Can you still call it a plug-in hybrid if you never have to actually plug it in? Starting in 2017, Mercedes-Benz will add a wireless charging function to its S500e plug-in hybrid luxury sedan. The automaker revealed today that the feature is intended to launch when the S500e is refreshed for the 2018 model year.
The Mercedes-Benz S500e wireless charging system consists of a receiving coil in the bottom of the car and a space base plate that can be installed in a garage or a car port. Instructions in the car’s instruments help guide the driver to park the car in the right position over the charging plate. The wireless system can charge at up to 3.6 kW with an efficiency of 90 percent, Mercedes says. The company has been testing the wireless feature on S500e test cars since 2015.
Mercedes also revealed that the facelifted S500e will have an improved driving range. Its lithium-ion battery pack will grow from 8.7 to 13.3 kWh, which the company says should bump all-electric driving range to 31 miles in European testing, up from its current European rating of 20 EV miles.
The Mercedes-Benz S500e, sold in the U.S. only in California as the S550e, combines a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 engine and an electric motor, for total output of 442 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The EPA estimates it will manage 12 miles of all-electric driving and 58 mpge on a fully charged battery and a full tank of gas.
Mercedes also announced today that from 2018, it will make its plug-in cars compatible with the new Combined Charging System (CCS). Using AC and DC currents, the standard will allow Mercedes cars to charge at up to 150 kW at special fast-charge stations.
Selling more electrified cars is a key goal for Mercedes, said Thomas Weber, head of Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
“We will steadily increase the percentage of electric vehicles in our fleet,” he said today in a statement. “Electric mobility at Daimler will be in the six figures by 2020.”
Gallery: Mercedes S500e to get wireless charging in 2017
Whether at home via a wallbox, while shopping, at work or on the street: the possibilities for powering electric vehicles are already very diverse nowadays. Daimler will shortly be offering an innovative solution, particularly for charging at home: inductive charging is set to revolutionise charging convenience from 2017. The use of the technology is initially planned for the facelift model of the Mercedes-Benz S 500 e. News for cable-connected charging, too: from 2018, direct current charging based on the CCS (Combined Charging System) standard will gradually find its way into all electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. This will enable fast charging in public with much greater performance than is possible today.
One of the next steps on the road to the perfect electric vehicle and plug-in-hybrid is wireless charging. Inductive charging makes handling these vehicles even more convenient. Mercedes-Benz has been testing the contactless charging technology since 2015 with a test fleet of the current S 500 e. From 2017 the technology should be ready: with the facelift model of the S 500 e, the availability of an inductive charging system as an optional extra is planned, in addition to cable-connected charging. With this innovative technology, the electrical energy is contactlessly and safely transmitted via a magnetic field.
The system is comprised of two components: a secondary coil in the vehicle floor and a base plate with integrated primary coil. This is placed on the garage floor, for example, or in a protected area in front of a carport. Via a display message in the cockpit the driver can see whether the vehicle is in the tolerance range over the charging station. As soon as the charging position has been reached, charging automatically begins and is constantly monitored by the system. The electrical energy is transmitted contactlessly, without a charging cable, at a power output of up to 3.6 kW. With an efficiency rate of almost 90 percent, the high-voltage battery can be efficiently, conveniently and safely charged.
AC + DC = Combined Charging System (CCS)
Public fast charging is increasingly gaining in importance. In the past years, Daimler, in conjunction with other automotive manufacturers, has decisively advanced the development of the Combined Charging System into an open and universal charging system for electric vehicles. The system pursues the goal of unlimited, global e-mobility. It expands the existing technical standard for AC charging of electric vehicles with the capacity for DC fast charging. From 2018 direct current charging based on the CCS standard will gradually find its way into all electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. Depending on the vehicle and battery system, this enables a charging capacity of up to 150 kW at fast charging stations. Perspectively, the system also enables a charging capacity of up to 350 kW.
Agreement on the European socket standard simultaneously simplifies the development of an extensive fast charging network. In Germany, partners from business, politics and research are involved in the development of this infrastructure: in public projects such as "SLAM - Schnellladenetz für Achsen und Metropolen" (Fast Charging Network for Transport Axes and Metropolitan Regions) or "Schnellladen Berlin" (Fast Charging Berlin) the partners are driving forward the development of a fast charging network within Germany across all industries. The German government has just decided to support the further development of a nationwide network of fast charging and normal charging stations with 300 million euros.