The 2017 Mercedes S Class plug-in hybrid will feature a brand new wireless charging system technology when it hits showrooms next summer, going by comments made by the company’s head of hybrid powertrains, Jochen Strenkert, at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show.
The new wireless charging system is being developed jointly with BMW, according to Strenkert, in order to keep development costs relatively low. The Mercedes employee stated that the system would allow for charging times similar to those provided by regular cable-based charging.
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Wireless charging is a hot topic among manufacturers. Tesla has been cool to the idea, preferring to work on an automatic charging cable for its SuperCharger locations. But what about charging at home? Tesla’s new Summon self parking feature could easily manage the accuracy needed to get a car perfectly aligned with a wireless charging hug.
One thing holding back acceptance of wireless charging is that current systems are limited in the power they can deliver. 7.5 kW is about the best available. At that rate, a full recharge can take 8 hours of more, depending on battery size. Nissan is hard at work on a system with twice as much power which would cut charging times in half. It sounds like the new Mercedes/BMW system will also have a higher power capability, although no technical details have been released yet.
“We already have a working prototype,” Strenkert noted. He also stated that the the next S Class plug-in hybrid (PHEV) would have a roughly doubled electric range (battery capacity doubled) — which would mean a range of around 40 miles (the current S 500e has an all-electric range of around 20 miles).