While far from the sexiest car on the Benz stand at Geneva, the Mercedes-Benz Concept V-ision-e is perhaps one of the most important.
By transplanting the plug-in hybrid powertrain of the C 350 e PHEV into the load-lugging shell of a V-Class, Mercedes has created a large luxury shuttle that sips just 3.0 l/100km on the combined cycle, and can travel 50km without using any fuel at all.
Power comes from a 155kW 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine and a 90kW electric motor, producing a system output of 245kW and 600Nm. It may be a hybrid, but this is no weaksauce treehugger - it's got genuine muscle.
Consequently, the Concept V-ision-e can sprint to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds (faster than most hot-hatches) and hit a top speed of 206km/h. Airport transfers have never been faster.
The concept is fitted out in a four-seat configuration with a pair of generously-proportioned business-class style seats in the back, which recline flat and have retractable tray tables and video screens.
A more conventional seven-seat layout could be accommodated in a production version, though some luggage space is lost due to the battery hardware being housed above the floor at the very rear of the cabin.
More crucially, it paves the way for an ultra-frugal plug-in variant of the Vito commercial van.
With many commercial operators like delivery companies so sensitive to the cost of fuel, a plug-in hybrid van would be an attractive proposition provided it came with few compromises to interior volume.
But for now, the Concept V-ision-e remains exactly that: a concept.
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