By on November 16, 2009

Not with a bang, but with a whimper...(courtesy:thecarconnection)

The “Two-Mode” hybrid system jointly developed by GM, Chrysler, Daimler and BMW is turning out to be quite the albatross. Chrysler’s Two-mode Durango and Aspen were discontinued before Bob Nardelli had the chance to drive one to last year’s bailout hearings. GM’s hybrid Escalade has been dead in the water, and BMW and Mercedes have said that only their X5 and ML SUVs will receive the expensive, overly-complicated drivetrain. Now Mercedes is signaling even further ambivalence toward the technological dead-end by announcing [via Autoblog] that the ML450 Hybrid will be a lease-only option. The 21/24 MPG ML Hybrid will be available at $659 per month for 36 or $549 per month for 60 months. Since this is the only vehicle M-B will sell with the two-mode technology, the limited number of batteries needed was a major factor in driving the cost up. “We are offering this vehicle as lease only due to a limited supply of batteries available. We felt a lease only program offered the best option for customers,” say Mercedes spokesfolks. The real message: the billion-dollar Two-Mode development program has been a colossal waste.

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6 Comments on “Now How Much Would You Pay?: Mercedes ML Hybrid Offered As Lease-Only...”

  • avatar

    For several years now the public avoided the more expensive Hybrid.  A simple math problem would reveal the cost of gas to be much cheaper in the long run, versus the extra Hybrid price tag.
    Although most people will tell you they are environmentally friendly, sales of the upper end Hybrids prove different.

  • avatar

    Mercedes makes buses and commercial trucks don’t they?  For them the two-mode may not be a complete waste depending on how emission legislation goes.  But for the rest you have to believe that forced induction (+) smaller engine would = better alternative for light duty and SUV’s (or ofcourse just putting an electric motor to drive the front wheels with normal set-up driving the rear)

  • avatar

    Hybrid large SUVs make about as much sense as a hot-air balloon/747 hybrid.

    • 0 avatar

      Hank, I’ll politely disagree on the following grounds:
      a) Technologies usually start large and shrink.  The large SUV’s had the spare room for the batteries and system without compromising interior space.  The SUV’s were the vehicles to start on.
      b) The miles per gallon may not have been stellar, but 21/25 is a nice leap from the 12/18 normal for the road giants.
      c) I must admit, I am impressed by the instant torque offered by the electric dual modes.  Heck, that fact alone even got my brother to eyeball a GM pickup even though he is a 30 year plus dyed-in-the-wool Ford owner.
      d) I had the opportunity to drive a Chrysler Aspen Hybrid. Assuming the other OEM’s vehicles have similar driving characteristics, they are pleasant to drive.  The transition between electric and gas was incredibly smooth.
      Now, with all of that,  yes, the cost was not there.  Not even in the ballpark.  The markup for the dual modes pretty much priced them right out of usefulness.

  • avatar

    The same vehicle gets 18/25 with the corporate 3.0L V6 Diesel. There is less of  price premium and with proper care and feeding the engine can last almost forever.

  • avatar

    Errr, lease only is one of the easiest ways for any hybrid to make sense. I’m surprised MB arrived so late at that realisation.
    You get your fuel savings immediately to more than offset the (slightly) higher repayment. Plus, you’ll probably do better on resale than a non-hybrid at the end, or much better when oil hits $100/barrel next year or 2011.

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