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Car and Driver: Daimler’s Tesla Fighter Is Taking Shape

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Mercedes EV architecture

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At the Paris auto show this September, Mercedes-Bnez will officially introduce the electric-vehicle platform designed to underpin an upcoming crossover SUV that’s tasked with taking on Tesla—and, subsequently, will lead to an entire family of battery-electric vehicles.

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Details are scarce, but our sources hint at a crossover SUV sized about the size of the GLC-class but with an entirely different, more futuristic design. It will be fitted with electric motors both up front and in the rear, thus offering all-wheel drive. Combined power should be comfortably above 300 horsepower—perhaps well above, as people with knowledge of the project rave about its acceleration.

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Fitted with a lithium-ion battery pack, the new model is designed to travel up to 310 miles on a charge, making the vehicle suitable for more than just commuting. Fast-charging capability is part of the package.

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Components from the modular electric-vehicle architecture that underpins the new crossover SUV will be used by Daimler’s future plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-electric models as well. All except the Smart EV—it’s too compact to allow components-sharing with the Mercedes EV.

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Daimler’s crossover EV will compete with the somewhat bigger Tesla Model X, as well as Audi’s upcoming e-tron quattro crossover SUV. Look for it to come to market in early 2018.

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