Mercedes unveils its first fully electric vehicle

Mercedes-Benz EQC prototype testing in Black Forest

Mercedes-Benz EQC prototype testing in Black Forest

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled an all-electric SUV that it plans to start producing next year in Germany, the latest to challenge Tesla in the luxury electric vehicle market.

The event showcased the EQC, an SUV with a 450km range, that Mercedes hopes will find favour with luxury customers and tech-savvy millennials alike.

After Mercedes-Benz's unveiling this week of its first all-electric vehicle, automotive journalist and future Cheddar contributor Tamara Warren said the market is about to get a lot more competitive.

The company meant to invest 10 billion euros ($12 billion) on the electric-car push, but the spending has become "more than that", he said Tuesday, without specifying figures.

"While Tesla now has a strong hold on the luxury electric market, I don't think this will be the case after the arrival of the German premium offerings", said Wajih Hossenally, an automotive powertrain analyst with IHS Markit.

He said that he did not consider any of Tesla's three current models as a direct competitor to the EQC, which was Mercedes' first launch as SUVs have found favour with customers in recent years, with their growth outpacing other auto types.

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Zetsche said that the planned ten electric variants would already allow Daimler to cater to 60 percent its relevant electric cars market.

Until now the news has always been about Tesla, but it was only a matter of time before the established auto makers started getting involved.

When it came to the EQC launch, Mercedes picked the city of Stockholm for its startup scene and green credentials, then began firing off teasers on Instagram as well as Twitter. Pricing figures for the EQC have not been announced, but sales are expected to start sometime in 2020.

The launch is the centerpiece of a three-day event that features DJ sets and yoga with a YouTube star - nearly literally bending over backwards to telegraph 21st-century kudos. It also plans to begin taking reservations backed by refundable $1,000 deposits.

Until recently, the California-based Tesla, which is struggling to meet production targets and burning through cash, had little competition. At the launch, it will compete directly with the Tesla Model X apart from the Taycan, I-Pace and e-tron.

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