Mercedes-Benz’s marketing plan for the new S-class plug-in hybrid aims to show prospective buyers that going green doesn’t mean slowing down or paying more. Mercedes’ message emphasizes that the S 500 Plug-In Hybrid sprints from 0-100kph in 5.2 seconds while costing the same -- 108,945 euros in Germany -- as the S 500 with a V-8 gasoline engine that consumes more than three times as much fuel.
Mercedes pushes S-class plug-in's zip
What engine does it use?
A twin-turbocharged V-6 paired with an 85-kilowatt electric motor.
It's as low as 2.8 liters per 100km.
Electric-only driving range?
The car's lithium iron phosphate battery with a capacity of 8.7 kilowatt hours can propel the car for 33km on electricity alone. The battery needs two to four hours for a full recharge.
What unique features does the vehicle have?
The car comes with a haptic accelerator pedal that uses a double impulse to tell the driver when to take his foot off the accelerator to coast, which allows the battery to recuperate energy.
Who will buy it?
Corporate fleet operators in countries such as Holland and Norway that heavily subsidize low-emission cars.
“Customers don’t want to make sacrifices in terms of performance, comfort or other aspects one expects from Mercedes, so I am not certain that S 500 Plug-In Hybrid buyers will be materially different from other S-class owners,” Mercedes sales chief Ola Kaellenius told reporters at a recent test drive for the plug-in hybrid in Copenhagen.
Launch date: September (Europe); March 2015 (U.S., China)
Base price: 108,945 euros (Germany)
Where built: Sindelfingen, Germany
Production: 8,147 units in 2014; 7,015 in 2015 (IHS Automotive estimates)
Lowest CO2 emissions: 65g/km
Mercedes also is promoting that the S-class plug-in variant borrows freely from the hybrid powertrain used in the Formula One racecars that have led the automaker to its first constructors’ title in the sport.
In a commercial titled “Efficiency at its best,” Mercedes uses its two F1 drivers, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, to help promote the 3.0-liter sedan to buyers skeptical that a green S class could offer the same driving dynamics.
“You’ll see that Nico and Lewis pull into the pitstop in their Formula One cars and drive off in an S 500 Plug-in Hybrid,” Kaellenius said. “We’re coming with an advertising message that the most advanced technology in the world is developed in the Formula One, parts of which you can now drive on the road.”
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The new S 500 Plug-In Hybrid represents the vanguard of Daimler’s new green car strategy. On average, Daimler aims to launch a new plug-in hybrid every four months for a minimum of 10 new rear-wheel and all-wheel drive models with the fuel-saving technology by 2017 to achieve tightening EU emissions standards.