Mercedes has its sights on a bigger share of the electric vehicle market and its parent company, Daimler, has quietly been building its EV fleet to try and upstage Tesla Motors.
According to Business Insider, Daimler has invested $11 billion into electrifying its fleet and plans to offer an electric version of every one of its vehicles by 2022. It projects that at least 50 versions of Mercedes passenger cars will be offered either as fully-electric vehicles or as hybrids.
While Tesla is not big in sales numbers, its reputation means it will not be easy to take on. As Business Insider notes, loyalty to the brand is high and similar to the adulation that Apple Inc receives.
A lot of that has to do with admiration for Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, who is considered a genius tech disruptor committed to fostering a sustainable future.
Tesla has proven its value by upgrading electric cars in a way the world had never witnessed before. For example, they successfully started delivering over-the-air software updates to customers. Also, by selling their cars in Tesla-branded stores, they bucked against the traditional auto dealership model.
But the company has also had to deal with a lot of bad news related to their highly anticipated mass-market vehicle, the Model 3. As the Inquisitr previously reported, there have been reports that the company has manufactured less than 500 units of the much-anticipated new vehicle. And the cars that have been produced have been delivered to employees only.
One of their suppliers has also revealed that the company slashed parts orders for the Model 3 by 40 per cent.
The company has claimed that the Model 3 manufacture is plagued by production bottlenecks that are related to automation of the machines that make the vehicle. Tesla recently bought Perbix Machine Company, a firm that specialises in advanced automated manufacturing equipment. It is believed that the purchase was made as part of an overall plan to accelerate Model 3 production.
Also, according to Electrek, Tesla has a history of outselling Mercedes. Tesla sold 25,202 Model S sedans in the U.S. in 2015, giving the company a 25 per cent market share in the luxury sedan market. In 2017, the Tesla has so far outsold the Mercedes S-Class, Porsche Panamera, and BMW 6/7 Series combined in the US.
As Business Insider notes, Mercedes can beat Tesla by rebranding itself as the premier EV manufacturer. It won't be easy, given Tesla's brand recognition in the EV space. But Mercedes will want to do it quickly since China, the world's largest auto market, has announced that it will be discontinuing the use of diesel and gas powered cars.
India, another fast-growing car market, has also said it will go all-electric by 2030. But it is a country where such pronouncements need to be taken with a pinch of salt, given the huge gap between intention and implementation.