Mercedes-Benz Is Getting More Serious About Going After Tesla

The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA
The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA
Photo: Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t been shy about its intention to flood the world with new electric cars, but one thing still up in the air was if it wanted to put an electric compact car into production. Now, we have an answer. On Friday, the German automaker said it’s dropping nearly $600 million on a factory expansion to start producing an all-electric small compact car.

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As Reuters teed it up, it’s full proof that Mercedes is looking to make a “Tesla rivaling” electric car.

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Here’s more from Reuters:

It plans to launch more than 10 electric vehicles for Mercedes-Benz Cars by 2022 as U.S. rival Tesla struggles to ramp up production of its Tesla Model 3.

“The Smart plant in Hambach will become a part of our global compact car production network with the lead plant in Rastatt, Germany,” Mercedes-Benz production chief Markus Schaefer said in a statement on Friday.

Mercedes said last month that the S-class is going all-electric, and it debuted a concept last fall called the EQA, which has a claimed range of 248 miles, so again, this isn’t a terribly surprising move. But it underscores just how much competition Tesla’s going to face in the coming years.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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DISCUSSION

boxerfanatic
BoxerFanatic, troublesome iconoclast.

Ok... I can maybe see livery cars, or a personally-owned town car that shuttles between the McMansion and the downtown office... but outside an urban area, what is the appeal of an all-electric vehicle? Cultural bragging rights? It certainly doesn’t seem to be technical. S-class town car, or A-class compact... either way.

Range is limited. The more amenities used, the more limited the range.

Charge times, even at the fastest charging point are much slower than refueling.

Batteries are huge, heavy, potentially dangerous in an accident, and have a finite life span, and will need to be replaced, which factors into depreciation of the rest of the vehicle.

Batteries use rare resources that require extensive mining, especially in the third world, and the ecological consequences are significant.

Charging batteries requires electrical infrastructure, which thanks to the lefties that love alternatives like electric cars, absolutely deny the use of nuclear power to supply that electricity, and don’t even like hydro-electric... and even complain about other pipe-dreams like solar and wind for killing birds, and causing localized superheating, and covering square miles with windmills all over the landscape at high-cost.... so most power is still coal or natural-gas generated.

The electric usage doesn’t pay road tax to maintain the roads this car gets to essentially use for free,

Conversely, fuel taxes are one of the most economically regressive taxes there is, by hitting the people hardest who depend on it most for their living, and least likely to be able to afford a more expensive car to reap efficiency benefits,

Those same people who work for a paycheck are also highly unlikely to be able to afford an electric vehicle and charging system... not that an electric vehicle would have the runtime duration for someone who actually relies on transportation as a part of their job if they aren’t in an office all day.

Battery-based Electric Vehicles are a boondoggle, and a sidebar to the automotive industry, just as they were at the end of the 19th century. Internal combustion is the more viable solution then and now, even if now it generates electricity on-board.

Liquified Natural Gas fueled on-board parallel-series hybrid drive makes so much more sense than anything else at this point, until someone comes up with cold fusion or Tony Stark’s Arc reactor, or something to cleanly generate abundant electricity. Battery storage is a detail, not a primary factor.