Mercedes-Benz R&D boss Thomas Weber has confirmed that petrol-electric AMG performance cars could be on sale by 2020.
Weber has said Mercedes is looking at adapting its current hybrid powertrain technology for use by its AMG performance division, with production cars likely to arrive by the end of the decade.
Weber told Autocar there is increasing pressure on AMG to reduce the CO2 output of its model lines and the most effective way may be to apply its existing hybrid technology.
“Every car line has to reduce fuel consumption — even AMG,” said Weber. “No one part of our business can be carried on the back of another. It’s a huge task to reduce AMG fuel consumption but we’ve realised that it’s also a huge opportunity.”
The EU’s latest weighted CO2 emissions regime gives Mercedes parent company Daimler a target of 101g/km to aim for by 2020. In that year, 95% of the company’s overall European sales volume will need to conform, but in 2021 all of its new cars will count towards the average. If the target is missed, Daimler will be obliged to pay hefty fines.
“We haven’t done it so far, because right now the customer wouldn’t buy it,” Weber said. “AMG customers tell us they want the sportiest performance option available in any given sector of the performance market. We don’t know when they will be ready for hybrid.
“But in our development department, we are already planning for the time when we will have to offer them something special. We have to be prepared that, by 2020, it could be necessary to introduce an AMG hybrid.”
Weber also gave guidance on the technology under consideration.
“A simple e-boost solution [similar to Mercedes’ current Bluetec Hybrid set-up, with a relatively small battery and motor] could help us to add power and regenerate energy by braking,” he said. “It also has the advantage of already being in large-volume production. The system has to be light and cheap.”
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