STOCKHOLM – Daimler's Mercedes-Benz hopes to lure Tesla customers with its EQC, the first model from its new EQ family of full-electric cars.
The EQC SUV will help Mercedes to meet increasingly stringent emissions targets in Europe and China, as well as improve its environmental image in Tesla's core U.S. market.
"Electric powertrains are a major component in the mobility of the future," Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said at the EQC's unveiling here on Tuesday. "That's why we're investing over 10 billion euros ($12 billion) in the expansion of our EQ model portfolio and more than 1 billion in global battery production in the coming years."
The EQC has its public debut at the Paris auto show on Oct. 2 and starts production in the first half of next year. It is underpinned by Daimler's new Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) platform. The automaker plans to launch at least 10 full-electric cars including Mercedes and Smart models by 2022.
The SUV has a power capacity of 80 kilowatt-hours (kWh), helping to give it a driving range of more than 400 km (249 miles). Its 2,425 kg (5,346 pounds) is almost identical to the similar-sized Mercedes GLC. The EQC can accelerate from 0 to 100 (62 mph) in 5.1 seconds. In the GLC range, only the GLC's high performance AMG version sprints faster.
Zetsche said Mercedes will begin taking EQC orders from customers early next year. The SUV's pricing will be "very competitive" versus competitor models, he said.
Zetsche expects considerably more than half of EQC customers will come from other brands. He does expect some cannibalization, with some existing Mercedes customers choosing an EQC over a combustion engine car such as the similarly-sized the GLC crossover.
Zetsche said competitor products might be superior to the EQC in certain respects, but this didn’t worry him. Instead he compared Mercedes models to decathletes, where the sum total of different characteristics combined gave him confidence in the vehicle's positioning.
"We don't necessarily need to have the longest range or the biggest battery. The overall package has to be perfect, comfort, safety etc” he said. “I am very certain that under that aspect we will have the best product on the market."
To avoid putting too much demand on the battery, the EQC's top speed is limited to 180 kph (112 mph). The battery can be recharged in as fast as 40 minutes when hooked up to a charging station with an output of 110 kW.