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. 

Infographic by Forbes and Statista, published on Forbes on June 1, 2018.

Infographic by Forbes and Statista, published on Forbes on June 1, 2018.

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

Andrew Kyprianides