Mercedes A-Class and B-Class plug-in hybrids announced

Mercedes A 250 e and B 250 e plug-in hybrids promise around 40 miles of electric range

Mercedes has announced 'EQ Power' plug-in hybrid versions of its A-Class hatchback, A-Class saloon and B-Class hatchback models.

They join the larger C-Class, E-Class and S-Class in the German brand's PHEV line-up and the company says it plans to have 20 plug-in hybrids in total in its range by 2020.

The GLC and GLE SUVs are next to be unveiled and the latter is expected to offer over 60 miles of electric driving range.

Mercedes A 250 e specs, range, economy and performance

The A 250 e is offered in five-door hatchback and four-door saloon body styles, with slightly different efficiency figures in each case. The hatchback will return 188-202mpg and emits 33-34g/km of CO2, while the saloon promises economy of 202mpg and emissions of 32-33g/km.

Total power from the 1.33-litre, four-cylinder petrol-electric drivetrain is 215bhp, incorporating 101bhp from the electric motor, which is powered by a 15.6kWh lithium-ion battery. The car is capable of travelling at speeds of up to 87mph in zero-emissions electric mode, for as long as 37-42 miles in hatchback form or 38-43 miles in saloon guise.

Overall top speed using the petrol engine is 149mph for the hatchback and 146mph for the saloon; acceleration from 0-62mph takes 6.7 and 6.6 seconds respectively.

An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is standard. Electric, comfort, eco and sport driving modes are offered, and in electric mode the driver can choose from five different levels of regenerative braking strength using paddles behind the steering wheel.

A 10-100% charge of the A 250 e's battery from a 7.4kW wallbox can be completed in an hour and 45 minutes, while a public rapid charger will do the same job in less than half an hour.

Rather than extending right to the rear of the car, the A-Class hybrid's exhaust has a centrally positioned outlet on the underside of the car. This has freed up room further back for installing the hybrid batteries; Mercedes says this results in "only minimal" reduction in boot capacity from a petrol or diesel A-Class.

German-market pricing for the A 250 e hatchback and saloon starts at €36,943 and €37,300 respectively. No official UK prices have been released as yet, but at current exchange rates those figures equate to around £33,600 and £33,900 respectively.

Mercedes B 250 e specs, range, economy and performance

The Mercedes B-Class is a high-roofed, practical family car based on the A-Class' underpinnings. Using the same 250 e plug-in hybrid drivetrain as its sister model, it returns 176-202mpg and emits between 32 and 36g/km of CO2.

The top speed is 146mph and 0-62mph takes 6.8 seconds. Like the A-Class plug-ins, the B-Class can travel at up to 87mph on electric power alone. Range in pure-electric mode is between 35 and 42 miles.

It uses the same 1.33-litre petrol engine and electric motor, along with the same 15.6kWh battery as the A 250 e, so charging times for both models are identical.

Pricing for the B-Class plug-in starts at €37,663 in Germany – equivalent to about £34,200 – although an official UK price has not yet been issued.