Mercedes is kicking its EV development into high gear as it wants to launch four zero-emissions models by the end of 2020.
While there’s still no word about the BMW i-rivaling eco sub-brand, Mercedes is gearing up for a series of electric cars now that the German government has approved a €4,000 incentive for the purchase of EVs. Besides the already known next-gen B-Class Electric Drive (due late 2016) and the GLC F-CELL (due 2017), Mercedes wants to come out with two purely electric sedans and two SUVs by the end of 2020.
These cars will share some of the bits and pieces with conventionally-powered cars, including the roof structure and the windscreen. Company insiders cited by Autocar are saying Mercedes’ designers are making efforts to differentiate the EVs from the regular vehicles equipped with combustion engines.
Outgoing R&D boss, Thomas Weber, hinted recently the new sedan EVs could be based on the C-Class and S-Class models, whereas the SUVs will be derived from the GLA and GLC. It is believed the EVs based on the C, GLC, and S are going to ride on an evolution of the Modular Rear Architecture (MRA) called Modular Electric Architecture (MEA) tailored to electric cars. As for the GLA-based EV, that one is expected to have a lot in common with the aforementioned next-generation B-Class Electric Drive.
The rumor mill indicates Mercedes is developing its own array of electric motors that will vary in power from around 101 hp (75 kW) to a mighty 536 hp (400 kW). Accumotive will be in charge of providing a new family of lithium-ion battery packs that will have enough juice to last in excess of 250 miles (402 km).
Besides the Mercedes-Benz-branded EVs, Daimler is also cooking up a couple of electric Smarts, starting with the new ForTwo Electric Drive due later this year. It will be joined several months later by the ForFour Electric Drive which will have a beefier electric motor and a larger battery pack to match the bigger size and increased weight.
Mercedes will likely make the electric vehicles with the three-pointed star badge at its factories in Sindelfingen, Rastatt, and Bremen on dedicated assembly lines. As for the Hamburg factory, that’s the place where many of the EV-related components will be made to supply the other three factories, according to the same report.
The decision to increase focus on electrified cars does not come as a surprise taking into account Tesla Motors is on a roll and Audi is also preparing the Q6 all-electric SUV for a 2018 launch.
Note: Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA pictured.