Mercedes-Benz Adds a Plug in Hybrid to the New C-Class

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onJanuary 13th, 2015

Mercedes-Benz may proclaim this year as the year of the SUV, but seeing all the unveils so far at the Detroit North American International Auto Show, it’s more like the year of the EV/PHV/PHEV. Many manufactures are chasing fuel economy, and even in the Mercedes-Benz press conference, they are targeting 10 new Plug-in Hybrids in their lineup within the next 2 years. Starting things off, the C350 Plug-in Hybrid is the first of the 10 out of Stuttgart.

Available in both sedan and wagon form (wagon is a European market exclusive), the C350 PHV puts out a total of 279hp, with the ability to drive in all electric mode for up to 30kms, while delivering only 2.1L/100km of fuel consumption. With more weight comes a necessity for better suspension control, which is why the C350 comes standard with AIRMATIC air suspension to offer drivers a more comfortable ride and sharper handling. Charging from a 220V outlet at home, the C350 PHV obtains a full charge in under 2 hours, replenishing the batteries for another 30kms of range.

The 4 cylinder engine in the C350 is the tried and true 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo found in the CLA250 sedan. In this configuration, the engine pumps out 211hp. Coupled with the 68hp electric motor, the C350 PHV delivers a total of 279hp. The 7 speed transmission powers the rear wheels, with an additional clutch to manage output between the gasoline engine as well as the electric motor. As an added bonus, the wet startup clutch delivers less power loss, better efficiency, and a more connected feel to the driver much like the AMG MCT transmission which shares a similar startup clutch. A 4MATIC AWD drivetrain is currently being tested by Mercedes-Benz, and will be found in future PHV models. All of this put together allows the C350 PHV to accelerate to 60mph in 5.7 seconds.

Because of the unique powerplants and drivetrain, the C350 PHV offers several operating modes to get the most out of the system. The standard Hybrid mode lets the car manage all the functions of both the drivetrain and charging functions based on driving demands. E-Mode keeps the car running in pure electric mode without ever running the gasoline engine (until power is nearly depleted), E-Save mode keeps the battery charged to it’s maximum range which is suitable for long treks, and a Charge Mode keeps the gasoline engine running both for power duties, as well as charging duties. These 4 modes allow the driver to select the optimal charging strategy to use the minimal amount of fuel.

You don’t have to wait long for the C350 Plug-in Hybrid, it’s expected to hit dealer showrooms this spring. Check out the gallery below.

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