Daimler to unveil long-distance electric car in October

An employee mounts a Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz emblem to the back of the new A-Class Mercedes-Benz passenger car at the Mercedes-Benz factory Photograph:( Reuters )

Frankfurt Jun 11, 2016, 06.32 AM (IST)
Germany's Daimler will lift the curtain on its much-awaited long-distance electric car at the Paris Motor Show in October as the automaker gears up to compete with Tesla Motors' Model X SUV.

The company will display a prototype of an electric-powered Mercedes car with a 500-kilometre range, said chief development officer Thomas Weber.

"The structure is ready, the teams are working and the initial results from road tests are coming in quick succession," he said.

Weber did not specify how soon the car would hit the road, but said it would be sometime this decade. Weber also said Daimler would launch its fourth-generation electric Smart car at the end of the year in both two and four-seater variants.

Daimler and other European rivals are stepping up investments in electric vehicles in order to meet new EU pollution targets and catch up with US battery-car specialist Tesla. The German government has also announced subsidies for buyers of electric and other less polluting cars.

German competitors Audi and Porsche have already unveiled long-distance electric prototypes and BMW is also working on one.

Daimler currently offers two fully electric cars under its Smart and B-class models and a host of plug-in hybrids powered by a combined battery and combustion engine. Further hybrid models are in the pipeline.

The company is aiming to sell more than 100,000 electric cars a year by the end of the decade, Weber said.

Daimler has also been working on fuel cell powered cars which run on electricity generated by hydrogen. It initially planned to launch such a vehicle in 2014, but had to postpone, due to pricing issues.

The fuel cell operated SUV GLC, likely to compete with Toyota's Mirai, is now expected to enter production next year.