Mercedes Benz is preparing not one or two, but four electric cars to take Tesla, Porsche and BMW head on in the electric vehicle battle. A little late to the EV party, Mercedes does not want to be left behind and is aiming to take on the rivals with an accelerated approach.
Recently the board approved the plans for building a new platform, nicknamed as EVA (Electric Vehicle Architecture), to be used by these four future EVs. EVA will share some key features with the already accomplished MRA platform.
The new reports suggest that the first car will be launched in 2018, a full year earlier than the original timeline, to fend off the attacks from the Audi Q6 e-Tron and Porsche Mission E, which are also slated to be launched in 2018.
As reported in the CAR magazine, UK, this whole development is happening under project 'ECOLUXE', with a reported budget of 2 BILLION Euros, and will see the development of four models – two sedans and two crossovers. The focus of the project is to build the saloons, and the SUV is now put on backburner, contrary to the initial reports.
The first entry from the house to the EV party will be a saloon smaller than E class but bigger than C class and this will be followed by a similar sized SUV slotted between GLC and GLE.
The fast tracking of the development is helped by the fact that Mercedes no longer plans to build a Greenfield factory exclusive for EVs. According to the latest plan, the EVs will be built at the Bremen plant. Also, the EVs will share components such as suspension and basic body structure with the modular MRA platform that will help the turnaround time and development costs.
The power to propel this car will be drawn from a monolithic battery pack (akin to the one used in Tesla Model X) and will cover the entire floor area of the car. The battery pack will weigh about 400kgs and will feed one motor in rear-wheel drive models and two motors in all-wheel drive vehicles. While the rear-wheel drive models will make use of a 300kW electric motor, the all-wheel drive models will get an additional motor at the front, with an output of either 90kW or 150kW.
The EVs will feature top-of-the-line tech such as adaptive e-suspension, e-torque vectoring and e-braking with selective regenerative braking, which will aid the dynamics and will go on a long way to ensure that the car is fun to drive.
Though the design is not yet unveiled, sources suggest that the vehicle will be taking cues from the IAA concept that Mercedes Benz showcased in 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show. This will have influences on design elements such as the grills and general proportions, and we expect the car to measure more than 4500mm in length.
In the second phase, the saloon and the crossover will be joined by a large sedan that will be as big as S class, if not more. This will be followed by the supersized SUV (originally planned to kick start the EV range), which will be slotted above the upcoming GLS.
The company is hoping to sell at least 20,000 examples each of the four vehicles modeled on EVA platform, at a starting price of approximate $100,000 to $120,000.
Mercedes Benz has also initiated a project dubbed as 'New Electric Vehicle' or NEV. This project is exclusive to China and is aimed to design and locally build a battery electric vehicle (BEV) by 2020. Sit up and take notice, Tesla and others – Mercedes has arrived at the EV scene and how!