Mercedes is going to create an entirely new sub-brand for electric cars, in a bid to take on new rival Tesla, apparently.
The German automaker plans to launch two electric SUVs and two sedans as part of an entirely new “suburban for electric cars”, as reported by Automotive News Europe. Mercedes hopes the new brand will help the company “challenge BMW and Tesla Motors”, although the name of the brand has not yet been chosen.
“The first of the new electric autos will be produced at the company’s factory in Bremen, Germany,” reads the report, which cites sources “familiar with the plans”. It continues: “From next year, the Bremen plant will also build a fuel-cell electric version of the GLC SUV that can be charged both with hydrogen and at a wall socket.”
Earlier this year, Mercedes confirmed that it would unveil an electric car at the Paris Auto Show in September. This car is expected to be an SUV that can drive around 500 kilometres (310 miles) on a single charge. According to one source, Mercedes will begin selling its new electric line-up “before the end of the decade”.
Mercedes' Luxury in Motion concept car
Until recently, Mercedes had remained largely sceptical of electric cars, simply adding batteries and electric motors to existing models. That’s in contrast to home rival BMW, which has already begun selling its electric “i” brand of vehicles.
But all car companies are facing increasing pressure to roll out electric cars thanks to the surprising success of Tesla. In an interview last week, Mercedes’ truck boss Wolfgang Bernhard said: “When Tesla started coming up many years ago, we decided at the time – and I believe correctly – that the technology wasn’t quite ready. Now we believe the time has come to earn money in e-mobility over the next five to 10 years.”
Tesla has already seen success from its Model S and Model X cars, and is currently manufacturing its third vehicle – the Model 3 – for a late 2017 launch. The company has already taken 373,000 orders for the new vehicle, which represents potential sales of over $14 billion.
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What do you think Mercedes should call its spin-off electric car brand? Post your ideas in the comments below.