Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren recently proved that hybrid-powered cars don’t necessarily have to be dull, and they raised eyebrows while doing so. Mercedes-AMG is now gearing up to jump on the gas-electric bandwagon, and one of the newly-formed sub-brand’s top executives has announced that a hybrid model will most likely land by 2020.
Mercedes-AMG openly admits that it is embracing hybrids because there is no other way around it, not because it’s out to prove a point.
“We haven’t done it so far, because right now the customer wouldn’t buy it. We don’t know when they will be ready,” explained Thomas Weber, the head of Mercedes-Benz’s research and development department, in an interview with British magazine Autocar.
In Europe, parent company Daimler needs to lower its fleet’s average CO2 emissions to a city car-like 101 grams per kilometer by 2020. Because only 95%, and not all, of the cars it builds will initially have to conform to the new norms, ultra-fast supercars like the GT S will be exempt. However, the European Union will include emissions from all of Daimler’s models in 2021, and the car maker will have to pay stupendous fines if can’t meet the target in time.
Weber hinted that AMG’s hybrid system will initially take the form of a “simple e-boost solution” made up of a compact electric motor and a correspondingly small battery pack. The setup won’t save as much gas as a full-blown plug-in hybrid drivetrain, but it’s light, it’s relatively cheap to build, and Mercedes can take advantage of economies of scale because most of the components are already being mass-produced.
Mercedes-AMG has not revealed what its very first gasoline-electric model will be, or precisely when it will make its debut. We’ll learn more about the company’s plans for a greener future in the coming months.