The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S550e plug-in hybrid will feature a wireless charging system as an option, according to recent announcements.
The cost for the option itself has yet to be revealed, but considering that the 2017 S550e is likely to run ~$100,000, it seems likely to substantial. The company claims that power transmission of up to 3.6 kilowatts (kW) will be possible. As far as efficiency, the company is claiming a 90% transmission rate.
A cockpit display will reportedly be used to make maneuvering over the charging pad easier — though, exact parking accuracy won’t be necessary for the system to work, just as it isn’t for the only home wireless EV charging stations on the market today, which come from Plugless Power.
A representative from the company that developed this wireless charging system for Mercedes, WiTricity, sent us an email that not only highlighted the benefits of the system, but also its relevance to a world where autonomous driving is expected to win the day.
“If people don’t drive their cars anymore, they certainly aren’t going to gas them up or plug them in to charge,” the email sent to EV Obsession and CleanTechnica notes. “Check out this video to see how autonomous vehicles and wireless charging have the capacity to revolutionize city living, too”
Interestingly, Car & Driver picked up the news of this incremental improvement as well, but spun it in a “colorful” way (notice the contempt…):
Plugging in your car at the end of the day might make a statement that you consider yourself to be a part-of-the-solution kind of person, but the need to drag cables around and fumble plugs into awkwardly shaped charging ports can still be a hassle for affluent green consumers, who might well muss up their organic cotton suit while doing so. Mercedes clearly understands, which is why it will be offering the option of inductive charging on the S550e plug-in hybrid, which is being refreshed for 2017.
Meaning that replenishing the increased-capacity, 13.5-kWh battery will be no more complicated than making sure it’s positioned over a special charging pad before running to your dinner of shaved quinoa cooked in Amazonian cloud water.
I would have expected at least a bit more creativity than that, though, wouldn’t you have? And can anyone truly argue at this point that well-designed electric vehicles aren’t in many ways superior to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles? Clearly, the nearly half-million reservations for the Tesla Model 3 weren’t all from partakers of “Amazonian cloud water.” And, for that matter, a great deal of the support out there now for electric vehicles is coming from those involved in the tech sector, rather than just from yuppies….
And let’s remember this is all still about a plug-in hybrid with only a 13.5 kWh battery pack. Hopefully some genuinely competitive fully electric vehicles with large battery packs are in Mercedes’ future plans, and it is taking the EV sector seriously. Plans to reach 100,000 electric vehicle sales a year by 2020 don’t quite cut it.