Mercedes-Benz to electrify entire lineup

The company will spend nearly $8 billion USD on \'green\' technologies in the next two years.

Daimler has outlined broad commitments for 'green' technologies, due to receive nearly $8 billion USD in development investment over the next two years.

Mercedes-Benz will electrify its entire passenger-car lineup "step by step," according to division R&D head Thomas Weber.

The plan will initially focus on launching more hybrids, including the GLC Coupe 350e 4Matic and the E350e -- the brand's seventh and eighth plug-in hybrids vehicles, scheduled to arrive in showrooms before the end of the year. Next on the list is the updated S500e, due in 2017 with more than 30 miles of electric range.

The German automaker will also embrace 48-volt power systems for its standard internal-combustion engines. The extra voltage allows vehicles to employ integrated starter generators, belt-driven starter generators and other fuel-saving technology such as electrically-driven compressors.

"It will make fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology," the company says.

The 48-volt push will be inaugurated by the M256 inline-six with an integrated starter generator in 2017, followed by a four-cylinder powerplant with a belt-driven starter generator.

Mercedes-Benz is also developing an electric vehicle architecture for purely battery-powered models. The first example is expected to arrive before the end of the decade.

"Further technological leaps where batteries are concerned are expected in the coming decade through the launch of post-lithium-ion systems, with lithium-sulphur batteries currently being the most promising," the company notes.

The company is also following Japanese and Korean automakers into the hydrogen segment. Unlike existing vehicles, however, the GLC F-Cell features a larger battery capable of driving for around 30 miles without using any hydrogen. The first units will begin arriving in showrooms next year.

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