Smart ForTwo ED

Daimler Solves its ED Problem By Renaming Alternative-Fuel Model Suffixes

When German automaker Daimler announced more than five years ago that it would be giving all of its electric cars the “ED” suffix — short for “Electric Drive,” it seemed a little perplexed that many English-speaking countries guffawed at the idea. ED of course, being short for a particularly personal medical condition which late-night TV ads tells us can affect up to 25 percent of the male population over the age of 40.

Mercedes Benz will no-longer give its electric cars ED. Instead, they will be known by an 'e' suffix.

Mercedes Benz will no-longer give its electric cars ED. Instead, they will be known by an ‘e’ suffix.

But now it seems that Daimler has found a cure for its particular ED problem, thanks to a newly-announced nomenclature for the entire Mercedes-Benz family, including spin-off brands like Smart and luxury brands like Mercedes-Maybach.  And while we’re joking a little like teenagers in sex ed class, we’ve got to admit that the new naming convention should make for a far more obvious lineup to the Mercedes-Benz family.

Aside from continuing its five core model designations — A, B, C, E, and S — Mercedes-Benz says it will now add the letters “GL” in front of any SUV model variants, “CL” in front of any 4-door Coupés or Shooting Brakes, and “SL” in front of any roadster variants. But it’s suffixes to those model names which we think will likely interest our readers most: single-letter, lower-case characters that will make it instantly possible to figure out just what’s under the hood.

The 'e' suffix will be used on plug-in hybrids too.

The ‘e’ suffix will be used on plug-in hybrids too.

Found on every 2016 model year Mercedes-Benz car onwards, the single lower-case letters will not only do away with long phrases like ‘Electric Drive,’ ‘Natural Gas Drive,’ BlueTEC Hybrid,’ and ‘F-Cell,’ but will also simplify fuel designations into five simple classes.

  • The letter ‘c’ will be replace ‘Natural Gas Drive’ on all of Mercedes-Benz compressed natural gas vehicles.
  • The letter ‘d’ will stand for ‘Diesel,’ regardless of the type of diesel engine and how its injectors function.
  • Meanwhile, ‘e’ will stand for anything with a plug, be it a fully-electric car or a plug-in hybrid, replacing the old ‘ED,’ ‘Electric Drive’ and ‘Plug-in Hybrid’ name plates.
  • In the same line, the lower case letter ‘f’ will designate a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, replacing the outgoing ‘F-CELL’ nomenclature.
  • Finally, ‘h’ will be used on all non plug-in hybrid cars, with gasoline-powered vehicles having no suffix at all.

Those of a skeptical nature will note that the ‘e’ suffix will make it harder for people to differentiate between fully electric and plug-in hybrid versions of the car. Since it’s likely that Mercedes-Benz will likely use all-electric drivetrains only for its smaller cars like the Smart ForTwo, ForFour, A-Class and B-Class, while giving larger cars like the C, E, and S-Class plug-in hybrid drivetrains, we suspect this confusion will be transitory.

What do you think of Mercedes-Benz’ new naming conventions for denoting the fuel type of its cars? Are you frustrated that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles now get the same single-letter suffix? Or are you just disappointed with the disappearance of ED?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • “Meanwhile, u2018eu2019 will stand for anything with a plug, be it a fully-electric car or a plug-in hybrid, replacing the old u2018ED,u2019 u2018Electric Driveu2019 and u2018Plug-in Hybridu2019 name plates.”nnSo ‘e’ will be used on both BEVs and PHEVs, but HEVs will use ‘h’.nnSeems an odd decision when HEV & PHEV drivetrains have more in common compared to BEVs. BEVs and FCEVs (‘f’) have much more in common from engineering perspective than PHEVs and BEVs. (Setting aside Mercedes-Benz marketing chose to use ‘f’ as in ‘fuel’ over the more common use of ‘h’ in reference to ‘hydrogen’.)nnBEVs and FCEVs motors are full-powered electric, while HEV and PHEV motors are designed to primarily travel more miles ICE-fueled, with partial electric urban modes. BEVs and FCEVs are full-spectrum all-electric vehicles engineered for both urban and highway driving.nnClearly this marketing driven move to focus on the ‘hatch’ door used for energy transfer (gas cap, plug, etc) than the technology under the ‘hood’. Is this Mercedes-Benz’s attempt to de-emphasis all-electric (BEV) vehicles, by lumping them into a hybrid category?

    • Further on the focus of the energy transfer ‘hatch’ for plugins u2026 does (or will) Mercedes-Benz make a vehicle with DC Fast Charging capability? nnWithout DC fast charging, a range-extending capability, plugin vehicles are primarily restricted to using electric only during urban travel.

    • I had wondered that myself, Brian. But then again, since most of MB’s vehicles are likely to be plug-in hybrids…