Mercedes‑Benz Cars is continually increasing its range of plug-in hybrids under the EQ Power label. With the CLA 250 e Coupé, CLA 250 e Shooting Brake and B 250 e, three further compact models with hybrid drive system are now available to order with immediate effect. The market launch will begin in the summer. The GLA with plug-in hybrid drive system will follow a few weeks later.

For the compact vehicles with EQ Power, (electric) driving pleasure and suitability for everyday use are paramount. This is illustrated by the models’ highlights:

  • Electric operating ranges of more than 70 km (NEDC)
  • Electric output 75 kW
  • System output 160 kW
  • System torque 450 Nm
  • Alternating-current (AC) charging system up to 7.4 kW
  • Direct-current (DC) charging system at max. 24 kW
  • Hardly any restrictions in the load compartment

The vehicles belonging to Mercedes-Benz’s compact car family feature transversely mounted engines. A compact hybrid traction head has been developed for the 8G-DCT dual clutch transmission which follows the same technical principles as the corresponding component on the vehicles with a longitudinally installed engine. It is a permanently excited synchronous machine as an internal rotor. The stator is permanently integrated in the traction head housing, while the low-loss wet clutch is incorporated in the motor’s rotor. On-demand stator and rotor cooling allow use of the electric motor’s peak and continuous output without any problems.

For the first time in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the combustion engine is started by the electric motor – the compact hybrids do not have a separate 12-volt starter.

High system output provides for plenty of driving enjoyment

The electric machine achieves 75 kW. Together with the 1.33-litre four-cylinder engine this produces a system output of 160 kW (218 hp) and a system torque of 450 Nm. Thanks to the EQ Power of the electric motor, these vehicles respond to the accelerator very rapidly and deliver impressive performance: the B 250 e for instance  needs just 6.8 seconds for the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (see table for further data).

A lithium-ion high-voltage battery with a total capacity of approx. 15.6 kWh is used as an electric energy storage unit. The new compact models can be charged with alternating current or direct current. A corresponding vehicle socket is located in the right-hand side wall of the vehicles. This means that the compact plug-in hybrids can be charged at a 7.4 kW wallbox with alternating current (AC) within 1 h 45 minutes from 10-100 percent SoC (State of Charge). For direct-current (DC) charging at 24 kW, the battery can be charged from 10-80 percent SoC in around 25 minutes.

Clever packaging

An innovative exhaust system allows exceptionally clever packaging: to ensure only minimal reduction in boot capacity compared with the sister models with non-hybrid engines, the exhaust ends in a centrally positioned outlet under the vehicle floor, with the rear silencer housed in the transmission tunnel. Integrating the fuel tank into the axle installation space creates additional room beneath the rear seats for the high-voltage battery.

The compact vehicles are equipped with third-generation plug-in technology. Its functions include in particular the intelligent, route-based operating strategy, which incorporates factors such as navigation data, speed limits and route. The operating strategy takes into account the entire planned route and prioritises the electric driving mode for the most sensible route sections in each case.

One important comfort feature is the pre-entry climate control prior to starting a journey, which can also be activated conveniently by smartphone. The towing capacity of the compact hybrids is impressive at 1600 kg (braked).

Following the A-Class Compact Saloon and the A-Class Saloon, three further compact plug-in hybrid models are now lined-up for the start.

90 percent of driving can be completed in all-electric mode

With the help of the free EQ Ready App, available free of charge, Mercedes-Benz has established how long the journeys of people interested in e-mobility are on average. The results show that

  • 90 percent of all journeys are shorter than 50 kilometres,
  • 96 percent of all journeys are shorter than 100 kilometres and
  • 99 percent of all journeys are shorter than 400 kilometres.

The range of average distances per journey by interested persons varies in the individual markets, extending from just over eight kilometres in Hong Kong to slightly more than 27 kilometres in the Netherlands, where there is particularly high interest in e-mobility. Which just shows that 90% of trips can be completed exclusively under electric power with Mercedes-Benz’s current plug-in models.

Mercedes me Charge helps with charging en route

As well as using the domestic power supply, e.g. at a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox, convenient and uncomplicated charging is possible during the journey, too. That’s because the MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) assists the driver in finding charging stations. The MBUX system understands natural speech, allowing the driver to start a search simply by saying “Hey Mercedes, find charging stations nearby”.

Via Mercedes me Charge, drivers of a plug-in hybrid model can optionally obtain access to one of the world’s largest charging networks, with over 300 different operators in Europe alone (municipalities, car parks, motorways, shopping centres, etc.). Thanks to navigation, Mercedes-Benz customers can find these stations easily and can gain convenient access to the charging stations via the Mercedes me Charge card, the Mercedes me App or directly from the car. No separate contracts are necessary for this: apart from simple authentication, customers benefit from an integrated payment function with simple billing after they have registered their payment method once. Each charging process is booked automatically. The individual charging processes are clearly listed in a monthly invoice.

Production

Following a phase of work stoppage and short-time work as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt passenger car plant has successfully begun production again. Initially, on 20 April, the Mercedes-Benz engine and component plants including Untertürkheim, Hamburg and Berlin started up successively, followed more recently by the Mercedes-Benz Bremen and Sindelfingen plants as well as selected international passenger car plants. On 4 May the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant also restarted production gradually. Production will be ramped up on a flexible basis so that ongoing developments can be taken into account but will initially be on a single-shift basis.

The Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant serves as the lead production plant for Mercedes-Benz’s popular compact cars: one in four Mercedes-Benz models sold globally in 2019 was a compact car: The A-Class Saloon, A-Class and B-Class as well as the GLA compact SUV are built in Rastatt. The plug-in-hybrid variants of the A-Class and B-Class also started rolling off the production line here this year. The compact plug-in hybrids are built on the same line as models with a conventional drive. Production of vehicles with various drive systems can be adapted flexibly and efficiently as appropriate. This optimises the use of capacity at the plant and guarantees the high Mercedes-Benz production and quality standards. This production restart sees Mercedes-Benz continuing its product and electric initiative.

The production network for compact vehicles also includes the plant in Kecskemét, Hungary (A-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake), the Chinese production location BBAC (A-Class L Saloon, GLA, GLB), the joint-venture production plant COMPAS (A-Class Saloon, GLB) in Mexico, and also the plant in Hambach, France.

Source: Mercedes-Benz AG