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Early 2015 launch for Mercedes-Benz S500 Plug-In Hybrid, C-Class Plug-in Hybrid to follow

Green-car fans with chauffeurs will be happy to know that the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S500 Plug-In Hybrid is slated to go on sale in the United States next year.

During a roundtable interview at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler’s R&D chief for Mercedes, told Green Car Reports that the S-Class Plug-in Hybrid will hit showrooms in Europe later this year, and will make it to the U.S. in early 2015. That’s around the same time as the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid.

Announced last summer, the S500 Plug-in Hybrid features a 328hp 3.0-liter turbocharged gasoline inline-six and and a 80kW electric motor, which combine to get the car from 0 to 60mph in 5.5 seconds. Electricity comes from a lithium-ion battery pack, which provides 19 miles of range on the European cycle. Expect US-cycle efficiency numbers to be a little lower.

The big news, however, is that Mercedes will follow up the S500 Plug-in Hybrid with a C-Class Plug-in Hybrid, with an electric-only range closer to 31 miles. Mercedes will offer a plug-in and a normal hybrid, both of which will be based on the redesigned 2015 C-Class unveiled last week in Detroit.

The C-Class Plug-in Hybrid may use the same powertrain as the bigger S500 Plug-in Hybrid, as Mercedes attempts to modularize components used in its rear-wheel drive sedans.

Meanwhile, Mercedes will launch a C300 BlueTEC diesel-hybrid in Europe later this year.

As for the gasoline hybrid and plug-in, it’s a question of when, not if. Mercedes is reportedly committed to both models, but will decide when to launch them based on demand. Like most German carmakers, Mercedes has traditionally emphasized diesel cars. However, it’s hedging its bet with these plug-in hybrids, as well as the upcoming B-Class Electric Drive electric car.

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