Daimler announced that production of their next-generation SUVs, including their plug-in hybrid derivatives, will start later this year at the Tuscaloosa plant in Alabama.
Given that development of the next generation GLE is in its final stages, we wouldn’t be surprised if Mercedes-Benz was talking about it.
After all, today’s family includes the GLE 500e 4Matic, a plug-in hybrid with a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine and electric motor that makes a combined 436hp (442PS / 325kW) and 479lb-f (650Nm) of torque. The output is channeled to the all-wheel drive system through a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission and drivers can choose between ‘Hybrid’, ‘E-Mode’, ‘E-Save’ and ‘Charge’. Moreover, the GLE 500e 4Matic can travel on electric power for some 20 miles (32 kilometers) and at speeds of up to 81mph (130km/h).
Mercedes is also prepping an entirely new GLS. The ‘S-Class of SUVs’, as the brand often referred to the current iteration, is expected to arrive in dealerships in 2019, and it could very well welcome a plug-in hybrid powertrain, too.
In other related news, Mercedes will invest $1 billion in the Tuscaloosa plant. The cash injection will prepare the terrain for the production kick-off of the EQ SUVs, and will also include the creation of more than 600 new jobs at the facility.
Note: 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS prototypes pictured