Moving one step beyond its newly launched S400 HYBRID, Mercedes-Benz will show an S-Class concept in Frankfurt called the Vision S500 Plug-in HYBRID. Although describing the technology it embodies as being "near-series production," M-B has yet to confirm when it might actually turn up in a showroom. However, Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, did note that: "We've already got all the key technology we need for such a dream car, which is why I see it being included in the next generation of the S-Class. The important thing now is that our development work be accompanied by the establishment of a full-coverage infrastructure that will allow the potential of this innovative drive system to be fully exploited."
The Vision S500's electro-mechanical heart combines a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with a 60-horsepower electric motor that makes 148 pound-feet of torque and is fed by a new Lithium-ion battery rated at over 10 kilowatt-hours (by comparison, the battery in the S400 HYBRID is rated at 0.9 kWh). Like the S400 Hybrid, it power heads to the rear wheels via a modified version of M-B's slick 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic. Offering the ability to run up to 18 miles on electric power alone, sprint from 0-60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, and top out at 155 mph, the Vision S500 Plug-in HYBRID also returns the equivalent of 73.5 mpg on the combined Euro cycle and emits a mere 74 g/km of CO2. Other key efficiency enhancements include regenerative braking, ECO start/stop circuitry and a computer-controlled on-board charging system. Mercedes says the battery can be replenished in less than an hour using a dedicated high-voltage system or about 4.5 hours using a standard Euro-spec 220V outlet.
"The Vision 500 Plug-in HYBRID is a new milestone on our path toward zero-emission mobility," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "It is a luxurious and safe S-Class that offers superior driving performance while at the same time consuming less fuel than current compacts. All of this shows that our top models will also be able to combine automotive fascination with responsibility for the environment."