Mercedes-Benz will develop a plug-in hybrid version of every model in its line-up in the future, featuring a performance-tuned version of Mercedes-Benz’s EQ Power system.
The move is part of a major push of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology being undertaken by Mercedes as a key element of its £9 billion (Rs 82,989 crore) electrification programme to dramatically reduce fleet CO2 emissions. The first Mercedes-AMG PHEVs are expected in 2020.
Mercedes-AMG currently offers a number of mild-hybrid models, including the CLS 53 and E53. These feature the firm’s EQ Boost-branded 48V starter/generator, which can deliver an additional 22bhp and 184lb ft of torque. However, the need to meet increasingly tight EU fleet emissions targets means that these are likely to be an intermediary step.
“All the AMG vehicles will be available in the future with plug-in hybrids as an option,” said Mercedes’ head of external affairs for emissions, Frank Overmeyer. “Mild hybrid is not the strategy of AMG, because the emissions savings are too small.”
Mercedes currently offers PHEV variants of the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class under the EQ Power badge, with GLC and GLE versions coming soon. The firm will launch 20 PHEV variants by the end of 2020, with an A-Class using a new plug-in powertrain developed specifically for compact cars due imminently.
The models all feature the firm’s third-generation PHEV system. This uses an electric motor that produces 121bhp and 325lb ft and offers around 31 miles (50km) of electric-only range. Mercedes is working to extend that range with the next S-Class, due in 2020, which is expected to use a system that offers 62 miles (100km) of zero-emission power.
The Mercedes-AMG models are likely to use a version of that system but it will be branded EQ Power+ (matching the team’s Formula 1 car) and tuned for extra performance at the expense of some range.
“The battery itself and the application, including the electric motor, will be the same, and you can have a significant boost [in performance] that will reduce the range, but the experience will be better,” said Overmeyer. “Same battery, same drivetrain, different application. In an SUV, it might offer 100km (62 miles). It might only be 60km or 70km (37-43 miles) in an AMG.”
Although the need to reduce average fleet emissions is pushing manufacturers towards electric and other highly efficient tech, Overmeyer said high-performance AMG models will remain a key part of the Mercedes line-up.
“They are the technical icons of our brand,” he said. “We should also never forget that the new world, these electric vehicles, need to be funded, and it’s being funded by our existing high-profit vehicles.”