2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive - First Drive, May 2014Enlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz will preview its first serious attempt at a mass-produced electric car at the 2016 Paris auto show later in the month.
The preview will come in the form of a concept which will eventually spawn a production model around 2018.
This first model, tipped to be either a Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] Model S-rivaling sedan or an SUV about the size of the GLC, will be followed in quick succession by more electric cars from Mercedes.
Citing a person familiar with the matter, Reuters on Saturday reported that Mercedes plans to roll out at least six electric cars between 2018 and 2024. German publication Automobilwoche citing its own source reported that the number could be as high as nine cars. Previously, it was thought Mercedes only had four electric cars on the drawing board: 2 sedans and 2 SUVs.
Mercedes-Benz modular platform for electric carsEnlarge Photo
Many of the cars will ride on a “skateboard” style platform where the batteries are stored in the floor and an electric motor is mounted at one or both axles. Mercedes previewed the platform during a tech briefing in June.
It’s rumored the cars will be sold under a new sub-brand and wearing “EQ” badges.
Germany’s automakers are rushing to launch new electric cars due to the improvements made to battery technology in recent years as well as more generous incentive programs, particularly in China. The Volkswagen Group wants 30 electric cars in its lineup by 2025. Many of these will be Audis, with the brand with the four rings targeting as much as 25 percent of its sales to be electric cars by that date.
We should receive more details on Mercedes’ electric car plans following the reveal of its concept at the Paris auto show. The doors open to the media on September 29. For more of our coverage on the French event, head to our dedicated hub.