Over the past few years, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been on a mission to address climate change and that’s a big change for a guy who used to have a Hummer collection and who is credited to being partly responsible for the commercial version of the gas-guzzling monster.
He still likes big off-road vehicles, but now he managed to get one more aligned with his new environmentally conscious lifestyle. His new custom all-electric Mercedes G-Class doesn’t consume a drop of gas thanks to the latest conversion of Kreisel Electric.
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If you don’t remember Kreisel from our previous coverage of the company, they are a small battery startup launched by three brothers in Austria, Arnold’s home country. They have been making headlines in Europe for having retrofitted some popular European-built electric vehicles with their own battery packs and significantly increasing their range in the process.
They are now in the process of building a 800-MWh battery factory and they are rumored to be working with automakers to implement their high energy density battery pack technology in production vehicles.
Their best way to get the attention of OEMs is to go ahead and build battery-powered versions of their cars without asking and since the former Governor of California is a big fan and long-time owner of the Mercedes G-Class, he worked with Kreisel Electric to build an electric version.
He was at the Hahnenkamm race in Kitzebuehel this weekend to unveil the vehicle for the first time:
When automakers build electric cars using the chassis and body of their existing gas-powered vehicles, it usually means a ton of compromises since it wasn’t designed to be electric.
Kreisel sees its own battery pack technology as an interesting solution because its high energy density enables them to simply swap the engine and gas tank, replace them with the packs, and still achieve a good weight distribution and range.
In the case of the Mercedes G-Class, they were able to install an impressive 80 kWh pack in the car for an estimated range of 190 miles. The battery weighs 510 kg (1,100 lbs) or about the equivalent of a Tesla battery pack.
The electric motor has a 360 kW (490 PS) output on the road and reaches a maximum speed of 183 km/h (133 mph). It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.6 seconds or 3 seconds faster than its original gas-powered version.
But that’s not all that is fast. What is particularly interesting is that Kreisel claims that the vehicle can charge at 150 kW – a lot faster than most vehicles available today.
They used the same parts for refueling as for charging:
Schwarzenegger will be taking the car back to California to further test it and provide feedback. He said during the announcement:
“To me, with the electric version of this fantastic car, a dream has become true. The initial test drive was a real pleasure: The Kreisel is incredibly sporty and perfectly benefits from the advantages e-mobility has to offer. I really look forward to the following test runs and to the gradual further development in California.”
It’s not available for sale, but it’s part of Kreisel’s continuous effort tot try to establish itself as a battery supplier for the industry.
Here are a few more pictures and a video of Arnold unveiling the car: