Mercedes Tesla Model S killer is already on the drawing board, the firm’s R&D boss Thomas Weber has revealed. The revolutionary electric model will have a range of 311 miles.
“We are working on an intelligent concept for a highly attractive electric vehicle with a range of 400-500 kilometers (228-311 miles). The car will come soon,” Weber explains, in his recent interview with German magazine Auto motor und sport.
The time and money invested by Mercedes in this jewel project should easily pay off, as the electric drive concept developed for the Tesla killer will be offered alongside other models down the range as well. To put things into perspective, half of Mercedes’ r&d budget estimated at 5.68 billion euros ($6.4 billion) has been spent on low-emission innovations.
Mercedes relationship with Tesla goes way back. Daimler partnered with the American company in 2009 and bought a 9.1 stake in return for a seat on Elon Musk’s board of directors as well as the battery cells used by the Germans for their own B-Class Electric Drive zero emissions vehicle. The ties ended in 2014, when Mercedes sold the remaining 4 percent stake in Tesla following their removal from the board.
Of course, Mercedes’ tradition in electric vehicles technology is stronger than you might think, given that Daimler’s passenger car division has created numerous EVs during the last decade, including zero emissions battery-driven variants of the A-Class, B-Class, smart fortwo minicar and even the SLS AMG supercar.
To add even more substance to its belief in revolutionary tech, Mercedes opened two subsidiaries for dedicated to EV batteries and their lithium ion cells development and production.
Tesla’s success seems to have sparked the interest of premium manufacturers. Mercedes is not the only car maker readying its own take on Tesla’s applauded model range. Audi is also working on its own Tesla Model X fighter, a concept of which will be showcased as early as next month, at the Frankfurt motor show. The model, titled Q6 e-tron quattro will be positioned between the current Q5 and Q7 and join the burgeoning fray of SUV coupes in the lines of BMW’s X6 best-seller with the twist of electric drive only.