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Mercedes-AMG says electric models are a when, not an if

Mercedes-AMG is commonly associated with high-horsepower, gasoline-burning engines that emit a ferocious growl. That could soon change, however, as the company’s head honcho has revealed engineers are getting ready to embrace electrification.

“There will be an AMG pure electric car but I don’t know when. Because otherwise AMG will disappear as a brand,” revealed AMG boss Tobias Moers in an interview with Australian website Drive.

Moers explained that going full electric is easier said than done for a high-performance brand. Electric vehicles have come a long way in recent years and customers now expect a long driving range. However, that requires a bulky battery pack that adds weight, which compromises handling and performance. Advances in battery technology promise to bring weight down in the coming years.

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AMG is also experimenting with hybrids. Notably, the company is developing a range-topping supercar that will use a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain made up of a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine borrowed from its Formula One team and an electric motor. Together, the two power sources will generate 1,000 horsepower.

The yet-unnamed F1-powered model will land before the end of the decade, and less powerful hybrid models will undoubtedly follow. AMG is still debating the best way to adopt electrification, but Moers warned the brand’s next all-electric model won’t arrive this decade.

Mercedes-AMG has dabbled in electric cars before. The company traveled to the 2012 edition of the Paris Auto Show to introduce a battery-powered version of the SLS (pictured) with a whopping 740 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque under the hood. The coupe was capable of hitting 60 mph from a stop in just 3.9 seconds.

The SLS Electric Drive set a speed record for electric vehicles on Germany’s famed Nürburgring track that still stands today. However, it cost over half a million dollars, so only a small handful of examples were produced. The next time around, Mercedes-AMG’s battery-electric model is expected to be a more mainstream model.