Mercedes-Benz was reportedly hard at work on a range-extended version of the EQS sedan equipped with a small petrol engine in addition to a battery pack and an electric motor driving the rear wheels.

    According to Autocar Mercedes-Benz was testing out a series plug-in hybrid – or range-extender electric vehicle – drivetrain.

    A source told the British publication work on this project has now been abandoned, with the automaker concluding the range extender setup was “a transitional technology with a relatively short-term benefit in terms of sales and comparatively high production costs”.

    Mercedes-Benz reportedly began considering range extender technology as plug-in hybrid cars are popular in parts of China, particularly second- and third-tier cities where public electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is still in its infancy.

    The EQS, the company’s flagship electric passenger car, it’s said, served as the basis for the prototypes for testing out the range extender drivetrain configuration.

    Like the Chevrolet Volt — sold in Australia as the Holden Volt — as well as the BMW i3 REV, the range-extended EQS had a small petrol engine under the bonnet.

    With the car’s electric motor solely responsible for driving the car, the petrol engine is not connected to the wheels. The petrol engine’s purpose is to recharge the car’s batteries, either on request from the driver or when they are nearing empty.

    The magazine understands the range-extended EQS had a turbocharged 1.0-litre two-cylinder under the bonnet. Essentially a M254 four-cylinder lopped in half, the two-pot motor was modified to run on the Miller cycle, and had a front-mounted exhaust system, removing the need to route piping through the vehicle’s undercarriage.

    These EQS prototypes had a single 200kW electric motor driving the rear wheels, and a lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of around 50kWh, or half that of a regular all-electric EQS.

    Total range for the EQS prototypes is said to be more than 784km, the official WLTP rating for the rear-wheel drive EQS 450+ equipped with the larger 107.8kWh battery pack.

    Last week Mercedes-Benz unveiled an updated EQS sedan with improved range, and a new grille which mimics the classic S-Class look.

    MORE: Everything Mercedes-Benz EQS

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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