The Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de Plug-In Hybrid SUV: The Complete Guide for India

The Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de Plug-In Hybrid SUV
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Body type: SUV
Battery size: 31.2 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 54 - 58 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 20g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:


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The Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de SUV PHEV


Mercedes-Benz, simply known as Mercedes, is a leading global luxury automative manufacturer based in Germany. The company is headquartered in Stuttgart and is famed for its high quality passenger vehicles, to include the Mercedes-Maybach. However, the company is also a leader in manufacturing commercial vehicles, to include the plug-in Mercedes eSprinter commercial EV and the plug-in Mercedes eVito electric van.

Mercedes-Benz EQ is the sub-brand used by the company for its portfolio of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and mild hybrids. The pure electric cars are branded as EQ, while the PHEVs are branded as EQ Power. The mild hybrid vehicles are branded as EQ Boost. The PHEV portfolio includes:

The Mercedes-Benz GLE (formerly M-Class) premium mid-sized SUV was introduced in 1997. It is currently in its fourth generation, which was unveiled at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. The GLE PHEV SUV is only available as a diesel/electric variant.

For a start the GLE PHEV does stand out from the average plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, given the 31.2 kWh onboard EV battery. In general, most PHEVs tend to have an EV battery smaller than 15 kWh. With the larger EV battery, the GLE 350 de plug-in hybrid SUV also commands a higher EV range, in comparison to other PHEVs.

Mercedes-Benz claims the PHEV has an electric range up to 58 miles (WLTP certified). Real-world range will be lower, impacted by a number of factors, to include: driving profile, braking profile, road conditions, weather conditions, passenger load etc. Either way, the electric vehicle (EV) should be able to deliver over 50 miles with zero-tailpipe emissions. This should be sufficient for most urban needs and also for shorter motorway driving.

The all-wheel drive Mercedes PHEV can be charged using both AC and DC charging. The EV can be charged up to 60 kW DC (10% – 80%: 20 mins). Keep in mind that most plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) do not offer DC charging. However, given the premium price tag, it is imperative that this PHEV offer fast DC charging! For AC charging, the electric car has a 7.4 kW onboard charger, allowing the EV to be charged up to 100% via a domestic single-phase EV charger in 3 hours and 30 minutes. We discourage the use of a 3-PIN domestic socket for EV charging.

We at e-zoomed recommend a ‘topping up’ approach to EV charging. This way, EV range is available to use and regular charging also improves the long-term maintenance of the onboard EV battery. Mercedes offers a 6 years or 62,000 miles warranty for the EV battery.

The 100 kW electric motor is coupled with a 2.0-litre (4-cylinder) diesel engine (a petrol variant is not available). Overall performance of the Mercedes PHEV is respectable: 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds and a 130 mph top speed (320 bhp/ 700 Nm). Given the hybrid engine configuration, the plug-in SUV is more economical to drive compared to the conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) variant. Mercedes claims a fuel economy up to 353 mpg.

Of course, the more the vehicle is driven on the electric mode, the greater the potential for fuel economy and savings. If the EV is driven primarily using the internal combustion engine (ICE), then the fuel economy will be closer to 39.2 mpg.

The EV is a good blend of luxury and practicality. The SUV can seat up to 5 adults, with ample headroom and legroom for adults seated on the rear seats (7 seater option not available). Despite the large onboard EV battery, the EV has up to 490 L cargo volume, but smaller compared to the conventional ICE variant (630 L). The PHEV is technology-packed, to include the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system that used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict the drivers behaviour and needs.

The EV has claimed tailpipe emissions up to 20g CO2/km. Again, substantially lower than the emissions of the conventional petrol variant. Bottom-line, electric driving is good for the environment and the wallet! The Mercedes-Benz electric car is not available in India.


PROS CONS
An attractive exterior design and high interior qualityOnly available as a diesel/electric PHEV
Good battery size, EV range (58 miles) and fuel economyAn expensive PHEV. Cheaper alternatives available
Low tailpipe emissions (20g)Onboard charger limited to single-phase AC charging

Gallery


The Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de SUV PHEV (credit: Mercedes)


One of the key advantages of driving an electric vehicle (EV), is that, it is cheaper to drive, compared to conventional internal combustion engine (ICE), petrol and diesel vehicles. For many years, we have witnessed a significant increase in prices at petrol pumps across India. However, this is not an ‘India’ only trend, but a global trend. We can continue to expect an inflation in global petrol and diesel prices for the foreseeable future.

Both, a pure electric car and a plug-in hybrid electric car, offer significant savings on driving costs per mile, when driven on zero-tailpipe emission electric mode. In India, filling a petrol or diesel car can cost anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. As an example, the very popular Audi Q7 diesel SUV has a fuel capacity of 85 litres. Assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 90, the cost of filling a full tank will be up to Rs 7,650!

In comparison, the all-electric Audi e-tron SUV , which is now available in India, and a similar size to the Audi Q7, can be fully recharged for less than Rs 1,000. Put another way, charging the Audi electric SUV, can save up to 85% compared to filling a full tank of fuel (in India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh).

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant! The sooner you switch to green cars, the sooner you can start saving money. That is simply the bottom-line!


At A Glance
EV Type:Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
Vehicle Type:SUV
Engine:Diesel-Electric
Available In India:No

Variants (3 Options)
GLE 350 de AMG Line
GLE 350 de AMG Line Premium
GLE 350 de AMG Line Premium Plus

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 31.2 kWh
Charging:60 kW DC charging (10-80%: 20 mins). On-board charger 7.4 kW AC
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:20g (CO2/km)
Warranty:6 years or 62,000 miles

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1795
Width (mm):2157
Length (mm):4924
Wheelbase (mm):2995
Turning Circle (m):12.02
Boot capacity (L):490

GLE 350 de 4MATIC AMG Line
EV Battery Capacity:31.2 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):54 – 58 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (kWh/100km):24.8
Fuel Consumption (MPG):313.9 – 353.2
Charging:60 kW DC charging (10%-80%: 20 mins). On-board charger 7.4 kW AC
Top Speed:130 mph
0-62 mph:6.8 seconds
Drive:All-wheel drive (AWD)
Electric Motor (kW):100 kW
Max Power (hp):320 (system output)
Torque (Nm):700 (system output)
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:5
Kerb Weight (kg):2,655
Colours:10
NCAP Safety Rating:Five-Star

Air Quality: The Basics


It does not matter where in India one lives, no one can escape the increased level of air pollution engulfing our villages, towns and cities, across the country. However, this is not unique to India.

Air pollution has been documented globally as one of the key issues in increased mortality rates, in particular, for those that are most vulnerable: the children and the aged. Increased air pollution has been linked to increases in premature deaths, higher rates of cancer, heart attacks, stroke and lung diseases.   

In India, air quality worsens closer to more densely populated urban centres, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier cities. Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru are just some of the examples of cities with dangerous levels of toxic air pollution or poor air quality. In fact, air pollution levels have been so high in India in the recent years, that it has captured the attention of the world media. 

Many factors affect the level of air pollution, but one that is significant, is the pollution released from road transportation, commonly referred to as ‘emissions’ or tailpipe emissions. For the majority of the globe, to include, India, emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles contribute more than 30% to air pollution. This is an average, and certainly, in more populated cities like Delhi and Mumbai, the level of toxic contribution from vehicle exhausts will be even higher. The other major contributor to air pollution is energy production and consumptions (fossil fuels).  


So, what is air pollution?


  • Air pollution is the release of pollutants in our atmosphere that have a negative impact on the health of individuals and the environment as a whole. 
  • The majority of pollutants are invisible. The are minutely small particles (finely divided solids) or gases that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These extremely small solid or liquid particles are also called particulates. Examples are: fumes, smoke, dust and soot. The majority of these particulates are less than 10 micrometres.    
  • Air pollution can affect the environment both outdoors and indoors. There are a number of different types of pollutants, but the most well known are particulate matter, carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.  
  • Both carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NO2), contribute to smog formation, very common in the winter months. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) contributes to haze and also acid rain formation. Particulate matters also contributes to haze and acid rain. All the above negatively impact health by increasing irritation of breathing passages, aggravation of asthma and irregular heartbeat. 
  • Pollutants like carbon dioxide have a far reaching consequence on our lives. It is not only air pollution that it impacts, but as being a major source of greenhouse gas, CO2 has a long-term and detrimental impact on our environment and ecosystem. More commonly refereed to as ‘climate change’.
  • Most of us know in India are familiar with PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter). These are tiny particles or droplets that are two and one half microns or less in width. A micron is a unit of measurement of length equal to one millionth of a metre. An increase in levels of PM 2.5 concentrations result in an increase in unhealthy air quality, haze etc. Vehicle exhausts are a major contributor to higher levels of PM 2.5 in the air.    
  • Though measures like reducing traffic (odd-even system in Delhi), wearing air masks etc. can help reduce the impact of pollution, the reduction is not far-reaching. Zero-emission road transportation i.e. electric cars, are a panacea for a sustained and comprehensive improvement in air quality. The sooner, we in India, migrate to electric vehicles, the sooner can we start to improve our local air quality.  



Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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