You associate former actor and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with fuel-guzzling monsters like Hummers, but now the action movie hero is endorsing an electric car.
Not a run-of-the-mill electric hatchback of course but rather a fully electric version of the massive Mercedes-Benz G-Class developed by EV-technology firm Kreisel in Schwarzenegger’s former homeland of Austria.
“This amazing off-road vehicle is a clean and fast electric car?” Schwarzenegger said after test-drives near Kitzbuehel. “A dream has become real!” Next-up will be more test drives in and out of Los Angeles – his adopted home town.
With 360kW of power and zero to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds, the electric G-Class may have the credentials to entice environmentally-conscious Californians.
To deliver that sort of performance, Kreisel has dispensed with the usual automatic transmission and instead mounted several electric motors with reduction gears directly onto the transfer case. Battery packs with an 80kWh capacity sit under the bonnet, under the seats and where the fuel tank was previously.
Kreisel says 80 per cent battery re-charge can be accomplished in 25 minutes.
And – far from being a science project – Kreisel has carefully crafted elegant new gauges to sit within the G-Class instrument binnacle and reflect its electric functionality – battery charge level, charging status etc.
Kreisel's previous conversion work has been demonstrated in EV versions of the BMW 3 Series, Porsche Panamera, Volkswage Golf, Transporter and Caddy and Skoda Yeti.
When he switched from action movies to the Governor’s office in Los Angeles, Schwarzenegger became passionate about the environment and renewable energy and in fact has driven a diesel-fuelled Mercedes-Benz G-Class for some time.