The Mercedes-Benz S-Class isn’t the first choice of environmentalists, but that could change soon.
Mercedes reportedly is considering an electric version of its flagship luxury sedan, according to Top Gear.
Speaking to the magazine at last week’s 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes large car chief Dr. Uwe Ernstberger said an electric S-Class isn’t a good fit right now, but is a certainty for the future.
Such a car would offer a very serene and quiet ride but, as with most electric cars, short range and long charging times would have to be addressed.
Ernstberger said the biggest obstacle to an all-electric S-Class is the packaging of the batteries.
The car would need a relatively large battery pack to ensure a reasonable range, but it would be cruel to make S-Class owners sacrifice their hot-stone massagers and perfume dispensers just to make room.
However, Mercedes’ hand may eventually be forced by tightening worldwide emissions regulations, which could necessitate building greener cars to meet standards like U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), which requires carmakers to achieve a fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Mercedes has already gone partway there with the S500 Plug-In Hybrid, pictured above. Powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 and an electric motor, it’s capable of 78 mpg on the (optimistic) European cycle. It’s scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. next year.
Between those extremes, there’s probably room for an S-Class Electric Drive, although Mercedes is probably wise to wait for the technology to mature a bit more before trying it out on its signature product.