Mercedes tackles Tesla with flagship electric car

Daimler AG todya unveiled the electric “sibling” of its flagship Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan, taking the fight to market-leader Tesla Inc in the battle for market share as electric car sales take off.

The EQS is the first in a family of Mercedes-Benz cars built on a dedicated electric vehicle platform built from the ground up. It will go on sale in Europe and the United States in August, then in China in January.

Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars in the European Union almost trebled to over 1 million vehicles last year, accounting for more than 10% of overall sales.

With a range of up to 770 kilometres (478 miles) and a new display screen that will cover almost the entire dashboard – an optional feature – analysts see an effort to seize the initiative from Tesla, which had a head start over other carmakers and boasted a longer battery range and hallmark touchscreen infotainment system.

In a client note earlier this week, Deutsche Bank referred to the EQS as “Mercedes’ Tesla fighter” and said the car “will likely set the benchmark in terms of technical features, as well as design and quality,” for both traditional carmakers and newer entrants like Tesla.

At 56 inches (142 cm) the new “Hyperscreen” – which in width dwarfs Tesla’s vaunted 17-inch screen – will also feature in Mercedes-Benz’s other new electric models.

Daimler now joins rival Volkswagen AG with a dedicated electric platform. BMW will launch a dedicated platform in 2025.

Mercedes sales chief Britta Seeger said the launch of the EQS coincides with demand for electric vehicles that is growing faster than company executives once forecast.

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