Daimler AG (NASDAQ: DDAIF) is set to dethrone Tesla Motors as the top maker of electric cars. The parent company of Mercedez-Benz is reportedly planning to launch at least six EV models between 2018 and 2024. The information came from an inside source, according to Reuters.
In June, the German carmaker announced a new electric car model would be making an appearance on The Paris Motor Show next October. During a press conference in Stuttgart, Thomas Weber, Daimler’s Chief Development Officer said the vehicle’s structure was ready.
He added the team behind the car were getting initial results from road tests quickly. Now, the company could be making from six up to nine vehicles, to compete with rivals such as Audi, Volkswagen, and of course, Tesla.
The upcoming Mercedes SUV would be capable of running for 310 miles (500Km) before charging. Its direct competitor, the Tesla Model X SUV, has a 220-250 mile range, this means Daimler would take the lead on the long-range EV market.
Mercedes-Benz opens a new electric division
On August 5, Bloomberg reported Mercedes-Benz was working on two sedans and two SUVs, including the one for the Paris Motor Show. These launches would be part of the carmaker’s new electric sub-brand.
According to the report, the first EV -the Mercedes SUV- will be produced at the company’s factory in Bremen. From next year, the same plant would also be making a fuel-cell electric version of the luxury GLC SUV.
Car makers are rethinking its products after political backlash against carbon emissions
Previously, German automobile manufacturers used to avoid the electric car market. EVs still have limited driving range, and the production costs of the vehicles are very high. Tesla Motors is aware of these risks, as the company has been able to deliver its cars despite significant financial losses.
However, Mercedes and Daimler have found themselves investing more in this type of segment. Hard European regulatory emissions against diesel fumes have forced the companies to enter the EV industry, hoping to make a new profit.
The current penalty payments for excess emissions ranges from €5 for the first g/Km of CO2 exceedance, to €95 after the third violation.
Tesla’s battery upgrades have encouraged Daimler to invest in the EV market
By 2015, Daimler spent about $7.3 billion on its electric research department. Auto News expects this year’s budget will increase for the new line of vehicles, though the company has not provided any amount.
At Daimler’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Dieter Zetsche said he believed by 2020 Mercedes-Benz will be able to overtake Audi and BMW on the luxury car industry. As for the upcoming electric SUV, the vehicle would start production in 2018.