While Mercedes currently sells a number of plug-in hybrids, most of these offerings have very limited electric ranges — often under just 20 miles — making the vehicles of questionable utility for those truly looking to cut their reliance on gas.
That is looking likely to change over the next few years, though, as the company is now planning to begin notably increasing plug-in hybrid (PHEV) electric ranges — starting in 2018 or so.
As the company is reportedly planning to offer PHEV versions of all “high-volume” models by the year 2020, the news is worth noting (with a pinch of salt). A couple of years from now, there will be a lot more options out there as far as pure electric vehicles (EVs) and PHEVs go, though, so one wonders if it’ll be too late for sales to be maintained even with somewhat improved range.
Green Car Reports provides more info on the news:
That news comes from an interview with Thomas Weber, product chief for Mercedes, published yesterday on the Australian automotive site Motoring. Weber says that Mercedes will have launched 10 separate plug-in hybrid models by the end of 2017, but that’s not the end of the story.
“The next-generation vehicle will overcome the 30-km to 50-km hurdle,” he told Motoring, “and then the next generation after that will be 80 to 100 km when they run as pure electric cars.”
…But the big question — unanswered by Weber — is when that second generation of Mercedes plug-in hybrids will arrive. If you assume two- or three-year improvements in lithium-ion cell energy density, that likely won’t be until the 2018 or 2019 model years.
If achieved, that’ll likely make the PHEVs in question of actual value for those looking to notably limit their gas use. That said, costs are almost always the fundamental determining factor…. Why would someone pay $40,000–50,000 for a PHEV with very limited range when one could get a Tesla Model 3 with +200 miles of range for $30,000? I can’t help but get the feeling that Mercedes is taking too long…