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Mercedes plugs-in the S-Class hybrid

Mercedes-Benz is set to trot our its new Vision S 500 Plug-in Hybrid at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
2 min read

Mercedes-Benz Vision S 500

Okay, so after a pair of supercar reveals on yesterday, let's take a step in a different direction and focus on something more environmentally friendly.

Hot on the heels of the S 400 Hybrid's European launch, Mercedes-Benz is set to trot our its new Vision S 500 Plug-in Hybrid at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show. (Wait, isn't BMW's new hybrid concept also called "Vision?" Oooh, scandalous!)

The Vision S 500's engine room is predictably similar to that of the S 400. Both vehicles use the same direct injected V-6 gasoline engine, both vehicles feature a electric ring motor sandwiched between the gasoline engine and the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission. However, there are a few crucial differences.

Firstly, the S 500's 44 kW/60 horsepower electric motor is about three times more powerful than the S 400's 15 kW/20 horsepower unit. Additionally, the S 500's larger 10 kWh lithium ion battery pack is housed over the rear axle, instead of in the engine compartment.

Vision S 500 PHEV, another angle
A more robust electrical component allows the Vision S to go up to 18 miles on EV power. Mercedes-Benz

Finally, the Vision S 500 Plug-in Hybrid is, as the name implies, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), with its own onboard charger. Mercedes-Benz claims that a rapid charge cycle takes less than an hour with a 20 kW source. Recharging a completely discharged battery to full with a conventional household socket takes about 4.5 hours. Not too bad, we think.

Fully juiced, the Vision S can drive for up to 18 miles on silent electric power before the gasoline engine has to intervene. Mercedes is claiming a certified consumption of 73.5 US mpg (on the New European Driving Cycle), which pretty much blows the S 400 hybrid's 29 mpg out of the water.