Mercedes-Benz to launch diesel PHEV next year
Mercedes-Benz will launch its first diesel plug-in hybrid next year, likely to be a derivative of the facelifted C-Class, with UK head of fleet, Rob East, stressing that diesel still has a place in the UK market.
Although East wouldn’t confirm which car would get the drivetrain first, the launch coincides with the C-Class reaching an age typical for a mid-life refresh. Diesel plug-in hybrid drivetrains will then be rolled out to others in the range, sold alongside petrol plug-in hybrids which suit a “different user profile”, he said.
The C-Class is already the UK’s second biggest-selling ultra-low emission vehicle, according to Department for Transport figures. Last year, the petrol plug-in hybrid C 350 e outsold the diesel hybrid C 300 h – which can’t be plugged in – more than three to one, also outpacing the Nissan LEAF.
A diesel plug-in hybrid C-Class would be likely to use the new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine from the new E 220 d, paired with an electric motor and newer battery technology from the updated S-Class. This could offer an electric range of 30 miles – a 50% increase on the current C 350 e, though the petrol version would also be due for a higher-capacity battery.
“We still see a place for diesel in the marketplace,” said East. “But I think the next development of our e-mobility strategy for fleet customers, the diesel plug-in hybrid, feels like a bit of a win-win. You’ve got – whatever it may be – in terms of pure battery, but with the real-world of economy of a diesel for a driver. That’s a really strong proposition.”
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