Mercedes S 500 PHEV Slashes Lifecycle CO2 Emissions Up To 56%

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The Mercedes S 500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) can lower the user’s full-lifecycle CO2 emissions by up to 56% as compared against the gas-powered version of the S 500, according to the life cycle assessment environmental certificate awarded by TÜV SÜD.

The figure of 56% refers to the emissions cut when the Mercedes S 500 PHEV is recharged using electricity generated via hydropower. When recharged using the current “generalized” European electricity mix, lifecycle emissions can be cut by a bit less, 43%.


The findings come to us via a comprehensive assessment of the new PHEV utilizing ISO 14040 and 14044 with regard to lifecycle assessment, ISO 14020 for environmental labels and declarations, and ISO 14021 for self-declared environmental claims.

This documents the PHEV’s environmental performance all the way through development, to general use, to recycling — encompassing the whole of its likely lifecycle. Something to note — all of the three different hybrid S-Class models are covered in the TÜV SÜD document: the S 400 Hybrid, S 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, and S 500 PHEV Hybrid.

Here’s the general gist of the findings via the environmental certificate:

Over the entire life cycle — comprising manufacture, use over 300,000 kilometers (186,411 miles) and recycling — clear advantages result compared with the S 500. External charging with the European electricity mix can cut CO2 emissions by some 43% (35 tonnes). Through the use of renewably generated hydroelectricity a 56% reduction (46 tonnes) is possible.

Pretty impressive cuts to my eyes. But, regardless of that, these sorts of cuts to carbon emissions don’t seem to be enough to motivate Europeans to embrace EVs on any kind of meaningful level — the only factors that seem to do so (to date) are strong incentives, high gas prices, and/or cheap/compact EVs. Especially in Germany (the home of Mercedes-Benz), EV sales have just not hit any kind of meaningful level yet.

Mercedes will soon be releasing the model in the US as the S550 PHEV — representing the first hybrid model that the company has released in the US for the S-Class.

Image Credit: TÜV SÜD

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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