The rumours were true – Mercedes is finally electrifying some models from its compact car range by installing a plug-in hybrid powertrain in the A-Class hatchback, A-Class saloon, and the B-Class MPV. Carrying the “250e” suffix and “EQ Power” branding, the trio largely retains the design of the conventionally powered models, but obviously with an extra fuel cap on the other rear quarter panel to charge the 15.6-kWh battery pack.
At the heart of the 250e models is the very same turbocharged four-cylinder 1.33-litre petrol engine you’ll find in a regular A-Class or B-Class. It produces 158 bhp and 184 pound-feet of torque and works together with an electric motor rated at 101 bhp and 221 lb-ft. The PHEV system enables a combined output of 215 bhp and 332 lb-ft and is linked to an eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The electrified punch helps the five-door hatch run to 62 mph from a standstill in 6.6 seconds, while its saloon counterpart needs an extra tenth of a second. Go for the B-Class and the time will increase to 6.8 seconds. As far as top speed is concerned, the hatch and the MPV max out at 146 mph compared to the slightly higher 149 mph velocity achieved by the saloon. In pure electric mode, all three top out at 87 mph.
The water-cooled battery pack weighs approximately 150 kilograms and provides the A250e hatch with a zero-emissions range between 37 to 42 miles per WLTP or 46 to 47 miles according to the NEDC regime.
The saloon offers a slightly higher range, 38 to 43 miles WLTP / 47 to 48 miles NEDC.
As for the people-mover, the B250e can do 35 to 42 miles WLTP or 43 to 48 miles NEDC before running out of battery juice.
With alternating current (AC), the battery can be charged from 10% to 100% within 1 hour and 45 minutes. Direct-current charging (DC) charges the battery from 10% to 80% in approximately 25 minutes.
Mercedes wishes to point out the extra hardware has only “slight limitations on the boot volume” thanks to clever packaging. One example is the exhaust system, which rather than extending to the end of the car, it ends in a centrally mounted outlet underneath the floor and has the rear silencer positioned within the transmission tunnel. In addition, the petrol fuel tank is built into the axle installation space, therefore making room for the battery pack under the rear seats.
The German automaker is already taking orders for the electrified A-Class models and will open the order books for the B250e in the weeks to come. In its domestic market, the A250e hatchback kicks off at €36,943, followed by the saloon at €37,300 and the MPV at €37,663.
More than 20 EQ Power-branded vehicles will be available from 2020.