Mercedes will launch its first hybrid car in two years. "In 2009 we will have the first Mercedes-branded hybrid on the market," Thomas Weber, who is also head of development for the premium division Mercedes Car Group, told reporters at the Geneva auto show.

There are no news yet about which model would get the technology.
The world’s fifth-biggest carmaker is in a three-way alliance with General Motors and BMW to develop full hybrids that link an electric motor and batteries to a standard combustion engine.

A mild hybrid can boost acceleration and make engines work more efficiently in stop-and-go traffic. It costs less than a full hybrid, which can cut fuel consumption by a fifth but adds thousands to the price of a car.

But mild hybrids do not offer the same fuel savings as a full hybrid and cannot run on battery power alone.

Weber said the two teams were competing, and the market would decide whether the first Mercedes hybrid would be a full or a mild one. "These two launches are close," he said.

Source: Automotive News

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