It's now being reported that Mercedes-Benz will indeed create a sub brand dedicated to electric cars, much like the BMW i division.
Unlike the BMW i vehicles, the M-B electric car sub brand will focus on long-range BEVs.
At this point, it seems as though the plug-in hybrid Mercedes-Benz vehicles will remain under the M-B brand and will not move to the new electric sub brand.
Some see this decision to create an electric car sub brand as a move to better position M-B to compete with the likes of Tesla. Indeed, M-B has already announced several vehicles that will take on Tesla directly, including an electric semi truck to battle the Tesla semi. Wolfgang Bernhard, M-B/Daimler truck chief, made this comment at the urban e-truck unveiling:
“When Tesla started coming up many years ago we decided at the time, and I believe correctly, that the technology wasn’t quite ready,Now we believe the time has come to earn money in e-mobility over the next five to 10 years.”
Additionally, M-B says that not one, but two electric, long-range SUVs will roll out in the coming years and two sedans as well.
M-B will reveal one of the long-range (310-mile) SUVs at the Paris Motor Show this September.
According to Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz has not yet decided on a finally name for its electric car sub brand, but Auto Express says Daimler has registered several new options of late, with "EQ" being the front-runner.
"However, recent trademark applications suggest that Mercedes is lining up a range of vehicles that will carry the ‘EQ’ prefix in their names - and that they’re likely to exist under a more conventional sub-brand called MEQ. The firm has asked to register everything from EQA and EQB through to EQX. It has also applied to register slogans including ‘EQ inside’, ‘EQ boost’ and ‘Generation MEQ’; these would probably be used in the firm’s marketing material for the new range of vehicles."
It further appears as though M-B will rework or discontinue any of its current electric cars that don't fit the long-range mould. These vehicles will likely phase out of production within the next few years.