Mercedes Benz said that it is currently developing an electric vehicle that will feature an electric range of up to 311 miles as a challenger to the Tesla Model S electric car.
Thomas Weber, the automobile maker's development chief, revealed the information in an interview with German magazine Auto Motor Und Sport.
According to Weber, Mercedes-Benz is developing an electric vehicle that will have a range of 400 kilometers to 500 kilometers, which is equivalent to about 228 miles to 311 miles.
Weber added that the electric car would be in the market soon, but did not say any specific timeframe for the vehicle's release.
The electric drive concept would be fitted into the flexible architecture of Mercedes Benz, which would allow the company to use the technology in several different models.
Mercedes Benz appears to be taking rival Tesla Motors more seriously, Automotive News reported, given the electric car company's success in important locations such as in California. Other long-time rivals in the automobile industry are also getting into electric car development, with Audi about to showcase the e-tron Quattro concept at the upcoming auto show in Frankfurt, which will be an electric SUV to be launched in 2018 that will compete with the upcoming Tesla Model X. BMW is also working on an i5 electric car that is based on the company's 5 series of vehicles.
However, while Mercedes Benz is continuing to make heavy investments in electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells, as seen by the fact that parent company Daimler spent about half of its $6.4 billion research and design budget last year on the development of low-emission technologies, the automobile company remains heavily committed to manufacturing plug-in hybrids.
Daimler is currently investing to establish 10 hydrogen refueling stations in accordance to its plan to release a mass-produced and competitively-priced fuel-cell vehicle in 2017, together with Nissan and Ford. However, it was announced last year that 10 new plug-ins will be ready to be released by 2017.
Mercedes Benz has previously been involved with the company it now wants to challenge, Tesla Motors, as it was a former stakeholder in the electric car company with a 9.1 percent stake back in 2009. Mercedes Benz used the batteries developed by Tesla Motors in its B-Class Electric Drive before the explosive growth of Tesla Motors, which led to the two companies going their separate ways last year.
The 311-mile range of the electric vehicle that Mercedes Benz is working on, however, may not be enough on its own to sway consumers to the brand, as a Tesla Model S P85D driver recently broke the record for the longest drive on a single charge on the electric vehicle with a distance of 452.8 miles.