The next Mercedes-Benz GLE plug-in hybrid will be rated for 62 miles of electric range on the WLTP test cycle, says Ola Kallenius, head of Daimler group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development — and Daimler’s next CEO. Kallenius also told Automotive News it will be launched in the second half of next year. For reference, the 2018 GLE550e plug-in only ekes out 10 miles of electric driving.
It’s unclear whether the GLE PHEV will be launched exclusively in Europe at the start, but we’d wager that the U.S. will have to wait a few more months to get the vehicle. Another mystery is the engine to be used in combination with the electrics. Most plug-in hybrids come with a four-cylinder gasoline engine, but Kallenius didn’t close the door on a diesel powertrain. Although we doubt the U.S. wouldn’t get anything other than a turbo four banger.
The biggest caveat of them all here is the WLTP test cycle stipulation. In some cases, WLTP testing correlates relatively closely with the EPA’s test, but that’s not always the case. Chevrolet’s Bolt is rated at 240 miles of range on the WLTP and 238 miles by the EPA. Whereas the Hyundai Kona EV is rated at 292 miles on the WLTP, but only 250 miles on the U.S. cycle. What we’re saying here folks, is that we can’t be 100 percent sure about the GLE’s range based only on the WLTP numbers. However, this still represents a huge advancement for plug-in hybrid vehicles. The vast majority of these cars don’t go nearly as far, even if we were to arbitrarily take a few miles off that 62-mile figure.
Mercedes recently launched its all-electric EQC SUV with some uncertainty about the range, too. At first it was reported that the EQC would have about 200 miles of range on the U.S. test, but then Mercedes said that was incorrect, and asked us to report the extremely generous 279 miles on the old, inaccurate NEDC test regime.
Regardless of the seemingly huge differences in range reported by different tests, a plug-in electric range of 62 miles gives us hope for the future. Others will surely follow in the footsteps of Mercedes over the next few years. For those wanting the full breakdown of the recently revealed 2020 Mercedes GLE, head here.