After the unveiling of the new battery electric sub brand “EQ” at the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche said that it would be the leading seller of electric vehicles in nine years.
When asked if Tesla is the EQ’s main competitor, Zetsche gave as affirmative reply.
“At that point in time, obviously yes. We had set for ourselves a target five years ago… to become the number one car premium manufacturer,” he said. “That was supposed to be reached in 2020, [but] it seems that we are awful close already.
“So we can set a new target to ourselves and that is equally to be the leader in electric premium vehicles as well — latest by 2025. This includes not just our current competitors, but new entries as well, including Tesla,” he said.
The German luxury carmaker plans to have 10 electric cars by 2025.
The first will be the Generation EQ Concept electric crossover SUV displayed in Paris and scheduled for production in 2019.
Mercedes said the SUV would have two electric motors, and a 70-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that is good for more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) of zero emissions driving range that could be charged in just five minutes.
It’s likely the stated driving distance is rated by the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which is quite generous compared to the U.S. EPA rating system, though Zetsche did imply this was a real world estimate.
“We have big plans that will require a lot of batteries,” Zetsche also said.
Those batteries will be produced by Accumotive, a division of Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler.
To beat Tesla, Mercedes-Benz will need to offer a similar network of free charging by either building its own network or pairing with existing charging providers.
Tesla isn’t the only car company Mercedes will have to fend off to reach its 2025 goal.
Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volvo are all planning battery-powered vehicles with a range of 200 miles or more by 2020.
For Mercedes, 2025 can’t come soon enough.