Mercedes will only offer plug-in hybrids for the time being on the likes of the new GLC, but it is likely to return to more conventional hybrid technology within the next five years.
Professor Thomas Weber, a Mercedes board member and head of research and development, said that plug-in hybrids are the next natural step beyond a diesel.
“Do we need [non plug-in hybrids]? I don’t think so,” he said. “Because on high-tech diesels the fuel economy numbers are so low that if a customer decides to take another step I think the plug-in is the best solution.”
“In the past we had, not mild hybrids, but small plug-ins, and the missing part is the electrified driving distance,” said Weber.
However, he said that as the electric range of plug-ins increases, non plug-in hybrids could return, adding another option to sit next to the conventional diesel and petrol engines.