Daimler AG, parent of Mercedes-Benz, Smart and other car and truck manufacturers, is considering a new all-electric brand name for the upcoming Mercedes electric vehicles.
The report comes from Handelsblatt, a German business publication well connected in the country’s auto industry.
This confirms a statement made earlier by Ola Källenius, Mercedes’ sales and marketing director in Britain, when he told Autocar the company could consider creating an eco-focused sub-brand to rival the likes of BMW’s i electric vehicle division.
“The launch of the electric car brand is planned for September in Paris, where Mercedes-Benz wants to present a SUV model which is based on the current GLC model,” the sources told Handelsblatt, and it should go on sale next year.
But the GLC electric crossover SUV is just the start. Mercedes-Benz is expected to introduce four battery electric models by 2020, all of which will have a driving range of 325 miles by European certification standards.
The German maker has never produced an electric car from scratch. Its only battery-powered cars are the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, a small crossover, and the Smart ForTwo Electric city car.
Unlike rival BMW, Daimler wants to produce electric vehicles using its existing series of models in its existing factories to keep production flexible and costs manageable.
The aim is to meet emissions standards in Europe and the U.S. in the future as well as catching up with Tesla.
The company‘s engineers believe the GLC crossover is a good starting platform because the large, heavy battery pack can be mounted in its underbody, improving the vehicle’s handling due to a low center of gravity.
Daimler’s non-executive supervisory board is expected to decide on the introduction of the electric car brand on July 20, according to the publication.
That means we’ll know before the Paris show if the new GLC EV will debut with a new name.