Does Mercedes’ Tesla fighter put pressure on BMW?

BMW i, News | September 6th, 2015 by 10
Electric Mercedes Benz SLS AMG 750x500

Mercedes-Benz has recently announced its plans, to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, to create a Tesla fighting pure EV with a range of up …

Mercedes-Benz has recently announced its plans, to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, to create a Tesla fighting pure EV with a range of up to 311 miles. This would be further than any other EV on the market if the Stuttgart-based company could pull it off. Mercedes also claims that such a vehicle will be built on an adaptive platform, meaning the technology could be scaled up or down to create other models.¬† “. Sure, sometimes even we are working on an intelligent concept for a highly attractive electric vehicle with 400 to 500 km range (249 – 311 miles).” said Thomas Weber, Chief Development Officer at Daimler.

Mercedes-Benz SLS electric

When asked if this upcoming Tesla fighter would be based on the A or B Class, Weber said “Perhaps, but perhaps greater, because our innovative approach will naturally be used not only for a single vehicle..” So this upcoming vehicle should be built on some sort of adaptive¬†platform to be used elsewhere in the future. This seems pretty set in stone, that Mercedes-Benz will be producing some sort of pure EV luxury sedan to compete with Tesla and will have a further range. Does this put pressure on BMW to do something similar?

Fans of the Bavarian brand have been asking, and in some ways begging, for BMW to create some sort of Tesla fighter, possibly dubbed a BMW i5. While BMW seems more content on producing highly efficient plug-in hybrids at the moment, instead of pure EVs, it isn’t impossible to think that BMW to create such a car. The Bavarians have already learned much from the BMW i3 and could translate that into something bigger and more powerful with a greater range. If it were just Tesla creating full EV luxury cars, I could see BMW being content with the i3 as its only pure EV. But now that Mercedes-Benz, and even Audi, want to get involved in the EV game, it seems as if BMW must if it wants to stay competitive.

bmw i5 rendering 750x500

BMW i5 Rendering

Tesla is creating its upcoming Model X and has announced that a new Model 3 will be on the way. Mercedes-Benz is talking of creating something similar and Audi has plans to create an EV SUV, currently dubbed the e-tron Quattro Concept. So it almost seems as if BMW’s hand is being forced. Without a larger, more luxurious, EV to compete, it might lose the EV battle to its fierce competitors. BMW most certainly has the means to create such a car, and the i Division is arguably the best in the business at it, but it just depends on if BMW is serious about EVs or wants to stay with plug-in hybrids for the foreseeable future.

10 responses to “Does Mercedes’ Tesla fighter put pressure on BMW?”

  1. Its Obvious says:

    Interesting to see what Benz will do. They did own 10% of Tesla for a number of years after all. And its not their first pure electric either. I have never heard of a non compete between the two for a number of years or why Benz did the “Tesla inside” B class initially?

  2. CDspeed says:

    Yes I think the pressure is building, BMW-i the sub-brand that was supposedly “born electric” has only one fully electric model, and that can be had with an optional gas engine. Both Audi, and Mercedes have announced Tesla competitors with Mercedes having already produced a limited run of SLS Electric Drive super cars, and Audi just starting the R8 e-tron super car. And now Audi is days away from premiering the Q6 e-tron electric SUV, with Mercedes close behind. And then there’s Tesla who not only produces their amazing Model S, but its Model X crossover SUV will start deliveries this month. So where is BMW, the only thing we’ve seen in development is the Power eDrive which is yet another hybrid, and evidence of BMW fooling around with Toyota fool cells. And then there is the almost pointless plug-in hybrids, they’re great for efficiency, but far from electric, I do think they are important, but they won’t cause any response from Elon Musk. I thought BMW was leading the pack as far as the German luxury car builders go, but it sounds like they are about to be passed especially given their only hint was saying they won’t do anything until 2019 or 2020. Well I guess we can only hope for an auto show surprise….. But I think my next EV will either have a T on the grill, or four interlocking rings….

    • Michael Christopher Frazier IV says:

      the i brand, in my opinion, was always a hobby brand for the bmw group… a way to test if the die hards would shit bricks or eat the model lines up… a production concept brand. e drive is gonna hit every damn model line eventually, but as a i? tesla’s p90D is a piece of work… i love the insanity mode or whatever they’re calling it that day of a new software release. the fact that they were able to come out with such a quick vehicle, which seems to be beating the shit out of everything on the starting line, is a feat! I’m sure that every single premium segment is eyeing those motors and lower center of gravity for future gasoline replacement models.

      • CDspeed says:

        Agreed, the second I saw the eDrive badge on the X5 plug-in hybrid I got the sense that the i sub-brand will be killed off when the experiment ends. The eDrive badge will live longer, but it is nice to see them try something outside the usual BMW line-up.

  3. Chris Llana says:

    Even Honda (!) fielded an all-electric dual-motor CR-Z with AWD and 4-wheel steering at this past Pike’s Peak Hill Climb, and won its class with a really good time. They claimed they were really not there to race, but to test technology. And recently a Honda exec said they had a new BEV in the pipeline. Who would have thought?

  4. steven75 says:

    I have an i3 and will ABSOLUTELY leave the brand I love if they don’t get on this 200+ mi BEV train pronto.

    • CDspeed says:

      I love my i3 for what it is, I really enjoy it, but at the same time I have a wish list of things I would have liked. Power seats, virtual gauges, if they planned to do a four door four real doors would have been nice, a frunk instead of an un-insulated plastic bin, and a cargo floor that wasn’t raised to hold the REx I didn’t buy…..

  5. Michael Christopher Frazier IV says:

    quick answer: yes. hockey sticks included with every model, too.

  6. Matt Stokes says:

    Until Tesla start being honest about their sales numbers the answer to this question won’t be clear. BMW could launch an electric 5 series segment car fairly easily I’m sure. Question is when should they, how many people will choose all electric over highly efficient hybrid?… For sure some will but only the kind of percentage of sales that the GTs and the X4/6 get (based on the iffy numbers Tesla released), except the cost of bringing it to market and servicing/sustaining it would be a lot higher than conventional niche vehicles.

    Viability of long range electric vehicles is quite dependent on the infrastructure to support it. A car designed for short range commuting is almost by definition going to be close to a charging point, if you’re 150 miles from home you are much more vulnerable. MiniE and ActiveE programs have obviously shown BMW what people need from an EV, Tesla is showing the market what people want from an EV, I’m certainly not against an all electric car in the 3 or 5 series segment, I think it’s almost an inevitability, but I don’t think BMW need to rush one to market to counter what the other Germans are doing. I think the market is not profitable enough yet.

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