By on January 3, 2016

Mercedes-Benz "Concept IAA"

While none of them will look anything like this, Car reports that Mercedes-Benz has a pretty firm plan in place to compete against EV makers and German rivals before the end of the decade.

The magazine reports that Mercedes plans to have a sedan on sale by 2018, followed shortly by a crossover to compete directly against Tesla before the end of the decade. Car also reported that Mercedes will add another crossover and an electric S-Class shortly thereafter.

The first car will reportedly be sized between its C- and E-Class, but it’s price tag sure won’t be.

According to Car, the electrified MB sedan could start around $100,000, with its crossover and luxury models soaring well north of that by the end of the decade.

That would be in line with other automakers such as Porsche and Audi, who have announced they’ll both offer electric sedans and crossovers before the end of the decade.

Considering we see more white tigers in the wild than Mercedes’ other, other electric vehicle — its B-Class — it stands to reason that the automaker has more of a future in luxury EVs than it does in “everyday” electric cars.

But considering Tesla’s viability seems to be hinging on whether it can produce an affordable electric car by the end of this year, it seems odd that Mercedes would be choosing to start at the top — and then go higher.

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30 Comments on “Mercedes Plans Fleet of EVs to Compete With Tesla, Others...”


  • avatar

    If I trust any company to build a highly sophisticated EV that’s good for 2 – 4 year leases…it’s Mercedes Benz.

    My absolute biggest gripe with the P90DL is that for $140,200, all you get is a lightning fast car with AWD and a painfully uncomfortable interior.

    The interior shots of the E-class are online. It’s basically the most beautiful interior currently on the market – just like the W222 and W205 before it.

    Tesla’s Model S P90DL interior – as well as the Model X P90DL interior look “spartan” to the point of being cheap. Even if they’d sourced Cadillac’s XTS/ CTS seats they’d have had a winner.

    After the VW scandal, all of Europe is going to turn their attention to EV. Mercedes, BMW and Audi have brand names that carry far more badge equity than Tesla. Even if the environmntaliberals have their way and marginalize fossil fuel burning ICE cars within the next 25 years – I don’t see Tesla being able to compete with the size of the GERMAN-3.

    at the very least, if they survive without being consumed by another maker, they’ll be like a “Maserati”. An option to the German-3 “me too” cars.

    I recommend Tesla builds a longer wheel base car with a better interior to compete with the Mercedes S-class. More length = more batteries = more range.

    I have no idea why these stupid companies keep trying to squeeze everything into smaller packages. The Fiat EV, the Smart EV, the Volt… all of these pathetic small cars would do so much better in America IF THEY WERE BIGGER.

    And that’s the reason the Model S did so much better than the Fisker Karma in the first place.

    Most of you never drove the Karma. It was so ridiculously tight and cramped. If I’d designed that car we’d have been a sales leader in EV. It’s interior actually justified its price in ways the Model S never could. It was like a Jaguar/Aston Martin inside.

    BUT TOO DAMNNNED SMALL.

    I could have doubled (maybe even tripled) ELR sales if it was a 4-door sedan – all things being equal – to the CTS.

    These people do not understand the American market.

    Sitting back and watching them fail over and over – wasting resources – is maddening.

    Mercedes Benz could release a full-EV C-class right now for less than $75,000 – with a 200 mile range – all other things being equal – and have a better car overall than Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      I agree with your overall point and it’s something I’ve said on this site many times. When the big 3 German marques (4 if you want to count Porsche) jump into EVs for real, they’re going to eat Tesla’s lunch. Partially, as you say, because of size, but largely just because their products over the past 15 years or so have become so much more premium in feel and fit and finish in ways that a company like Tesla can’t hope to touch. Add to this the fact that these companies have R&D departments and spending to develop entire product lines simultaneously while Tesla can only realistically develop 1-2 models at a time, and Tesla will be eaten alive.

      In the meantime I suspect they’re perfectly happy to let Tesla continue selling EVs at a loss, meanwhile beta testing technology and establishing a rep for EVs as a bona fide option for luxury cars.

      • 0 avatar
        akatsuki

        Tesla can’t match the interiors because they are selling $30.000 full size cars with $60,000 in batteries. And when you look at the pricing in the article MB isn’t doing that. They will sell you a 60k car with those 60k in batteries instead. I am pretty sure Tesla could get to a better interior quality if they really pushed for it. But not at the price they are charging.

    • 0 avatar
      andrewa

      As I KNOW for a fact that Mercedes Benz is absolutely and comprehensively incapable (on an s class!) of making something as complicated as a reliably working electrical window winder I would be very very scared of driving through a dodgy area in a Mercedes Benz electrical vehicle!

    • 0 avatar
      healthy skeptic

      The general consensus is that Tesla lags behind the big German 3 in interior quality…but how hard can this be to make up? At least Tesla got the big stuff right.

      Is it really going to cost them $30k/car to improve the interior? Of course not. For Tesla, better interiors are probably a logical next step, and far easier than what they’ve done to date.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> The general consensus is that Tesla lags behind the big German 3 in interior quality

        The Germans lag Tesla in having a worldwide 24hr charging network. That involves real estate, construction permits, negotiations etc. As an EV owner, that’s a much bigger concern than interior quality to me.

  • avatar
    callmeishmael

    If Mercedes buyers want to do something for the ecosystem they should keep their current cars on the road for as long as possible. A 2004 study by Toyota revealed that manufacturing and shipping account for roughly 28% of a car’s lifetime carbon footprint. Who am I trying to kid? If E-Benz’s become a thing then people will buy them and feel good about themselves for saving the planet.

    Should that latter come to pass it will be fun watching the Deutschcar uber Alles fanbois explain why German electric cars are so much better than those of anyone else even though they’re using the same batteries and motors.

    • 0 avatar

      Our mindless consumerism, credit inflation and “culture” has created the “disposable car”.

      Cars carry a 6 year finance – but only have a 3 year warranty period as standard. If that warranty period WAS STRETCHED TO 6 YEARS people wouldn’t be so anxious to get rid of cars.

      I’m looking at the odometer on my 300SRT 2012 (and my JGCSRT). I have fewer than 30,000 miles on either. My warranty ends this June. I’d rather trade it in for a HELLCAT 300 as soon as possible, but they don’t have it available yet. Thing is, my car runs perfectly and I’d only be trading up due to psychological obsolescence.

      That’s why people lease these cars. They don’t want to get stuck with repair bills and they want “what’s new”. Not to mention getting stuck with the massive depreciation costs.

      • 0 avatar
        callmeishmael

        I’m the holdout. My NB Miata daily driver had over 264,000 miles on it the last time I looked. Every year I shop new cars, heaven knows my wife would love to see me in something that doesn’t look like a past LeMons competitor, and every year I fail to find any car that would do anything so much better that it would justify the price/depreciation.

      • 0 avatar
        JD23

        “That’s why people lease these cars. They don’t want to get stuck with repair bills and they want “what’s new”. Not to mention getting stuck with the massive depreciation costs.”

        How does leasing enable the avoidance of depreciation costs? A succession of three year leases means that you will constantly be paying for the first three years of depreciation, which is the steepest portion of the depreciation curve.

    • 0 avatar
      Counterpoint

      That’s silly. When someone buys an electric car and trades in their old car the old car is sold as used, not junked. So the old car stays on the road, just with a different owner. Until it’s no longer economically viable to repair. Good luck trying to guilt car owners into spending $3000 to replace a transmission on a car worth $2000.

      • 0 avatar
        callmeishmael

        I have no idea what you’re talking about. Buying an EV doesn’t make you clean and green. Period. I further wrote that none of the new cars I’ve driven would enhance my driving experience sufficiently to justify their cost. If you’re feeling guilty about something you should work on that.

        • 0 avatar
          Counterpoint

          You’re missing the point. Trying to keep existing cars on the road for longer isn’t practical and does nothing for the ecosystem. Whereas electric cars (usually) deliver real benefits in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the complete life of the vehicle.

  • avatar

    Early reports I’ve seen indicate that these cars will have a CD player as standard equipment. A winning plan, for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      callmeishmael

      Yes, but the CD player will be gyro-stabilized with active shock dampening derived from the system used to stabilize the main gun in the Leopard 2 tank. It will provide near-perfect sound quality under any road conditions and only cost $5000 to replace.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Nobody cares about “competing” against Tesla, a company that loses money and lacks the funds for adequate R&D.

    What Mercedes wants are “supercredits” that count toward EU fuel economy requirements: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/vehicles/cars/index_en.htm ). Selling EVs allows Daimler to sell more gas guzzlers.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Without supercharging networks. No ev is going to ever be tesla. Supercharging is teslas real innovation. If the giga factory is succesful, they will all be buying from tesla as well.

    • 0 avatar

      All it will take is businesses, malls, gas stations, etc to decide to install their own charging stations. They afterall want people stopping in for snacks and other shopping – which is how they make their revenue.

      If there was at least one charger at every single major building, range anxiety would disappear for good.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      If Mercedes or Porsche tell their dealers they need to install fast charging bays to build a network, it will get done faster than you imagine. These companies have enough established dealership footprint to largely build charging infrastructure around them. And unlike something like the Leaf charging at Nissan dealers, luxury dealers actually understand how they need to treat customers.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        They could do it but dealership locations won’t be enough, Tesla has a huge headstart on them. Also they will need to develop a plan to charge at 150 kilowatts plus, which is around the bare minimum acceptable charging speed for stop in charging. I actually think BMW is the only luxury brand serious about EVs at this point, so it will be interesting to see if the others ever get beyond the drawing board.

        2016 USA supercharger network will have 585 chargers and it will just keep growing.

        https://www.google.com/search?q=2016+supercharge+network&oq=2016+supercharge+network&aqs=chrome..69i57.7861j0j4&client=tablet-android-polaroid&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=cNir1XYNZNnI2M%3A

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Dealership charging doesn’t work. Ron Bouchard Nissan in Lancaster MA decided to restrict their level 3 charger to individuals that have bought cars at their dealership. Kelly Nissan in Woburn MA likes to park used cars for sale in their charging spots. Commonwealth Nissan in Lawrence MA charges $6 for a level 3 charge. Some dealers restrict charging to dealership hours.

        The problem is that you pretty much never need a local dealer to charge at. It’s almost always someplace unfamiliar. Having a network along major highways that’s open 24 hrs a day is the ideal situation. No mystery as to what you might be facing.

        For me, 200+ mile range is going to pretty much eliminate any need for public charging. My longest trip, Boston to Vermont, can be easily made with the next generation of EV. But, I would like to have a viable network available if I wanted to go further. Any car depending on a dealership charging network will be ruled out – regardless of how pretty its interior is.

  • avatar

    Yeah, we desperately need German engineered electric cars. It will certainly solve all their quality and reliability problems. I have high confidence that they will come up with simple, elegant and effective engineering solutions which will put Tesla into shame.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    BAH! We’ll have to go back to burning coal to produce the electricity to charge all those EVs. Wind and solar can’t even keep up with current usage.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Further education on this subject:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/wind-solar-power-soar-in-spite-of-bargain-prices-for-fossil-fuels/2015/12/30/754758b8-af19-11e5-9ab0-884d1cc4b33e_story.html

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Thanks for the link, I’ll believe it more when its in multiple trusted sources.

        FWIW I think solar has a bright future as a decentralized power solution. Panel cost and installation are what holds it back. When it gets to the point you can buy installation brackets and single 1000 watt panels for under $500/apiece it will really take off, IMO. Currently a kit of four runs $2,500 (and uses 72 sqft of roof space).

        http://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-Solar-1-060-Watt-Expandable-Poly-Crystalline-PV-Grid-Tied-Solar-Power-Kit-GS-1060-KIT/205495634

        Wind is too centralized of a solution and requires acres and acres of dedicated real estate (not to mention the birds it kills). Solar panels could just be plugged into existing infrastructure.

        Solar ROI needs to improve before most people take it seriously. Using this 2014 power bill from my apt I have handy, I used 108kWH for a then charge of 19.83 (all charges went up 7.00/mo in fees in 2015 when the state sold us out to the utility companies). Per HD, those four panels could generate between 750 kWh and 1,800 kWh per year. Let’s take 1,000 kWh/year for the sake of math plus the fact its very cloudy here, round down 108 to 100 for the apt. and round up 2014 cost to $20.00/100kWh. So those panels make me roughly $200 of electricity per year, and pay for themselves in 12.5 years. If we use a more current figure (say $30 for the same 100/kWh) it becomes 8.3 years for a payoff. I’d love to know the wholesale costs on one of those solar kits.

        Regarding windmills, the fuzzy math used here demonstrates a windmill being profitable after six years, however it takes $100K from its $279K price in “incentives” right off of the bat. It also fails to take into account land cost (if any), property taxes (if any), and windmill maint costs.

        http://www.getsmartenergy.com/economics/rio-calculator.aspx

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Issue with solar is it doesn’t generate all the time. It is very finicky and supplementary. But nuclear can handle base load.

          There are alternative purchasing plans that get away from simple payback. For example you can do a PPA where they install equipment on your property and you buy power from them. In states with high utility costs you can often buy power from those little plants at lower rates than regular distributed power. Only downside to that is you have to commit for a long time.

          There are also little solar farms that sell to regions with enough commitment. Many ways to skin the cat. But solar can’t replace generation until they deal with the storage issue. And there is the efficency thing and just the simple amount of available energy from the sun, which I think is about 14W/sqft. That drops down to ~3W/sqft from the most efficient panels. Lot of moving pieces and open ends

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Let me see if I understand the comments.
    Pro-Tesla: crappy interiors, but they have the supercharging network that the Germans don’t have.

    Pro-German: stronger brands, nicer interiors, but no charging networks.

    What no one has mentioned 1) not a single electric car currently being produced is profitable, even though they are heavily subsidized, and I don’t think the profit problem is due to brand or interior related issues. 2) The supercharging networks are also not profitable, even though they are heavily subsidized, and it is unclear to me why anyone will want to build thousands more without a clear path to profitability.


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