercedes me app or via the vehicle’s own media display. There is no need for an array of different contracts – as well as straightforward authentication, customers benefit from an integrated payment function with simple billing following one-time entry of their payment method. Payment then occurs automatically each time the vehicle is charged. The individual charging sessions are itemised in a clear, easy-to-follow monthly statement. The MBUX system understands natural conversation, which makes it easy to find charging stations close by or along a selected route. All this makes finding, charging and paying easier than ever before.
EQ Ready app determines individual benefits of EQ Power models
The free EQ Ready app analyses the user’s individual driving data, and compares it with an array of parameters from electric and hybrid vehicles. It then determines whether it would make sense for the user to switch to an electric car or hybrid model. The results are based on the individual usage profile, and an overall view is derived from analysing not just one single trip, but the everyday driving profile. Self-determination is the key here: personalised data is extracted only with the explicit advance authorisation of the customer.
The new version of the app is now available in the app store and can be used with any brand of vehicle. The EQ Ready app checks not only if the user’s destinations could also be reached with an electric drive, but also provides daily information on power requirements as well as the available charging infrastructure along the route. Moreover, the user can compare their current vehicle with an alternatively powered model from Mercedes-Benz.