The all-new Tesla Model X currently has the premium electric crossover market to itself, but German media outlets are reporting it will have to fend off competition from Mercedes-Benz’s first-ever regular-production electric crossover before the end of the decade.
Tentatively dubbed ELC, the soft-roader will ride on a new platform called simply Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) that’s being developed to gradually underpin a full range of electric models. The ELC will compete in the same market segment as the recently-introduced GLC (pictured), but the two models will only share a handful of exterior parts including the roof panel and the windows.
Visually, it will stand out thanks to a much more aerodynamic silhouette than its gasoline-burning counterpart. Its front end will be more angular than the GLC’s, and it will usher in the design language that will influence all of Mercedes’ electric models in the coming years.
Taking on a company like Tesla is easier said than done. Mercedes knows that, so it will equip the ELC with a powerful electric drivetrain made up of a lithium-ion battery pack located under the passenger compartment, and an electric motor mounted over each axle. The drivetrain will send up to 536 horsepower to all four wheels in its most powerful configuration, and the ELC will allegedly be capable of driving for nearly 250 miles on a single charge. Like Tesla, Mercedes is expected to offer more affordable variants of the crossover fitted with less potent drivetrains — possibly built around a single motor — and with a shorter driving range.
The ELC will be a technological tour de force. Notably, it will come with a long list of in-car connectivity features and driving aids, and it will inaugurate Mercedes’ wireless inductive charging, a technology that will cater to the lifestyles of EV owners by making the conventional charging cord obsolete.
The Mercedes-Benz ELC will be introduced at a major auto show in 2018, meaning it could land on our shores in time for the 2019 model year. It will be considerably more affordable than the Model X, and German magazine Auto Bild reports the Euro-spec model will start at just under (roughly $54,000).
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