Mercedes’ S550e plug-in hybrid will soon be able to charge wirelessly

Mercedes-Benz S550e wireless charging
Charging cords can be a hassle when it comes to phones, laptops, and tablets, and it’s no different for cars. Several companies have developed wireless charging systems for cars, and several automakers have experimented with them. But Mercedes-Benz may be the first to actually offer the technology on a production model.

Among many green technology announcements made this week, the German carmaker confirmed that it will offer wireless charging on the 2017 S550e plug-in hybrid. The new features will be timed with a mid-cycle refresh of the big luxury sedan, which is sold as the S500e in Europe. The car will come standard with a conventional charging cable, with wireless charging available as an option.

Mercedes says it’s been testing the system on a fleet of S500e mules since last year. It consists of a coil mounted on the underside of the car, and a base plate that is placed on the floor of a garage or parking spot. Running electricity through a coil in the base plate creates a magnetic field, allowing current to be transferred to the plate in the car without any physical connection.

Read more: Next-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive on the way

The systems is fully automatic, Mercedes says. The driver checks whether the car is positioned correctly over the base plate using a display on the dashboard screen, and charging starts as soon as the car is in the right spot. The system charges at up to 3.6 kilowatts, and Mercedes claims an efficiency rate of almost 90 percent for the transfer of power from base plate to car.

In addition to wireless charging, Mercedes is doubling down on DC fast charging for cars with conventional plugs. DC fast charging stations can typically charge a car to 80 percent of capacity in around 30 minutes, but they’re also less common than the slower “Level 2” AC stations. Nonetheless, Mercedes says that by 2018 it will offer DC fast charging capability as standard equipment on all of its electric cars.

This is part of a larger push by Mercedes to electrify its entire lineup with a combination of hybrids (including a new 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain), plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric cars. Next year, Mercedes will also launch the GLC F-Cell, a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle with a supplementary lithium-ion battery pack.

Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!