Say hello to the new face of Mercedes-AMG.
The sound of popping champagne bottles may be a commonly heard noise over at Tesla's Palo Alto headquarters this week as the American automaker has just crossed two milestones: delivering a record 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2017, and getting caught in the subsequent flood of investor cash that caused Tesla's stock to jump past Ford's $44.89 billion valuation with a $47.46 billion vote of confidence. However, all other automakers are working to ensure that Tesla's glory days are numbered.
As a recent report from Automobile Magazine suggests, Mercedes is hard on Tesla's tail. The hardware Tesla uses to make its miraculous cars has been around for a while and able to be fully exploited by competing automakers, but until recently, not many manufacturers have gone in that direction. Now, one by one, automakers around the globe have announced Tesla fighters in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. The threat Automobile Magazine is referring to comes from Mercedes' in-house tuning division AMG. It appears that AMG is following through on its promise to mix electric car business with the pleasure usually associated with driving an AMG by bringing four electric cars to market.
Two sedans and two crossovers will make up this aggressive push against Tesla and each will arrive between 2020 and 2022. The hardware and underpinnings for these cars will be brought over from Mercedes' recently founded electric car sub brand EQ and will feature the latest in battery technology. That means we can expect a range of about 300 miles coming from a 105 kWh battery that powers three electric motors, one up front and two at the rear. Charging times shouldn't be much of an issue given that Mercedes, along with a collection of other colluding automakers, is gearing its electric vehicles to be compatible with a standardized 400-volt charging network.
The numbers Tesla Ludicrous Mode fans may want to pay attention to are horsepower figures, which are expected to reside around 612 ponies. That drivetrain bundle is slated to be called the AMG EQ-E. Typical of Mercedes (and something to worry about for Tesla), is the fact that refinement will be of paramount importance, with part of the EQ division's $11 billion investment going towards enhancing performance, extending range, improving efficiency, reducing battery wear, and ensuring AMG and EQ can replicate these results across the board. To help with track days, a must for most of AMG's lineup, Mercedes will add rear-wheel steering and its signature Airmatic suspension for cornering control.
On top of the handful of EV AMG models, Mercedes-AMG has been sure to mention that it's working on performance plug-in hybrid vehicles that will use electric rear-wheel drive setups to improve handling performance. The automaker is planning on integrating the motor into the transmission housing in some applications or use an electric-rear drive unit that will aid under full acceleration or take over propulsion duties when entering zero-emission zones. We knew this day would be coming soon, it's just more alarming when you can count the years left until the EV invasion on a single hand.