Mercedes to develop four EVs by 2020
Out of the four EVs, two are expected to be based around the C- and S-class, while the other two are likely to share links with the GLA and GLC.
Mercedes is planning to launch four new electric vehicles by the end of 2020. The plans have been orchestrated by the manufacturer's outgoing R&D boss, Thomas Weber.
The four EVs are likely to include two electric sedans and two SUVs, with each set to share basic elements with its more conventionally powered siblings, including the so-called hard-points such as roof structure and windscreen. Details of the upcoming electric-powered Mercedes models remain shrouded in secrecy. However, recent comments by Weber suggest the sedans will be based around the C-class and S-class and the SUVs will share common links with the GLA and GLC. According to insiders, the cars will receive unique design touches to make them instantly recognisable as zero emissions vehicles.
The GLA-based electric SUV is set to adopt a modified version of the MFA platform that currently underpins Mercedes’ first dedicated electric car, the B-class Electric Drive. Meanwhile, the C-class, S-class and GLC-based electric cars will use a newly developed variant of Mercedes’ MRA platform conceived specifically for EV applications, known to insiders as the MEA (Modular Electric Architecture). One of the key features of the new platform is its ability to offer either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive in combination with up to three electric motors. The first recipient of the MEA platform will be the GLC Fuel Cell which is set to launch in international markets next year.
Insiders at Mercedes’ R&D centre in Stuttgart have also confirmed that the company is developing its own line-up of electric motors, with outputs ranging from about 101.97hp to 543.84hp. A new generation of lithium-ion battery cells from Accumotive will provide the EVs a range of over 402.33km.
In addition to its own range of electric cars, Mercedes is also adding the finishing touches to the successor to sister company Smart’s Fortwo Electric Drive. Expected to make its debut this year, the new two-seater will be joined by a four-seat Forfour Electric Drive fitted with a slightly larger battery and a more powerful electric motor.