Bigger battery and wireless charging confirmed for the S500e.
While Mercedes is set to bring mild hybrid assistance to pretty much everything it produces – thanks to its new 48 volt motor-generator – the company will still be offering more traditional plug-in hybrids, with the facelifted S-Class that we will be seeing next year, set to get a bigger battery and the option of wireless charging.
While the current S500e has an 8.7 kW/h battery pack, the revised one will get a 13.5kW/h unit, boosting the electric-only range to around 50km. The new lithium-ion battery fits into the same space and – at 120kg – weighs almost exactly the same.
“It’s a good indication of the speed battery technology is developing,” Jochen Strenkert, Mercedes’ head of plug-in hybrid powertrains told us at the company’s Future Technology day in Stuttgart earlier this week. Apparently Merc is already planning for another battery iteration as it moves into more advanced cell chemistry. We’re told that a 2025 S-Class will have twice the capacity and EV range as the current car.
Despite the arrival of Merc’s new straight six engine, the 550e will continue to use a development of the current car’s 245kW turbocharged V6 and 85kW electric motor; the company also plans to drop the lesser S400h that is sold in some markets, as well as all non-plug-in hybrids.
Going forward the choice will be between the 48V “mild” system and high voltage models with sizeable battery packs. The S300h – the four-cylinder diesel version that’s offered in Europe – will be given a battery pack and turned into a plug-in hybrid, presumably also being rebadged as the S300e under Merc’s still-fresh naming convention.
The S500e will also be the first Benz to come with the option of wireless inductive charging, with the system working like a scaled-up version of those that replenish electric toothbrushes or top-end mobile phones. Current is sent through a floor-mounted baseplate and – thanks to the magic of electromagnetic waves – will be transmitted to a secondary coil fitted underneath the S-Class.
To work, the system needs an air gap no greater than 160mm, but can transmit power at up to 3.6kW. Mercedes claims the system will be 90 percent efficient, with sensors allowing charging to start automatically as soon as the car is in place.
To help with that there will be an on-board cockpit display to help maneuver the S directly over its charging pad, or alternatively, buyers will be able to make use of the autonomous parking option that should be able to do a millimetre perfect job.
The S500e will also continue to have a charging port for old-fashioned plug in charging.