As the only premium electric sedan on sale in the United States, the Tesla Model S has been in a class of its own since its introduction. The family-friendly Model X, which is set to launch later this month, might not be so lucky, though, because a long list of established automakers are preparing to introduce electric crossovers of their own.
The latest is Mercedes-Benz, which confirmed to Car & Driver that it is working on an all-electric model that will boast a driving range of anywhere between 250 and over 300 miles. R&D board member Thomas Weber told the magazine that the still nameless EV will not be part of the smart family, that it won’t replace the B-Class Electric Drive, and that it won’t be billed as a successor to the experimental SLS Electric Drive that was shown in 2012.
That narrows it down to either an SUV or a sedan. However, Weber hinted that “sedans are not particularly well suited to storing large battery packs.” In other words, the EV will take the form of an SUV.
It won’t be essentially a greener version of an existing SUV, so don’t wait for Mercedes to develop an electric version of the iconic G-Class. Instead, it will be a stand-alone model that will not be offered with conventional gasoline- and diesel-burning engines.
Mercedes’ upcoming battery-powered model will feature a “cool and emotional” design, though precisely what it will look like is anyone’s guess. Most likely previewed by a thinly-veiled concept that will be presented at a major auto show, the battery-powered SUV will usher in the design language that will influence all of Mercedes’ subsequent electric models.
A precise time frame for when the electric Mercedes will land has not been given, but we expect to see it in the metal before the end of the decade. When it hits the market, it will have to fend off competition from the aforementioned Model X, and from the production version of the e-tron quattro concept that Audi presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show.