Mercedes Benz: Temporary goodbye to hybrids
Mercedes Benz will be discontinuing its line of plug in hybrids. According to a report by Autocar, the Stuttgart-based automaker is stopping production of its plug-in hybrid C-Class, E-Class, GLE-class, and S-Class. The halt of production is not a move away from environmentally friendly car engineering, of course - it is exactly the opposite. All PHEV/EVs will now be sold under the EQ branding.
The German automaker has produced a new electric motor, which promises an increase in e-range (up to 31 miles, depending on model), top electric speed (up to 87mph/140km/h), horsepower (121bhp), and torque(325lb ft). The vehicles equipped with the new motor will only be sold with a new 9-speed automatic gearbox and will be sold under the EQ branding - part of Mercedes' EQ initiative, which includes a sporty SUV concept vehicle.
According to the report by Autocar, the first production vehicle to be sold under the EQ umbrella is the new S-Class. The flagship of Mercedes Benz is already available in some markets. The currently available PHEV version (S500e), though, is not equipped with the new EQ motor; S560e, bearing the new EQ motor will be available later this year, replacing S500e. Further PHEV models will become available during 2018 and 2019 - E-class is, reportedly, the next model to receive the new EQ treatment.
Mercedes' move comes at a very opportune moment. The company's best-selling PHEV in Britain, the C-class, accounted for 9.2% of C-Class saloon sales and 14.2% C-Class estate sales. According to a recent report by Bloomberg, Mercedes is also developing a fully electrified S-class, aimed at challenging Tesla Model S' dominance in the premium, all-electric market. Apart from the obvious shift to EV/PHEV in the west, Mercedes is also trying to expand its EV/PHEV portfolio to capture a slice of the booming Chinese electric car market - the largest market in the world, according to Forbes.