Mercedes Takes on Tesla

By Kai Sherwin

Mercedes recently made a bold announcement that they would overtake Tesla as the top luxury electric car manufacturer in less than a decade. At the Paris auto show, Mercedes unveiled the first model of their EQ electric car brand. The SUV is called the Generation EQ Concept. It can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in less than 5 seconds, and can travel 310 miles on a charge. They aim to sell the car at a starting price of $39,150 – far less than Tesla’s Model X SUV, which sells for at least $74,000. The Model Y, an affordable SUV that Tesla is currently working on, does not yet have an official release date.

“The mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric,” said Dieter Zetsche, who is the head of the company. “Generation EQ is the logical fusion of all four pillars. The emission-free automobile is the future. And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive electric ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations.”

He went on to say that Mercedes wants to establish itself as the frontrunner of the luxury electric car industry by 2025. By that year, they’ll have 10 electric cars for sale, if not more. During a press event, Zetsche said that the EQ line aims to make up 15% to 25% of their global sales by 2025.

Gorden Wagener, the head of design at Daimler AG (the parent company that owns Mercedes-Benz), said, “Generation EQ is hot and cool. Its fascination lies in a reinterpretation of our design philosophy of sensual purity, the aim being to create an avant-garde, contemporary and distinctive electro-look.”

So what does this mean for Tesla? In reality, not much. Tesla knows that their competition is almost daily – Mercedes is just one more company to announce their entrance into the electric market along with Audi, Porsche, Volvo, Fisker, Chevrolet, and BMW. (Chevrolet is actually releasing an electric SUV crossover, called the Bolt, by the end of this year). Since the market is already flooded with competitors, Mercedes involvement did not affect Tesla’s shares. In fact, they rose about 5%, reaching a monthly-high. This growth is largely attributed to the announcement of Tesla’s record breaking delivery numbers for Quarter 3: 24,500 new cars. Mercedes stock is up a few percent as well. When the electric car industry becomes revolutionized by the arrival of all these newcomers, it’ll be fascinating to see which automaker comes out on top.