paris-2012-mercedes-benz-b-class-electric-drive-live-photos_8In an interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Daimler’s chief of research and development Thomas Weber confirmed the company is currently working on a next generation electric vehicle with a range of “400 to 500 km” (250 to 310 miles).

Daimler already sells a few electric vehicles, like EV versions of the Smart or the Mercedes B class, but the automaker as yet to build a fully electric vehicle from the ground up. It’s not entirely clear from Weber’s comments if the concept will be a completely new electric platform, but it sounds more likely than not…  When talking about electric vehicles during the interview, the executive reiterated Daimler’s focus on plug-in hybrids rather than pure electric, but when the interviewer brought up Tesla, which only sells pure EV, here’s what he had to say about the concept:

“We are working on an intelligent concept for a highly attractive electric vehicle with 400 to 500 km range.”

The interviewer followed up asking if it would be based on A and B Class, Weber answered:

“Perhaps But perhaps greater, because our innovative approach will naturally be used not only for a single vehicle..”

This kind of range would make the concept on par with Tesla’s current offering in term of range. Although with Daimler being based in Germany, the range is more likely to be calculated on the European Driving Cycle (NEDC) which is more generous than the traditional EPA ratings.

For example, Tesla’s Model S 85D gets 270 EPA rated miles, but 330 NEDC rated miles.

With emission standards getting more strict every year, car manufacturers are converging to new tech in order to comply to the new standards. Battery-powered is the current favorite with Nissan, GM, BMW and Tesla leading the front. But others are betting on hybrids or even fuel cells, like Toyota, Honda or Hyundai.

On the other hand, Daimler seems to be investing and every alternative fuel technology to see what sticks. Let’s hope they can join the ranks of all-electric vehicle manufacturers soon.

via: Auto Motor und Sport and Auto News

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