Daimler to unveil long-distance electric car in October

Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:17pm EDT
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By Ilona Wissenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Daimler will lift the curtain on its much-anticipated long-distance electric car at the Paris Motor Show in October, as the automaker gears up to compete with Tesla Motors Inc's Model X sport-utility vehicle (SUV).

The company will display a prototype of an electric-powered Mercedes car with a 500-kilometre (310 miles) range, Chief Development Officer Thomas Weber said this week in Stuttgart at an event for journalists.

"The structure is ready, the teams are working and the initial results from road tests are coming in quick succession," he said.

Weber did not specify how soon the car would hit the road but said it would be sometime this decade.

Daimler and European rivals are stepping up investments in electric vehicles in order to meet new EU pollution targets and catch up with U.S. battery-car specialist Tesla. The German government has also announced subsidies for buyers of electric and other less polluting cars.

German competitor Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) subsidiaries Audi and Porsche have already unveiled long-distance electric prototypes, while BMW is working on one.

Weber also said Daimler would launch its fourth-generation electric Smart car at the end of the year in both two and four-seater variants.

Daimler currently offers two fully electric cars under its Smart and B-class models and a host of plug-in hybrids, powered by a combined battery and combustion engine. Further hybrid models are in the pipeline.   Continued...

Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development answers journalists questions during an exclusive interview with Reuters at a branch of Mercedes Benz in Stuttgart  in this December 18, 2013 file photo.  REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski