It is being reported that Mercedes-Benz will launch its first diesel hybrid vehicle late this year when it kicks off production of the E300 Bluetec hybrid. Until now, automakers have shied away from diesel hybrids because of the high cost of adding electric drive to the existing diesel premium. Instead of using a power-split hybrid like the two-mode system used in the ML450, Mercedes will use the modular mild hybrid system found in the S400 sedan.
The 15 kilowatt electric motor is sandwiched between the engine and transmission while a compact lithium ion battery resides under-hood in place of a lead-acid starter battery. The engine will be the 2.2-liter inline-four cylinder diesel already found in the European-market E250. The diesel hybrid combination could hit 47 mpg (U.S.). There's no indication yet if the diesel hybrid will come to the U.S. market, but we wouldn't hold our breath.