The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 500 e will be made available with induction charging, enabling it to top up its electricity reserves without the need for plugs.
The technology used to charge the facelifted plug-in hybrid's battery is similar to that used for wirelessly charging smartphones.
The induction charging system being developed consists of two coils, one in the car’s floor and one contained within a base plate over which the the car would sit in order to charge. The base plate would sit on the floor under a protected area, most likely in a garage. An electromagnetic field is formed between the two coils, facilitating the transfer of electrical energy.
An in-car message will display once the vehicle is within range of the base plate, following which the charging process will commence automatically. The wireless energy transmission happens at a power output of 3.6kWh.
Mercedes says the system is 90% efficient, so charge times compared with a conventional plug are only slightly increased.
The 2017 500 e, an updated version of the current 500 plug-in hybrid, will use a turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor. Like today's model, it will be able to run on electric power alone for around 20 miles.