Mercedes Developing Four 500-600-Plus Horsepower Tesla-Competitive EVs

At other times Mercedes has been an investor in Tesla, a supplier of things like switchgear, a buyer of items like powertrain system components, and now it will build its own model s.

That is, following a $2.44 billion investment for what may be a new chapter in the German company’s history, it is planning an all-wheel-drive 537-horsepower S-Class EV on a special new platform intended initially for two vehicle sizes and four body styles.

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What the actual names of these electric crossovers and other body types will be, and how this will all work out at this early stage leaves more questions than answers, but that Mercedes is following other Germans into the EV space goaded by Tesla is apparent.

This report comes from German publication Autobild, and Mercedes-Benz’s 2 billion euro commitment centers around a modular “Ecoluxe” EV platform.

Autobild reports a 16.4-foot (5 meter) long five-and seven passenger “Sports Utility Coupe” S model will have a rounded-up 537 horsepower – 402.4 horsepower rear and 134.2 front; a GT model is said to be getting 402.4 horsepower rear, 201.2 horsepower front (604 total).

The vehicles as envisioned will utilize four-wheel steering, and the platform enables a wide range of wheelbases.

M-B has already been playing with electrifying its existing vehicles, including this over half-million-dollar AMG. It has 740 electric horsepower, 738 pounds-feet of torque, and AWD makes it a monster, but unobtainably expensive. Questions remain on battery tech as Mercedes-Benz aims to develop a competitive vehicle line against that moving target which is Tesla – and others coming down the pike.

M-B has already been playing with electrifying its existing vehicles, including this over half-million-dollar AMG. It has 740 electric horsepower, 738 pounds-feet of torque. AWD with four-wheel torque vectoring make it an adroit-handling monster, but un-obtainably expensive. Questions remain on battery tech as Mercedes-Benz aims to develop a competitive vehicle line against that moving target which is Tesla – and others coming down the pike.

Weight savings is a priority to compensate for heavy electric powertrains. The battery will be under the passenger compartment, says the report.

Assuming these vehicles make it all the way to production, the first Ecoluxe-based vehicle is projected for European release by 2019 or 2020, and not long after for the U.S.

Not revealed are many specifics, including about energy storage – and these cars are being contemplated on a four-five year timeframe which may well see battery tech improve by then.

Autobild reports range of at least 279 miles, so undoubtedly the engineers at M-B know they are trying to stay current even while developing against what is only now high tech but due to improve.

Case in point: In a tweet Christmas day saying the Roadster is getting an almost 400-mile range battery, Tesla CEO Elon Musk followed up saying the Model S “obviously” will get a battery upgrade too in due time.

But again, Mercedes-Benz knows all this, and it appears the proud German luxury car maker, which has said it would not let Tesla run ahead forever may be keeping its promise, although this was not stated specifically in the report.

Tesla has however said it wants to provoke followers, and it may be getting its wish.

Last April in New York, wrath against Mercedes-Benz followed when M-B USA head Steve Cannon said Tesla is making headway largely on transitory cool factor, and its potential is limited.

“Tesla is great, but you’ve got plenty of well-established brands that mean luxury, like Porsche or Mercedes-Benz, and how long do you think we’re going to wait and let Tesla be out there alone [selling premium electric cars]?” he said. “So, good job, Tesla, but will they be able to maintain that with the others of us out in the market? That remains to be seen.”

Yes it does, doesn’t it?

Autobild via AutoGuide