Mercedes-Benz plans line of electric vehicles

Mercedes-Benz is planning its own distinct line of electric vehicles, challenging BMW and Tesla Motors in a bet that alternative-fuel cars have the potential to become profitable.

Mercedes will add two electric sport utility vehicles and two sedans, according to sources and will create a new sub-brand for the cars.

CEO Dieter Zetsche said in June that the company planned to unveil an electric car at the Paris motor show in September.

Tesla’s success with the Model S sedan increased the pressure on other luxury-car makers, even as the US company struggles with missed financial goals and delays in new models.

Mercedes had previously stuck to adding batteries and electric motors to existing models, a cheaper solution than BMW’s investment in carbon fibre and futuristic design for its “i” brand.

Now their positions are reversed: BMW’s holding off on a new “i” model for another five years.

Mercedes will start selling its electric line-up before the end of the decade, one source said.

In addition to the e-cars, Mercedes parent Daimler is planning its first all-electric heavy-duty delivery truck by the start of the next decade. The company has also promised electric versions of each of the vehicles in the Smart city-car brand.

“The first of the new electric autos will be produced at the company’s factory in Bremen, Germany", a source said. From next year, the plant will also build a fuel-cell electric version of the GLC SUV.

BMW’s earnings this week showed some positive potential for electric-car sales. A new version of the i3 city car helped push deliveries of alternative-drive vehicles up 87%in the first half, the company said.


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