Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, has laid out their grand EV plans, which call for more hybrid plug-in, fuel cell, and all-electric vehicles over the next several years. With an €8 billion investment planned for the next two years and a quartet of all-electric Mercedes-Benz cars greenlit for production, you might think that Daimler would be on top of the EV world.
Not so. Though there will be new pure-electric Mercedes cars, the first two aren't expected to be shown off until the Paris Motor Show in October. Among those will be a prototype designed to compete with the Tesla Model X SUV, supposedly offering a range of up to 310 miles (500km) per charge.
Now, that is impressive, but there's just one hitch, per Reuters:
[Daimler Chief Development Officer Thomas Weber] did not specify how soon the car would hit the road but said it would be sometime this decade.
So.. sometime in the next 42 months we should expect a Mercedes-branded answer to the Model X to be on sale. That's nice.
Current battery pack options for the Model X offer a maximum range of around 304 miles (489km) per charge with the 90kWh pack. That's according to the NEDC mileage standards that Germany-based Daimler would use to measure their EVs. So right now Tesla isn't that far off from hitting 310 miles per charge — go easy on the throttle and you'll make that with ease. But the long-expected 100kWh battery pack could obliterate that, adding around 30 miles (50km) to the car's range.
Now, if we're talking about mileage by the standards of the U.S. EPA, then getting the Model X to 310 miles will take a bit more work. By the EPA's measure the Model X P90D can drive 257 miles (413km) on a charge, and a hypothetical 100D upgrade would up that to close to 290 miles (465km). That's still not quite 310 miles range, but it's close. Bumping up to a hypothetical 110kWh pack ought accomplish that.
Granted, we're talking about hypotheticals here. Mercedes-Benz is going to unveil a prototype electric car in October for a release by 2020 that gets 500km on a charge. Tesla is selling the Model X right now across the world. It might not go as far as the Benz prototype, but you can go to a Tesla Store or hop onto a web browser right now and order a Model X.
Daimler's EV plan is far short of Tesla's ambitions. Tesla wants to sell 500,000 cars a year by the end of 2018, Mercedes is shooting for 100,000 EVs annually by 2020. The two companies have collaborated in the past — Tesla provided the electric powertrain for the first generation of the Smart ForTwo EV, although current Daimler EV efforts, like the sad 87-mile-range $41,000 Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV (sure to be obliterated by the Tesla Model 3, are done in-house.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently credited Daimler's investment in Tesla as being one of the reasons that Tesla is here today… not to mention being so far ahead it's almost not funny.