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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mercedes-Benz plan Plug-In Hybrid S-Class

Due for sale in 2012, the new S-Class sedan will be offered with plug-in hybrid technology, and eventually this option will be offered across the automaker’s fleet.

The information comes from Mercedes-Benz research and development chief Thomas Weber, who explained to Autocar during a recent interview that it “makes a lot of sense to bundle the high-price tech option to the sort of customers willing to pay for this sort of thing.”

The technology has already been previewed by last year’s Vision S500 Plug-In Hybrid Concept, which combined a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine with an electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries.

Dropping this powertrain into the next-generation S-Class, which is also expected to benefit from a weight reduction program and aerodynamic aids, Mercedes-Benz could potentially deliver the promised 70 mpg luxury sedan.

There won’t be a purely electric version, however. Weber ruled such a car out due to concerns over its range. Note, however, that a plug-in hybrid version could potentially drive on all-electric power alone for short distances.

As for the rest of the lineup, expect a new range of “MoVe” modular V-6 and V-8 engines featuring direct-injection and turbocharging technologies.

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