Mercedes to take on BMW's i with new electric car sub brand

August 8, 2016

In order to better compete with brands like Tesla, Porsche and BMW's i division, Mercedes-Benz dealers will soon have a dedicated electric car brand to offer consumers.

Mercedes may unveil a new electric car at the Paris Motor Show this fall. The automaker could use that venue to take the wraps off of an entirely new subbrand, which would make four consumer-oriented car divisions—which currently include its Mercedes-Benz flagship, the AMG performance group, and Smart.

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A report published by Bloomberg indicates that Mercedes will fill its subbrand's lineup with two sedans and two crossovers or SUVs, including a crossover that will debut as a thinly veiled concept car at the Paris show this year. That concept's headline will be a 500 kilometer (or about 310 mile) all-electric range. 

That plan stands in marked contrast to arch-rival BMW's take on electrification. BMW launched its i brand with the quirky i3 urban runabout and the i8 electrified supercar. Instead, Mercedes looks more poised to take on Tesla's lineup of two sedans and a crossover. 

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The automaker is said to be planning to devote an entire assembly plant in Bremen, Germany, to building its electric car lineup of the future. Currently, Mercedes builds some of its lower-volume cars in the northern Germany plant, but the facility is one of its most advanced and could be adapted to deal with electric motors and lithium-ion batteries instead of internal combustion engines. 

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