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Future AMGs will be plug-in hybrids; electric performance sub brand coming

By Alex Inwood, 05 Sep 2018 News

Future AMGs will be plug-in hybrids; electric performance sub brand coming

Former AMG boss reveals a shock new direction for Mercedes-Benz’s performance arm

MERCEDES-AMG is poised to launch a new electric performance brand, called EQ C Power Plus, that will see its entire model range adopt plug-in hybrid powertrains.

The plan, which is already well advanced, was confirmed to Wheels by the former head of AMG and current Mercedes-Benz board member for research and development, Ola Kallenius, in Sweden today.

Speaking at the launch of Mercedes-Benz’s first all-electric car, the EQC, Kallenius revealed AMG’s plan when asked if the performance arm saw any potential in the EQC.

Read next: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S review

“If we talk about EQ as a technology brand, what we have decided to do with AMG is to develop a range of dedicated power plug-in hybrids that we’re going to brand under the brand name EQ C Power Plus,” he said. “So AMG is in full scale development of this to hybridise the AMG fleet post-2020.”

Kallenius wouldn’t be drawn on what size battery packs AMG will utilise, or what combustion engines they’ll be partnered with, but he did confirm the long-term plan is for the entire AMG range to go hybrid.

“Eventually we will get there, but let’s take a start and then step by step do this,” he said. “For those of you that are performance fans, you’ll know that weight [of the battery pack] is always not a friend of the performance car, so finding the right balance of boost, weight, kWh, CO2 and so on is the challenge in that department. So that’s a very comprehensive strategy that’s in the making as we speak.”

AMG already embraces electrification with its range of ‘53’-badged variants, which utilise a 48v system and an electric compressor to support a conventional turbocharger. The step up to plug-in hybrids is the next logical move on the path to full electrification.

“When do we take the step into a fully electric battery vehicle? We were early starters with the AMG Electric Drive. It was a slightly crazy project that demonstrated in an extreme way what is possible if you really unleash the engineers,” said Kallenius. “What we learned with that car is you can do a lot, especially on the vehicle dynamic side with the torque vectoring.

Read next: Mercedes-Benz EQC prototype ride

“It was absolutely amazing to drive that car on a handling track because it felt like you were driving on rails. So that whet the appetite and in the journey towards more and more electric mobility, it is absolutely possible that AMG steps into that scene as well. It’s not a concrete project kicked off at this time, but can I see it happening? Yes I can see it happening.”

The first AMG plug-in isn’t that far away, with Kallenius confirming the debut model will be the AMG GT 4 Door. ‘Regular’ versions of the GT 4 Door launch in America later this month.