Electric cars are great — especially those of the performance persuasion. With heaps of on-demand torque, they make for truly neck-snapping performance machines. However, the one downside to going green is the loss of the signature sound of an internal combustion engine.
Thankfully, not all performance cars are going full EV; the next generation of Mercedes-AMG models (Mercedes’ most potent models) is going to be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). That means they’ll retain that classic AMG baritone exhaust note with an onboard internal combustion gasoline engine. Importantly, however, they’ll be environmentally friendly, too.
In an interview, Frank Overmeyer, Mercedes’ head of external affairs for emissions, told Autoblog that the next-generation of AMG vehicles receive the same hybrid tech that will underpin standard Mercedes-Benz models, but with different tuning.
“The battery itself and the application, including the electric motor, will be the same, and you can have a significant boost [in performance] that will reduce the range,” Overmeyer said, “but the experience will be better.”
Performance Is More Than Speed
The forthcoming AMG PHEVs will likely use the Mercedes EQ Power hybrid system and be badged EQ Boost+. And that plus is significant, because it builds on the EQ Boost mild-hybrid system and adds more power.
Presently, AMG models with EQ Boost — like the recently revealed E 53 model —feature an electric motor good for an additional 21 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
Overmeyer explained why AMGs would receive Boost+, saying that the emissions savings aren’t significant enough with mild-hybrids. And that is a significant sentiment.
Automakers have been accused of adding hybrid and electrified systems to their cars for performance improvements alone. Obviously, this isn’t the case with Mercedes.
In fact, it has pledged to spend $11.8 billion on electrifying its models. The German automaker will launch 10 electrific vehicles by 2022. And it plans to sell 130 electrified variants by 2025.
What’s more, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler announced late last year that it has agreed to purchase $22.8 billion in lithium-ion batteries by 2030. These batteries will power more than AMG models, though, Daimler will also use them to power trucks, buses, and vans.
EVs are most definitely the future. It’s important for brands to offer that mid-point step for customers between internal combustion engines and full electrics. Until the fast-charging infrastructure is fully implemented and commonplace, owning and operating an EV won’t be feasible for everyone. So, for those folks, having the option of a car that can be run on electricity alone, gas alone, or a mix is essential.
PHEVs that are gorgeous to behold, go like all hell, and have eco-friendly powertrains will only help further the cause of electrified vehicles. The Chevrolet Volt, the first real mass-market PHEV was great. However, it was weird looking and had a tiny interior.
Offering a bat-out-of-hell AMG that utilizes the same PHEV technology will be far more impactful on the public perception of electrified cars — especially with customers who are more concerned with design, technology, and performance.
The move to make AMG PHEVs not only helps the cars themselves accelerate, it accelerates the positive perception of electrified vehicles, too.