Kez Casey | Jan 1, 2016

Mercedes-Benz is preparing to go into battle against electric-vehicle juggernaut, Tesla, with four electric vehicles in advanced planning with the first to appear as early as 2018.

The four new electric vehicles will be positioned around the existing range of Mercedes-Benz vehicles with a range comprising a medium sedan and SUV to slot in between the C-Class and E-Class and GLC and GLE ranges, with a larger sedan and SUV to sit at the top of the range to follow later.

According to the UK’s Car Magazine, the new range will appear under the Ecoluxe banner. The new EVs will go into battle against Telsa’s Model S and Model X and the forthcoming Model 3, a well as facing off against the coming Porsche Mission E sedan and Audi Q6 SUV.

The pressure is on: Porsche's Mission E has sped up Mercedes-Benz' response
The pressure is on: Porsche's Mission E has sped up Mercedes-Benz' response

It’s the fast-paced arrival of competitors that has stirred Mercedes-Benz into action. Initially set to be built on a unique platform and assembled at a dedicated production facility, the Ecoluxe range will run on an platform called EVA which will borrow components from the existing modular MRA platform.

Without the luxury of time to build a new production facility, the existing Bremen factory which already builds the SL, SLC, and C-Class, will be used for the first new models.

Leading the range, a four-door sedan that borrows its styling from last year’s Concept IAA sedan will be the first Ecoluxe vehicle to appear. Unlike the concept though, the shape-shifting body will likely be toned down for production.

Future-forecast: The Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA
Future-forecast: The Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA

Overall length is estimated to be around 4700mm, making it slightly longer than a C-Class sedan, but with a 2700mm wheelbase - a considerable 140mm less than the C.

Power will be provided by a battery array laid out flat beneath the vehicle’s floor, ensuring a low centre of gravity and minimal interior intrusions. A choice of a single 300kW motor driving the rear wheels, or additional dual motor with an extra 90-150kW sent to the front wheels is on the cards.

The market for the new range is set at around 20,000 vehicles per year for each variant with pricing set to start from £70,000 (AU$142,000) pricing the Ecoluxe sedan will above the starting point for base versions of the E-Class sedan. High specification and a focus on technology is expected to offset the positioning, helped by green vehicle incentives in some markets.

MORE: Mercedes-Benz | Electric Vehicles | Green Cars

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