Mercedes-Benz & Audi To Take Aim At Tesla With Upcoming 250-Mile Electric Cars

JAN 15 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 77

Tesla Model S Is The Target

Tesla Model S Is The Target

Audi R8 E-Tron

Audi R8 E-Tron

According to Germany’s Manager Magazin, some of the German premium automakers are now gearing up to take on Tesla.

Manager Magazin reports that both Mercedes-Benz and Audi will present Tesla fighters in the near future.

Audi’s Tesla fighters, likely to be two vehicles so that Audi can compete with both the Model S and Model X, are expected to include an “SUV-coupe” that rumor says will be called the Q8.  This SUV will debut either in late 2017 or early 2018.  Its Model S competitor is the R8 e-tron, a pure electric car that will be available in 2015 by special order.  Both the Q8 and R8 will have a minimum of 400 kilometers of electric range (NEDC).

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz is reportedly readying a Tesla challenger too.  Per Manager Magazin (via Google translate)

The German premium car maker Tesla want U.S. top dog attack with new, own electric cars. Mercedes and Porsche to models with more than 400 km battery range. Audi will present its Tesla-fighter until 2018.

Mercedes plans comparable with E or S Class electric car, says group circles. The Board has not yet decided about the project, CEO Dieter Zetsche is exaggerating but ahead vigorously.

However, the E-Mercedes can not be placed on one of the current model architectures. For this purpose, the required battery is too big, tell stakeholders. Therefore, the Tesla Fighter will probably not even come on the market before 2021.

Which translates to Mercedes-Benz is expected to develop a dedicated electric car model that will match or beat the range of the Model S, but this vehicle won’t launch until 2021.

Okay, so even if all the Tesla fighters become reality, there’s still the issue with timing.  2015 for a Model S competitor puts Audi’s challenger 3 years behind Tesla.  The Q8, a Model S fighter, will arrive 2 or 3 years after Tesla’s electric SUV.  And then there’s the electric Mercedes, which will arrive close to a decade after the Model S went on sale.

Too late to the party?  We think so.  Tesla quite likely be looking at their next generation of vehicles be the time these current generation Model S fighters arrive.

Source: Manager Magazin

Categories: Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, Tesla

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77 Comments on "Mercedes-Benz & Audi To Take Aim At Tesla With Upcoming 250-Mile Electric Cars"

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David Murray

Yep.. too late for them, especially being luxury brands. Tesla is now the cool name brand to have. Sort of like when Apple came out with the iPhone, who wanted a Blackberry anymore, even if they were the cool thing just a few months before?

Just_Chris

Interesting analogy, Blackberry made a revolutionary device that offered superior performance to anything else in the market built a huge lead and looked unstoppable. Then an established but flagging industry giant came to the party with a better looking version that was easier to use, they now own the market. I suppose it could go that way….. I’d rather Tesla is more like HTC and Audi is a bit like Samsung and M-B is like Apple.

Just_Chris

And fiat was like Nokia

Oh man. M-B like Apple? Please.

M-B did not even build their own BEV. And when they outsourced it, they forgot to spec Quick Charge.

Totally enthused that M-B will develop ten 20-mile PHEVs. But leading? No.

Bill Howland

I’m not sure here its so easy to generalize…

For instance the current Mercedes Smart 4 2 (selling in the states, after all discounts, for the amazing price of around $12,000 or at least that is what the Mercedes dealers are saying) is pretty much their own baby and doesn’t use any Tesla parts unlike the older models.

No one seems worried that a few Mercedes parts are in the S.

Funny thing, it seems universal that every manufacturer goes back to a smaller charger once they stop using Tesla. The current Smart 4 2 only has a 3000 watt charger in it which many here would consider small for a total BEV.

Jim Whitehead

Mercedes, AUDI and GM are late to the party but that is fine. Win-win. The auto market is so huge – 100 million gas cars worldwide – that it would barely dent Tesla sales. The giants provide the smooth marketing to the masses that Tesla lacks. (The average consumer still thinks electric cars are a fantasy). Musk said at the recent auto show that it is much harder to sell an electric car, because there is a lot to explain, requiring the customer to learn a lot. The auto giants will help do the education job that the mass-market Model III will need. I see a win-win. Tesla will be regarded as the Apple of cars – pricey but awesome.

I disagree. Tesla is the one like Apple: A startup that make a revolutionary product and a beautiful brand that everybody loves.

M-B is the one like Samsung.

muchski

I take offense to comparing Tesla to Apple. Tesla actually does revolutionary things whereas Apple repackages ideas and has good marketing. A lot of people don’t like Apple products too! Everyone does love Tesla though!

Gibber

“Too late to the party?” I would say embarrasingly late yes, but the whole point is they are finally showing up and that is a good thing.

Lustuccc

Unless they come up with a really revolutionnary technoly, Tesla has the lead and leave them in the dust.

And I find it quite a coincidence that GM, Nissan, Audi and MB happens to make big announcement for 2017-2018 AFTER
Tesla will roll out his Model 3.

IMO the petro-automobile cartel is trying hard to bankrupt or sabotage Tesla before 2017, so they won’t have to produce any BEV at all.

Just_Chris

“IMO the petro-automobile cartel is trying hard to bankrupt or sabotage Tesla before 2017…”

No S**T! how shocking, a competitive market place.

This is what we need Tesla, MB, Nissan, GM, BMW, BYD and everyone else fighting it out. I was more worried when Tesla was selling shares to Toyota and MB than I am now. They are all frenemies anyway as they have all worked together to co-develop cars in the past. As I understand it the model S is full of parts from MB and the B-class is probably more Tesla than MB.

The oil companies will try to sell oil and the car companies will try to sell cars this is what they do. They all try and “sabotage” each other just look at the massive civil war that has broken out in the oil industry, companies (and nations) operating at a loss in the hope that their competitor will bleed out before they do. Sometimes they work together and sometimes they fight to the death this is business.

Priusmaniac

This is business, not really, it is more then that because there is much more at stake, like the climate of the entire planet, the acidification of the oceans, the survival of many biologic species and the future of humans. Such a large consequence is not at all just business.

ffbj

There is a Zen saying: “First the man drinks the sake, then the sake drinks the man.”
I would transpose that to: “First man consumes the planet, then the planet consumes man.”

TomArt

Brilliant, and probably the most accurate and succinct summary of our species. With a little luck, we can stop just short of that, but it’s not looking likely. We humans seem to have to learn the most important lessons the hard way, after much suffering and bloodshed and posturing, etc.

Well said. But that is the business of regulators, not of executive management who report first to shareholders.

TomArt

And that attitude is exactly and unequivocally why we are in the shape we are in – responsibility is a luxury for those who don’t have to worry about profit.

LuStuccc

No what I mean is they are all against Tesla to protect ICEv business and not to have to build BEVs.

And if I remember correctly, the windows buttons, the flasher arm, shifting arm, are the only parts from MErcedes in the Model S.
Tesla built drivetrains and battery packs for MB and Toyota.

LuStuccc

F… There is a “f” missing…

Normally we just magically go back and do edits when someone mentions it, then delete that edit note so its like it never happened…but I have to say, that was pretty funny, a well-timed miss fire indeed, (=

Lustuccc

🙂

Lensman
Hmmm, I think it’s more of a case of those who write articles about EVs are trying very hard to create a case of “Let’s you and him fight.” Read the actual quotes in the article again; nobody at Mercedes-Benz or Audi is actually quoted saying the word “Tesla”. And every auto maker including Tesla knows that the actual competition for their BEVs isn’t other BEVs. Tesla isn’t trying to steal market share from the Leaf or the BMW i3, so much as it’s trying to steal market share from the 99% of new cars which are gas/diesel guzzlers. Similarly, I don’t think that most auto makers are actually all that concerned about competition from the relatively small number of cars that Tesla makes every year. But they certainly are concerned about the future of the market, and they ought to be concerned about how fast the EV revolution is progressing. If Tesla can continue to increase sales by 50% per year (and that’s a big “if” indeed), it will only take 10-12 years to have as big a market share as Ford has now. Despite all the hype, I don’t think it will matter much in the long run… Read more »
ffbj

Yep. I read the Lensman series.

The true believer has spoken.

Scott Franco

I would say that the idea the EV revolution can be stopped is pure fantasy at this point.

Lustuccc

It is if you deny the century old and all powerful petroleum cartel and their long time (willing or not) accomplices the big carmakers..

If Tesla fail, we shall have only hybrids, then ten years later..only good old planet destroyers ICE cars.

Anders

Totally agree. All the others are lite but not to late. 2020 is the date for volume and for that almost every carmaker will be there.

Who gets the largest piece ?

Sublime

2021? So they’ve scheduled the meetings that will be used to schedule the planning meetings that will eventually result in a roadmap. First concept drawings expected around the time the Model X ships.

Its like showing to a party with warm stale beer when everyone is leaving….

pjwood

Nice summary.

They aren’t leaving, but probably doing Jägerbombs at this point.

Scott Franco

In the back room….. having sex…. you know, you were young once.

Brian

How in the world do they plan on charging these cars to “take on Tesla”?

Speculawyer

Bingo!

Even if they build GREAT EVs that are as good-as or better than Tesla . . . they lack a good charging system. The Supercharger network is faster than SAE-CCS and it is built out already (to a large degree).

Stimpacker

+ 100

You can load up your vehicle with batteries and 17″ touchscreen displays but that’s only half the puzzle. To get a family guy like me to buy one, it’s got to be able to SuperCharge at easily accessible, 24/7, multiple bay stations in a short amount of time. Otherwise, my gas car stays.

Anders

Yes infrastructure is the most important issue.
Tesla is the only one so far that has made it complete.
Let’s hope the other brands understand this soon.

Three Electrics

There are already 400 standards based fast chargers in Europe, for example. Installing charging stations is easy and cheap. BMW sells a wall mounted fast charger for $6000. I think you’ll be surprised at how fast they proliferate as retail businesses like Walgreens see them as a competive advantage.

You might as well claim that only Tesla offers a network of “wifi access points” across the country. That’s how ubiquitous fast charging will soon be.

TomArt

That’s not the point – the fast chargers you are talking about are hopelessly slow for 200+ mile battery packs. Tesla’s Superchargers enables a 200+ mile BEV to be your only car, if that’s what you prefer.

Critics complain of a 20-minute charge time to gain about 150 miles of range with Tesla SCs…with these so-called “fast” chargers you are talking about, the wait would be several times that much.

Aaron

“The German premium car maker Tesla want U.S. top dog attack with new, own electric cars.”

Huh? No wonder OSU won.

Tech01x

400 km, 250 miles NEDC range = 150 miles EPA range.

I doubt any vehicle with 150 miles of EPA range could be considered taking on Tesla. That’s not enough range to be able to use the Tesla Supercharger network.

The GM Bolt is a 120-130 mile vehicle if it is built. The Leaf 2.0 is expected to be a 140-150 mile vehicle. The German makes are late and would still be far behind Tesla in 2018.

Scott Franco

The charger networks, even Teslas, is embryonic by gas station standards. I’ll be willing to bet that the number of gas stations owned by left handed, gay muslums who play golf regularly still would dwarf the number of chargers now in place.

pjwood

But you can’t gas up, at home. Even on this website, I think people forget they spend less cumulative time standing by, charging their car, than they would standing outside at a gas pump.

No more driving on gas, to go get gas, or starring at that slot machine spinning against you. I’ll take “embryonic” over that, any day.

Tesla Fan

LOL

good luck with their “fighters” LOLOLOLOLOLOL

James

Clickbait. Hardly a Tesla beater if one will only be available by special order and the other won’t be here until at least 2021. I could tell people I was developing a car and breakthrough battery, and I’m guessing you might just publish it.

“Too late to the party? We think so.”
———

I don’t want to say too late. Late? yes; but not too late. Because, as the saying goes, better late than never. They have to start with a gen1 before they can get to a gen2.

Speculawyer

Indeed. Better late than never. And I’m very excited about them jumping in. What I’m most interested in is the fact that if they realy want to compete with Tesla, they are going to have to join together and all pitch in for a massive build out of the SAE-CCS fast-charging infrastructure. Either that or license supercharger access from Tesla.

Speculawyer
I’m not surprised. The German luxury brands were completely blind-sided by Tesla. If you want a great fast sports sedan that is is expensive, why buy some stinky noisy vibrating oil-burner when you can buy a sleek quiet Tesla clean Tesla Model S for the same price? And you can go in the HOV lane! I see almost zero value in a fancy Audi, BMW, or Mercedes when compared to the Tesla Model S. And so many bonuses with the Tesla . . . fuel up home! No oil drips! No smog checks! Can grow your own fuel with PV panels on your roof! I understand why us average people are reluctant to buy a Leaf instead of a Nissan Versa . . . that Leaf is much more expensive and has a short range. But a Tesla Model S P85D compared to a fancy AUdi/BMW/Mercedes? The Tesla wins by far. No contest. One thing though with the new German cars . . . what are they going to do for charging? Tesla has a HUGE advantage with the Supercharger network: 1) It is already largely built out. 2) It charges faster than SAE-CCS. If those Germans want to build… Read more »

I don’t think so. The Tesla interior is crappy. Back seats are horrible and uncomfortable. Range is very low at high speeds (Germany). Quality is iffy. Price is way higher than better, more luxurious gas cars.

0-60 ? Yes. Anything else? not a chance.

Rick Danger

By the time ze Germans get to 250 miles range, ze Teslas will have 300-400 miles of range, and the Supercharger network will be totally built out.
DUH!
“Wha cha gonna do, when Tesla Motors runs wild on YOU?”
Couldn’t resist 🙂

FullThrottleDave

This article appears to have been written by a non-english speaker. I understand that the quotes are coming from a German Magazine probably translated by Google or somebody, but a little more editing would make it much clearer.
“CEO Dieter Zetsche is exaggerating but ahead vigorously”

What is this supposed to mean?

I appreciate this site and am just trying to help make it better….

Hey Dave, fully agree.

Indeed, the source quote is in German originally – then translated to English, which in this case has lost something in clarity.

We are pretty sure the quote is supposed to reflect that the CEO is “fully engaged and wants to press ahead right away” (as opposed to the Daimler board) but we just are not comfortable translating it(as it is a quote), just in case the connotation isn’t right.

Aaron

I do translations for other sites (typically from French or Japanese to English). You cannot copy and paste right from the translator. You MUST rewrite the entire article or it won’t make sense.

Understood on that Aaron, and that is usually what we do … for this case, we just weren’t comfortable doing it, and no one who spoke German was readily available.

Nix

It sounds like the only competition for this year is to decide between:

1) Special ordering an overpriced R8 that I can’t test drive.

2) Buy a certified pre-owned Roadster and have the announced 400 mile range upgrade installed.

I’d go #2 every day of the week. Especially if they gave it supercharger access.

Cavaron

Chevrolet Bolt and a 200 Mile Leaf 2 are a bigger thread to Tesla then anything from Mercedes or Audi. To go for high priced long range EVs now is like building battleships while all the others go for aircraft carriers.

Speculawyer

Yep. Not threat to the Model S & X but definitely a threat to the Model 3.

mark

A threat to the model 3 is a threat to Tesla’s profitability and existence. Companies thst don’t make money don’t last forever.

Tech01x

The Bolt and the Leaf 2.0 are definitely not threats to Tesla because they are likely to have less than 150 miles of EPA range.

Tesla will be able sell each and every car they make even if the Leaf and Bolt are as successful as Nissan and GM hope they are – they can only make so many because of the battery plant capacities.

Only the pure EVs with exactly 208, 265 and 285 mlle ranges are threats. Every other car is in a different category, and hence not a threat.

Every car maker sells every car they make. Never heard of unsold new cars. The question is of pricing, discounts and profitability.

PVH

“Tesla will be able sell each and every car they make even if the Leaf and Bolt are as successful as Nissan and GM hope they are” Tesla is facing some difficulties with markets they had high hopes for (Germany & China), It might be they increased their Model S production rate a little be too fast for actual markets. Next 2 quarters will tell. Even is so, IT IS OK ! Tesla has achieved a lot and put on the market a wonderful car, still Elon can’t walk on water and should be allowed some misjudgements by its fans.

MDEV

Audi R8 will be more competition for BMW i8, Tesla is in another league.

Anon

The article nicely frames the underperformance of automakers producing compelling long range BEVs. Elon spoke of doing everything to ramp up production of their EVs (especially Model III), because so few companies have any serious competing products available, in any significant numbers.

Late? I would say the rest of the automotive industry, is embarrassingly late to the party. 🙁

Someone

Well, they may be late but at least they are doing something. Competition is always good.

Lou Grinzo

As I’ve been saying for some time, the basic bet that many car companies have made goes something like: We won’t jump into EVs right now, it’s too soon — very small market, battery tech. is changing way too fast for our taste, etc. (If there’s one thing car companies are addicted to, it’s stable markets and slow change.)

So we’ll just sit over here in the corner and wait, and when The Time Is Right, we can leap into the market with our superior engineering and financial and marketing resources and blow away Tesla.

This is not just a risky plan, it’s downright stupid. I won’t detail the bad assumptions I’ve identified in this strategy; but it’s a fun exercise to try to spot them all.

Lindsay Patten

Maybe they’re waiting for Tesla’s credits to run out so they can jump in with a $7500 advantage? Or perhaps for LG Chem to come out with its new battery?

ffbj

I think a substantial downside for all the other companies now pressing ahead in the ev field is that even if successful they will still be producing ice and hybrid vehicles while Tesla can just focus on electric cars.
I think this advantage alone obviates many of the perceived advantages of the old line car companies.

Greg

+1

There is downside for Tesla too. If EV doesn’t take off, Tesla dies. Others still carry on with bruises.

Anders

EVs will take off 2020 is the date for volume.
Tesla is a bit early for the party but someone has to show the way.

Thanks Tesla very happy with my S.

Three Electrics

Tesla’s supercharger network can hardly be considered an advantage here. Supercharging stations are dirt cheap to install. If the Feds don’t put one in at every rest stop, the rest of the automakers will.

Bill Howland

Might be “cheap to install”, in the sense that most Tesla Superchargers are built on existing property that others own and pay Real Property taxes on (I wonder if they ever have to negotiate with towns agreeing that the SC station isn’t going to increase the property value/tax rate?).

They are *NOT* cheap to run, however, unless you’re talking about the West Coast with subsidized EV charging which is not the case in most places elsewhere.

So, the day to day electricity cost is either paid, or else it itself is spread across the rest of the electricity buying public. The ‘fairness’ of that is another issue, and in any event, is subject to change on a whim.

Angelo

You guys sound like a gaggle of geese! Do you realize that you are speculating over cars that haven’t been built yet? So much can happen between now and 2017, both positive and negative. No one is talking about the solid state batteries in development. Incorporate them into vehicles, you will see an exponential jump in range. This is all playing out according to our guru’s master plan. Name another car manufacturer that has opened it’s patents to the competition? The only way to sink ICE cars, is with mass produced all electric cars. Then and only then, we can chip away at global warming.

Anders

The cost of filling a EV is so low and we stop giving our dollars to terrorists. That are the most important facts.
Good for humanity climate etc is a bonus.

leafer

Traditional car companies are not inclined to spend money on infrastructure, the dealership model insulates them from this and makes it foreign to them. None of them will be as willing or as able to develop a competitive supercharger like network, and without that any fancy 60-80kwh cars they try to sell have a very limited market.

Three Electrics

Not true. For example, eVgo offers free fast charging to i3 owners. Looking at San Feancisco I see about 20 spots.

Tesla sees fast charging as proprietary lock in. Other automakers do not. Thus the cost of a single fast charging site can be shared across owners of BMW, GM, Audi, VW, Porsche, Chrysler, Daimler, etc.

Rick Danger

I can’t wait to watch them all hold hands and sing Kumbaya while those fast chargers rise like lemmings from the sea….

leafer

Evgo gives i3 owners free access because BMW pays for it, because BMW isn’t yet capable or willing to invest in a charging network as Tesla has……

leafer

Also the comparison between Chademo/CCS power level and A supercharger power level is an eye opener. Current DCFC network , chademo or CCS is limited to 42 to 50kw

superchargers are at least double and it makes a big difference with a 85kwh pack