Mercedes-Benz revealed the 2021 C-Class lineup around seven months ago. From gas to diesel motors and even mild hybrid variants, it seemed that Mercedes had all the bases covered. That is until they put a plug-in hybrid of the C-Class on the brochure.
Currently, the PH market doesn’t have much of the electric-assisted variants of the C-Class. We do have diesel options, sure, but just like gasoline, it isn’t immune to fluctuating fuel prices.
But could a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the new C-Class mean more fuel savings for would-be buyers? And could plug-in hybrids actually “pay for itself” following what drivers could save from filling the fuel tank?
Called the C 300 e, it will be available both as a sedan or as an estate wagon. Compared to a mild-hybrid (MHEV) where kinetic energy charges the battery, the C 300 e is a PHEV that will allow owners to plug them into an everyday wall socket (with special cables, of course) to charge up the battery. At the same time, the PHEV will have the same kinetic energy system available to make sure your batteries are kept charged.
The electric range of the sedan can average between 99 and 111 kilometers while the wagon can cover between 95 to 107 kilometers. All things considered, breaching 100 kilometers is already an improvement to its range compared to previous generations. Moreover, the power of the electric motors has been bumped up as well to 129 PS. Another improvement comes by way of the cargo space, particularly in the wagon. There’s no longer a step in the trunk area, so that means you can load more and with a lot more ease.
Going back to how it performs, this C-Class is no slouch. It punches out 313 PS with 550Nm of torque and can reach a top speed of over 240 km/h. With just the electric motors, however, it can reach a respectable 140 km/h.
As for fuel consumption, Mercedes-Benz claims it easily sips fuel at 125 to 167 kilometers per liter (km/L). To put things into perspective, Metro Manila to Subic is about 167 kilometers. If you take into consideration its range capability, its fuel mileage, and the right circumstances, you’re looking at using the battery's full charge, plus maybe an additional 1 or 1.5 liters of fuel for a round trip. In our vernacular, that’s “sulit”.
But “sulit” comes at a price; a literal price tag. Roughly converted (sans possible taxes and miscellaneous duties, etc), the C 300 e will cost anywhere between PHP 3.3 to 3.4 million. If we peg its price to PHP 4 million, will it still make the C-Class PHEV attractive to buyers? Personally, any option for an electrified powertrain does. Will it pay for itself in fuel savings? Maybe, but that will depend on how you’ll use a plug-in hybrid.
With EVs not yet mainstream in the Philippine market, hybrids and plug-in hybrids are the best alternatives for the time being when it comes to saving on fuel, as well as saving the environment. And when it comes to fuel costs, it could save some of your hard-earned Pesos from going to the pumps. We're keeping our fingers crossed Mercedes-Benz distributor Auto Nation Group brings more hybrids to the country.