Mercedes-Benz only recently launched its first production hybrid in the form of the S400 BlueHybrid, and it's already working on the next generation of its flagship S-class. When that model debuts in a few years time, it is expected to be the first model from Stuttgart to offer a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain. At this point, it's unknown which of Mercedes' two hybrid systems it will use. The S400 uses a new mild hybrid system that doesn't support electric-only driving, but Mercedes-Benz also has the two-mode system from the ML450 hybrid. The automaker showed off the potential for this car with the Vision 500 Plug-in HYBRID concept (above) at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show.
With the disbanding of the two-mode hybrid joint development with BMW and General Motors, it has been thought that the two-mode system would not be used by Mercedes-Benz in any new applications. This system can support a plug-in variant with electric-only drive. It's also possible that Daimler will create a brand-new system, perhaps derived from the mild system but with a more powerful motor to support electric drive. The PHEV system that will be used in the next-gen S-Class is also expected to be applied across the Mercedes range, so we're thinking a new system is more likely.