Cars Mercedes-elecric-shape-shifter-2

Published on January 9th, 2016 | by James Ayre

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Mercedes Changes Plans: 4 Electric Cars In Next Few Years, Rather Than 1 By 2018

January 9th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Mercedes-Benz is now aiming to bring 4 electric vehicles to market over just the next few years, rather than simply one, according to recent reports.

The reason for the speeding up of plans is apparently that competitors such as BMW and Audi (not to mention the rising competitor Tesla) have been making strong moves as of late — meaning that Mercedes needs to speed things up on the electric vehicles front or possibly get left behind.

Note that the company was previously expected to introduce a single new battery electric vehicle in 2018.

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Mercedes-elecric-shape-shifter-2


 

Our sister site Gas 2 provides some more info:

According to CAR, the EVA chassis is not entirely new. It adopts elements of the modular rear-drive MRA architecture, such as the electronics platform, the suspension, and the basic body structure. Mercedes says it will begin with a sedan that fits between the C Class and E Class cars of today. It will be followed closely by a crossover SUV that should fit in between the current GLC and GLE in size. Later, a larger electric car similar in size to the S Class is planned, as well an SUV that is larger than the current GLS. At one time, Mercedes had planned to build a new “green” factory for its electric cars, but has decided to manufacture all its battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars at its facility in Bremen in northern Germany.

What will the new cars look like? Mercedes chief designer Gordon Wagener, tells Automotive News, “We have a strong strategy, and if you look at last year’s concept cars, they can give you some indication of where we are going. A full electric would definitely have an expression of its own. We will keep the grille, although I can’t tell you yet in which form.” He says the IAA concept it had on display at the Frankfurt auto show offers important clues. “Our Frankfurt concept was inspired by the airflow and streamlined spirit of the 1930s. We wanted to show that an aero car can look beautiful. The aero effect, with the long tail end, brings significant advantages at highway speeds and this is important in an electric.”

Reportedly, the company is aiming to sell at least 20,000 units of each model. Pricing will be in the ~$100,000 range.

 
 
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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Bruce Wayne

    I hope Mercedes will speed up and that they can deliver EV’s is the C- and E-class sice cars both as estate’s and sedan’s. Most important is that they are able to renew the chassis components to aluminium/carbon for leight weight. The world will switch to EV’s much faster than most poople think, because the technonogy is already superior. More and more poople realice, at least those who owns an EV. So I hope for some really nice and environmently friendly cars from the quality brand Mercedes not so far from now.

  • eveee

    Keep the grille? A fake remnant of an ICE car? Leave it to stodgy MB. Oh well. Glad they at least stepped up their game and realized the future is EVs. IMO, you will know the transition is complete when Toyota comes on board.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Stylized. Makes sense. Mercedes has a strong and valuable ‘image’.

      • eveee

        My wish? Keep the three point circle. But don’t make it a hood ornament that sticks up. The badge is what really identifies them. The reason MB wants to keep the grille is the same reason Tesla has a black front fascia on the Model S. They don’t want to disturb buyers or sales that are used to them on an ICE. The car looks the same as any other car. Tesla went further on the Model X, daring to look more like an EV. Less black on the front.

  • Steve N

    Game on. We are now looking at GM, Nissan, BMW, maybe Audi and Mercedes having cars at dealerships. If you look at the number one marketing problem for EVs, it is nobody has driven one.
    I know everyone here is excited about looks and range. These are part of the equation not the whole equation. The big picture I gather from this type of forum is “I will never go back to ICE”.
    Marketing and advertising for EVs will now start in earnest. Much sooner then anyone in the car industry expected.
    5 years from now will be very, very interesting.

  • James

    It is all good. Keep the PEVs coming.

  • Freddy D

    I’m curious how Teslas fare in Germany. With a big Benz or bmw or similar, one can really put the hammer down on the freeway and the fact that range craters at 200kph doesn’t matter because refueling is quick. Tesla, however, will fall far short of its normal range. Having said that, Mercedes sells everywhere and freeway speeds are much closer to 70mph (or less) in most of the world so not an issue.

    Have to agree on pricing comments that they won’t want to charge more than an E class or they won’t sell many.

    Finally, the real magic happens when people get behind the wheel and experience that EV driving sensation. Daimler has perfected as much as Honda or a couple others the ICE and gearbox, and the EV driving sensation is way better still, like a jet aircraft without the noise. I now realize that lots of cars have lots of power but drivers rarely use it because when you do it makes a lot of noise for both passengers and for surrounding drivers and people don’t want to look like a jerk yelling and screaming. EV doesn’t do that so the driver feels comfortable using that power. Just a thought on the aesthetics of the EV driving experience.

    • Bob_Wallace

      How does Tesla fare in terms of sales?

      • eveee

        No wonder MB is responding. If they don’t, its lights out.

      • Cocky_Clock

        I suggest you compare the Tesla sales to the Mercedes E-Class, the Audi A7 or BMW 5-er. The S-Class is in another league luxury-wise.

        • neroden

          It’s in the same league in terms of sticker price, though. (Model S is actually between the E-Class and the S-Class in price.)

    • Matt

      Unless the Germany autobahn has gotten a lot less crowded in the last 10-15 years, on most of it you can NOT go over 120kph anyway. And even on those place you can, people don’t spend much of their drive time doing that anyway. The bigger issue for “TESLA in Germany” is that most cars in Germany are made there.

      • Alaa

        I agree with you Matt. I also see this in France and Italy. The UK is the one that doesn’t make good cars like the German and the French. So I am hoping that Tesla will do well in the UK. The trouble with the UK is that they drive on the wrong side of the road and thus have to wait until Tesla makes cars for them and others like Japan HK and Australia. All of these countries do not add up to compare with the rest of the world. So priority is for the rest of the world.

        • JonathanMaddox

          Tesla has no difficulty producing right-hand-drive cars for its customers in the UK, Japan, Indonesia and Australia. It doesn’t yet have a big presence in the other major left-side-of-the-road countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Africa, but it does have plants to market in all of those countries.

          Also, what’s with “wrong”? Almost one third of the world’s population lives in countries which drive on the left!

          http://www.worldstandards.eu/cars/list-of-left-driving-countries/

  • Alaa

    Nice, where will they get the batteries from? And how many will they make? Tesla will have 1 million electric cars on the road long before these guys sell 1. There is just no way out from it, they have to make batteries first and lots of it. If they partner with LG etc they will lose money.

    • Matt

      I had been asking the same question: Where are all the other batteries going to come from? Then Jan 5 I see, http://cleantechnica.com/2016/01/05/7-10-lithium-ion-battery-supply-chain-charts/
      Notice utilization running at about 20%, which means about 3-4 giga factories in capacity ready to go. Not say they will be a cheap, just that if story is correct there is some spare capacity out there ready to go.

      • Alaa

        Matt, I get your point, but the question that comes to my mind just now is why are these batteries not sold? Or even spoken for. I suspect that the answer is that these batteries are not as good as the silicon ones that are already out. I am sure you know that every day someone comes out with a smaller cheaper etc battery. I noticed that the BS factor is high but there are some improvements even if they are slight, these improvements can make these old batteries unwanted. What MB BMW etc are reluctant to do is invest a big sum so as to make a GF like Tesla. They opt for buying batteries and paying that little extra until they make their own batteries. My experience is that these joint venture agreements usually do not last. Point and case is the GF and Panasonic. They are friends now and the both need each other but I suspect that it will not last this friendship.

        In the case of the GF and the same goes for Panasonic too I suspect; is that both produce the batteries that are needed at the time and with the cathode electrolyte and anode that are needed and are the latest. The so cold over supply of the batteries that your link refers to is simply a an estimation by a group of people that went wrong.

        • neroden

          It seems like automotive batteries are turning out to be the highest grade of batteries. The other batteries — the not-as-good ones — are probably going to go straight into the stationary storage market. Unless they have high production costs.

  • Karl the brewer

    Price and design are immaterial at the moment. What is relevant is the manufacturer who is widely credited for building the first gasoline engine has finally sat up and took notice. Clearly Tesla, the humiliation of VW and COP21 have put a large rocket up their proverbial.

    As an aside I give it 12 to 18 months before right leaning media finally clocks EV growth and starts producing headline like this 😉

    “ELECTRIC VEHICLES RAISE ELECTRICITY PRICES”

    “In depth research reveals that purchasers of electric vehicles are seeing their fuel bills sky-rocket. A new report authored by The Heartland Institute suggests that in order to prevent crippling blackouts from excess electricity usage and economic collapse a worldwide build-out of nuclear capacity should begin immediately”

    • Calamity_Jean

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Either this or a call to limit the number of BEVs that can be sold in a year, to “prevent electrical system collapse”. Ha.

      • Karl the brewer

        I’m sure the lawyers would enjoy that outcome –

        Obama / Trump / Osborne (insert leader of choice) : “Mr Musk, We love the work your doing, driving us to a green, zero carbon future and saving hard working families money but we have concerns. That is why we would like to introduce a cap on EV production. Please understand it is for the good of society and the economy”

        Elon Musk : “Hang on a sec while I call my lawyer” – reaches for speed dial.

        • Calamity_Jean

          I can’t imagine Obama doing that. More likely it would be announced by the Heartland Institute or the American Enterprise Institute.

          Who is Osborne?

          • onesecond

            I think he means George Osborne, the current UK finance minister who will maybe become Camerons successor.

          • Calamity_Jean

            Sounds plausible.

          • Karl the brewer

            Just a flight of fancy. George Osborne is our current Chancellor of the Exchequer who has his sights set on the role of Prime Minister when Cameron leaves office at the end of this Parliament. He is, unfortunately an idealogue for whom money and power take precedent over renewable energy.

          • Calamity_Jean

            “He is, unfortunately an idealogue for whom money and power take precedent over renewable energy.”

            Well, then, I hope he fails.

          • neroden

            Osborne is also an economic ignoramus who follows Reaganite doctrine to the exclusion of reality.

          • Karl the brewer

            And I thought it was only me that realised this.

    • Freddy D

      Hahaha! Yep, sadly, you’re probably correct. The economic and physical realities will prevail at least.

    • Farmer_Dave

      More likely headline:

      “NIGHTTIME CHARGING OF EVs IMPROVE ELECTRIC UTILITY ROI”.

      “Economists raise estimates of electric utility profitability due to increased usage of otherwise idle capacity by EV charging”.

      • Calamity_Jean

        Yeah, the electric companies are looking eagerly forward to electric cars.

      • Bob_Wallace

        And following that:

        “EVs Lower Electricity Prices”

        “EVs charging at night create more profits for wind farms, bringing more wind farms online and lowering daytime electricity prices”

        “Lower electricity prices drives economy higher”

    • ROBwithaB

      Actually, I’m pretty sure that headlines like that already exist.

  • mike_dyke

    I think we’ll see a lot more statements like this one over the next few months as major car manufacturers wake up to the fact that BEVs are here to stay and they don’t have a car to compete with.

    Mercedes have just increased the pressure – well done! Now to wait for the other manufacturer’s responses.

    Let’s hope these cars actually get built.

    • I think they are also simply forced to build these by EU & US regulations.

      • mike_dyke

        If mercedes were only building those EVs that they were forced to do by regulation, then they would only be building the 1 car by 2018 rather than the 4 they are now doing by 2017.

  • BartV6

    They should develop a new B class with 200km real normal day riding and a quick charger and with less weight.
    For a family car this size is ok.
    Pricing should be around 30000-40000€.
    More and people with a normal pay will not switch to EV.
    In Belgium diesel is now under 1€/liter so EV with low kilometers/year can’t compete good..

  • neroden

    So, they’ll be uglier than the Teslas and cost more? Great strategy, Mercedes! (Not.)

    I’m glad they’re trying, but I wouldn’t invest based on this.

  • MorinMoss

    How does headline “4 EV by 2017” match up with “aiming to bring 4 electric vehicles to market over just the next few years”???
    Are you unaware that 2017 is NEXT YEAR and even if you’re counting from today to the very end of 2017 that’s at most TWO years which is still less than FEW?!!?

    Sheesh.

    • Kyle Field

      Sheesh…the wording makes sense to me. Why fret over such irrelevant details? The big news is: mercedes is aggressively ramping up their EV program both in timing and quantity. Done.

      • Matt

        While I agree the big need is the at least imply speed up of EV models. The 2017 model release is now about 6-10 months away.
        From ask.com
        ” typically from late July through early October. October 1 is the unofficial launch date for new cars, although many hit the sales lots before this date”

        So unless the already had the designs done and are just tooling up, I don’t think we will see 4 model year 2017 Mercedes EVs at any price.
        This looks more like a: If you buy Mercedes do no worry we will make you a EV, so do not go looking at those cheap American make cars. We will have one for you soonish.

        • eveee

          We are announcing cars in volume. Me too.

        • Kyle Field

          They do have the B-Class Electric today. I’m thankful that they are saying this publicly which is more of a commitment than internal goals. Now people expect them to deliver – both customers and investers.

      • MorinMoss

        Language matters. If you go strictly by the headline, that means Merc doesn’t have to deliver a single EV before the end of 2018.
        Now let’s see what steps they take towards actually delivering those pricey cars.

  • Adrian

    Nice of them to be speeding up, but the pricing… Eeek! Understandable for an S-Class “dictatormobile” equivalent, but quite a stretch for something between a C and E Class.

    • Kyle Field

      Tesla did something very similar with the roadster then Model S/X…and eventually the 3/Y. Four new models is huge!!

      • Kraylin

        Your two quick replies in this section seem to me you are being defensive. You may need to temper your expectations as more and more people comment here, most people are nowhere near as informed or enthusiastic for EV’s as many of us here…

        I agree with Adrian above, the pricing is way off for a vehicle between the C and E class Mercedes. If they had released this vehicle years ago with the Model S originally I suspect it would compete well. To do so now, or worse, 2 years from now, I don’t think it will sell well and therefore do very little for EV sales other then give one more major manufacturer their required compliance car.

        • Bob_Wallace

          “Your two quick replies in this section seem to me you are being defensive. ”

          What? Kyle did not write the article. His replies were hours after the other comments.

        • eveee

          Have you forgotten GMs abortive ELR PHEV? Same thing. They thought, lets just load this thing up and charge a fortune. Lets face it. That is MBs strategy for existing cars. They sell the badge and over designed cars that impart the sensation of luxury. Practical they are not.
          Tesla got away with a high price, because they have real technological improvements, performance, and value. Thats a tough act to follow in the EV world. In any world. Tesla is opening markets that didn’t exist in EU, because MBs ICE sales have not faltered – yet.
          Based on the price, performance, and luxury, its hard to justify a whole host of super cars and full sized lux sedans and SUVs anymore. If Tesla could fill the volume, it would crater those competitors.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Have you actually driven a Mercedes? I feel like you haven’t from your description. Ya, they’re out of my price range, but they are bar none the nicest, most solid vehicles I’ve ever driven.

          • eveee

            I agree. They are wonderful. When new. When old, they are kind of a nightmare. Overdesign and overcomplexity combine to make overly expensive replacement parts and labor cost expensive.
            Some of the complexity is needless and adds little to the car.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPJ64sTa7KI

        • Not only is the price likely to be too high to make for a significant volume, but does anyone expect for the MB vehicles to even come close to matching Tesla on acceleration? A reasonably priced C class sized vehicle to compete with the Model 3 would have been more exciting than these high end models.

  • Freddy D

    “We will keep the grille” – How long before people figure out that grilles are an old fashioned vestige of throwing away your heat and money?

    • Kyle Field

      They are holding onto traditional design. I’m eager to see how that statement / perspective evolves as they realize it has a direct correlation to the number of batteries they need…

      • Stan Hlegeris

        I’m with Freddy on this one. The fact that this Mr. Wagener even mentioned the grille suggests that this was the subject of some discussion. It’s a small thing, but it suggests the degree to which Mercedes is stuck in the past. Or that it suspects its customers are stuck there.

        Pity the designers and engineers in the luxury German car segment. The very best they can do is copy Tesla, years late, or try desperately to think of something else when nothing important is available. “Keep the grille” indeed!

        • gundersonrogers

          All true. However, the Big Statement is a sudden and radical change in Mercedes’ 5-year plan. Instead of one car by 2018, 4 cars by 2017.
          So, I can maybe give ’em a little brake on the lack of forward design thinking.
          –yet, isn’t it usually the designers that are ahead of the curve?
          Yeah. I take it back.
          Clearly Mercedes is being dragged into EV yelling and screaming.

          • Jenny Sommer

            Mercedes was in with Tesla from the start.
            It is completely understandable that they waited until now.
            They, in contrast to probably all commenters here, have actual built EVs, know the technical challenges.
            I also doubt that anybody knows their customer base better than Mercedes themselves.
            They are right there in the curve where they need to be.

            What is going to be interesting is seeing how BEV and ICE S-Klasse will sell head to head.

          • eveee

            Can you get ahead by waiting until after someone else has taken the lead? That works when the technology stays constant and only the styling changes. But does it work when a substantial part of the business changes? To MBs credit, jumping into EVs is ahead of Toyota. So MB is not the stodgiest. But they waited until Tesla and BMW beat them to the punch. Toyota is worse. They let Nissan, and Tesla beat them and still insist that its OK to have no real EV offering. No excuses for them.
            BEVs are going to cannibalize ICE sales eventually, IMO.

          • Jenny Sommer

            Eventually… In 10 years eventually..maybe. A lot of time to get it right in the first place and a lot of time to sell a lot of ICE cars.

            What are you assuming MB is doing wrong? Would there have been any strategic benefit in selling a car like the Model S?
            I doubt that. Maybe they would have even crippled Tesla on the way.

            This is like Soccer…every time the national team is playing there are 7.000.000 trainers that would have played a better strategy than the guy actually in charge…

          • eveee

            Like all the auto companies, they could have done EVs sooner. And the electric companies could have gone wind and solar earlier. But thats not how it works. It took a few extra decades for wind and solar to kick in. Thank Germany for that. Same for EVs and storage. Thank Tesla for that.

            I am much happier with MB than Toyota. MB has seen the light. Toyota has their head in the sand. But it will not be easy for MB to play catch up, even with all the money are resources they have.

            I am still looking to see what other car companies invest in battery factories.
            Thats the equivalent of investing in ICE engine manufacture.
            Amazing that GM gave up the battery and the motor/electronics to LG Chem. It shows GM is changing. Its about time.

          • Agreed. Toyota are appalling.

            Its odd that they were the ones to innovate and push the Hybrid vehicle, then they just got stuck in Hybrid land seemingly unable to innovate again.

            I’m beginning to sense Nissan are showing the signs of getting stuck, or at least moving way to slow.

            The EV pace is picking up. I’m glad to see it.

          • eveee

            Some have remarked that Toyotas side track to hydrogen may be related to the current government fixation on hydrogen. They just seem to be picking one loser after another. And all that when they have abundant wind, solar, and geothermal. Plenty to power the nation.

            http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2014_07_08_opposite_energy_policies_turned_fukushima_disaster_into_a_loss_for_japan_and_a_win_for_germany

          • Bob_Wallace

            Frozen methane hydrate. I suspect someone in the Japanese government is a climate change denier or at least minimizer and sees a fortune to be made in extracting frozen methane and making Japan energy independent.

          • eveee

            There is a stinker there alright. Truth is, Japan has more potential renewables than Germany. And a great deal more very useful geothermal.

            No excuses for this clathrate and nuclear nonsense. Never was a reason for those. That silly H2 boat is an example of this craziness.

            http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/IV-AA759_HYDROG_M_20150902152947.jpg

            http://blog.rmi.org/blog_2014_07_08_opposite_energy_policies_turned_fukushima_disaster_into_a_loss_for_japan_and_a_win_for_germany

          • Foersom

            You can give Mercedes credit for making the B Class Electric Drive and for the first production electric super car, the SLS AMG Electric Drive (albeit a bit pricey ~400 k EUR).

            http://www.autoblog.com/2013/06/10/mercedes-benz-sls-amg-electric-drive-breaks-nurburgring-record-video/

          • eveee

            Yes. Lets not be too hard on them. They did try. Just not with enough vigor. Probably more than VW. All the car companies have an internal battle of status quo vs how much to move forward.
            IMO, things are tipping toward change.

          • addicted4444

            But the japanese companies have an explanation for failing to enter the game with EVs, which the Germans lack. Basically, it comes down to the Japanese government putting all its money and weight behind hydrogen.

            That’s almost certainly a terrible bet at the moment, but it explains why the Japanese are falling so far behind in the EV race.

          • Matt

            Yes the management has not gotten the “fresh start EV” memo but they have gotten the “ICE are going to die, EVs are the future” memo. As for designers being ahead of the curve, they too get stuff in how things look, and wanting to keep the brand look/feel.
            So at least the ship has started to turn.

          • Calamity_Jean

            “Clearly Mercedes is being dragged into EV yelling and screaming.”

            And kicking and biting.

          • There are probably warring factions within each company, some traditional and some more forward-looking. External influences like the Volkswagen fiasco may tip the balance in these conflicts.

          • ROBwithaB

            I was actually wondering if there might have been a .”leak” from an informer within VW that led to the scandal breaking.
            I’m sure there are young, progressive engineers at all of these companies, looking at what the old farts are doing and thinking “these guys are going to kill the company if we don’t do something soon.”

          • JonathanMaddox

            Nice theory, but all indications are that the fraud was discovered quite independently.

        • PaulScott58

          I’m with Stan and Freddy on this one. Going forward, it’s going to be drag cd and light weighting. Tesla hit a nice medium with a cool looking, yet not outlandish, design, with world-best performance. These vestigial design frills with no function contributing to performance or efficiency will evolve out of vehicles.

          • jeffhre

            Colin Chapman said that. Although Alfred P. Sloan did a lot more business.

          • Carl Raymond S

            Plus one for adding the word ‘vestigial’ to my vocab.

          • ROBwithaB

            You could google “whale toes” or “snake feet” or just “vestigial limbs”.

          • Tim

            Those terms are listed in the appendix.

          • ROBwithaB

            Touche

      • Freddy D

        Definitely didn’t mean to distract from the real news of Daimler accelerating their EV program. The consumer expectation of grilles on cars is just kind of funny and ironic – even Tesla played the game with the big black faux grille nose cone on the model S. (And I think the model S looks great imho).

        The real question is whether Daimler has enough experience in EV R&D and supply chain connections and intellectual property to deliver a competitive EV. The most experience lies with Tesla, GM, Toyota ( conspicuously quiet lately) Nissan. Others seem to have dabbled. Fun discussion.

        • eveee

          The whole question of battery factory or outsourcing is a curious one. Which is better. There may be a point where supply issues and cost of an outside supplier becomes more pointed. There has to be partnerships to be practical. GM Delco. Ford Autolite. Not that those are set in stone.

        • Kyle Field

          I agree. I keep saying this but it’s going to be an interesting couple of years…and decades really…as this transition plays out.
          Toyota only seems to want to talk about the advance research institute they are pouring money into. That’s all they shared at CES and it was more incremental than anything. Pretty meh if you ask me.

          • Calamity_Jean

            “…it’s going to be an interesting couple of years….”

            Interesting in the Chinese-curse sense?

          • Kyle Field

            Haha…that’s not what I was hinting at. I’m thinking 2016 is going to be meh. Late 2016 and into 2017, the Bolt and Mod3 will arrive with others arriving on the scene in late 2017 into 2018. I’m thrilled about the EV ramp up 😀 The Mod3 alone is going to make things awesome. It’s nice to have the Bolt…there’s room in the market for many more beyond that…

            I’m hopeful that the affordable Tesla will pull other manufacturers in…or that Tesla opens Gigafactory 2 and 3 with auto factory 2 to support production beyond the 500k/year targets.

          • Kraylin

            Sometime in the next year or two as the gigafactory #1 build-out continues a second factory location and construction timeline would be welcome news.

            They don’t need another auto factory for some time though do they? What is the capacity (vehicles/year) of the Nummi plant in California? I thought it was gigantic…

          • Bob_Wallace

            What I find online is that NUMMI has a production capacity of about 500,000 cars per year.

            NUMMI and Gigafactory One will limit out. Tesla will need more factories.

          • Carl Raymond S

            Maybe, maybe not. Capacity is limited by the speed of the lines, and the factory footprint of each line. I wouldn’t put it past Tesla to design a faster line, or a shorter line, using either faster robots, or more versatile robots.
            There’s that one image we’ve see a lot, where about a dozen robots are visible at a single station.
            Production ‘just in time’ is another space cruncher. No need for stockpiles. Tesla can now teach the cars to park themselves in the parking lot – with no more than a few inches between cars.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Good point. Throughflow should be a lot faster now than back when Toyota was doing more of the job by hand.

          • Steve Grinwis

            I wouldn’t be too quick to knock Toyota. They have some of the best production lines in the world at the moment. If they were doing something by hand, it was because it was the best way to do it, at least at the time.

            Probably the biggest thing for Tesla will be that the installs are a lot simpler. No gas tank, air intake systems, fuel lines, etc. Just a pre-assembled battery pack, and a single piece electric drive unit, and two cables, and you have your complete rolling chassis ready to do interior work.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Toyota moved out of NUMMI in 2010. I suspect Toyota has better lines now than what they closed down five-six years ago in Fremont.

            There’s was no knock on Toyota. Just an acknowledgement that things are speeding up.

          • Elon even said recently that, it’s really surprising, but NUMMI is already getting pretty full.

            The robots are efficient, but seem to take a lot of space. Or something else… idk.

          • Philip W

            So Tesla may not be able to produce 500k vehicles at NUMMI?
            If anything I would’ve thought that they are able to produce more because production is getting more efficient.

          • Kyle Field

            It is gigantic. A second factory would not be for space/capacity but for optimizing the geographic location of the factory and shipments coming out of it. I’m not sure what the financials look like but it doesn’t add any value to a consumer in Norway to spend $5k on shipping the car halfway around the world.

    • eveee

      But wait… What about the fake tailpipe option? Wont that make it look great? LOL. I just can’t help but think of it as the rear end of a horse. At some point people are going to think that ICE cars are old fashioned and undesirable. Can you imagine an ICE advertisement that featured the rear end and showed the car parked over oil drips and lining up at a gas station with those plastic mitts to keep the smell of gasoline off your hands?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn__9hLJKAk

    • jeffhre

      We will keep the grill…but we are having trouble attaching the horses tail without raising drag 🙂

      • The horses tail is necessary to reduce static electricity in the winter 🙂

    • Benjamin Nead

      I’m always puzzled by grills on electric cars. The analogy I make is cylindrical holders for buggy whips, which appeared uselessly outside the driver’s door on gasoline cars well into the 1920s. Or, large masts for sails on steam powered ships of the late 19th century.

      Note that most modern EVs actually do have small radiators for the electric motor and controllers. So, a small air dam is to be expected. Trouble is, this
      lack of traditional decoration is jarring enough to most eyes that the electric cars employing it – the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV – have often met with scorn and derision for their unusual looks.

      And . . . everyone seems to love the looks of the Tesla Model S. But it also features a rather prominent fake grill. Will the new Model 3 have some sort
      of front end homage to the past as well? Or will it shock people and dispense with it? I guess we’ll find out in a couple of months. I’m a little disappointed that the production version of the Chevy Bolt reverted to a fake grill, when I thought the minimalist non-grill treatment on the original concept version of a year ago was one of the best grill-less designs I had seen so far.

      We’re at a crossroad. Almost everyday I read comments online from folks
      who insist that electric cars should look exactly like gasoline ones. Yet an equally vocal contingent is asking for less artifice in the name of function. The latter camp will win eventually, as it should. But how long will it take for this to happen?

      • Bob_Wallace

        I suspect it makes sense to produce EVs that look like ICEVs for a while. Give people time to learn that EVs are real cars and then take away the buggy whip holders. Go all Aptera if that is what makes sense….

        • Benjamin Nead

          The Aptera was always going to be polarizing. I always thought “Yeah, I suppose my wife and I could do a light grocery load with this.” But forget about throwing a bicycle
          in the back (not exactly super easy to do in a regular car design, but non-the-less doable.) or carrying a third person.

          The grill? Sure, we can get rid of it. But getting rid of the 4th wheel? I’ll go the traditional route there.

          • Calamity_Jean

            It’s clearly intended as the second car of a two-car family. You’d have to have a bigger one for grocery shopping and bicycle moving.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not saying that the Aptera is where car design will go or that cars will lose a wheel. I was saying that it wouldn’t be wise to introduce a new propulsion system and new form at the same time.

          • Steve Grinwis

            Isn’t the only reason why the Aptera went to a three wheel design is so that it would be classified as a motor cycle, and therefore wouldn’t have to pass safety regs?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I seem to recall something like that. Probably with a bit of wanting to look more like a jet fighter thrown in.

          • eveee

            Thats a big reason. But losing the fourth wheel also increases range and efficiency while lowering cost.

        • Probably. While there is no technical reason for a grille, and some against them. People get stuck on how a car looks.

          EV forums are littered with people bemoaning how EV’s look odd or ugly.

          • Agreed. Same thing is even happening with the X nose with many people.

        • eveee

          The model for the Aptera was a dolfin.

          Skeumorphism takes many shapes. In the past, car makers tried to make cars look like mythic images of the day, rockets or jet planes.

          They didn’t have any real value, but borrowed images for psychological value.

          http://evworld.com/images/cadillac_fins.jpg

      • Farmer_Dave

        I suggest you look at the front of the 2016 Tesla Model X.

        No grille, faux or otherwise.

        • Benjamin Nead

          I just took another look at online photos of the X. From Tesla’s site I see what you’re talking about . . .

          https://www.teslamotors.com/tesla_theme/assets/img/modelx/section-hero-cutout.png?20151129

          So, I’ll stand corrected on the X’s grill (or lack thereof.)
          Most of the other photos I’ve seen until very recently, though, show something more like a continuation of the Model S front end . . . and most people’s attention (as mine) have been focused on the X’s falconwing doors.

          Web article photos are funny things. Expect to see legacy photos of pre-production models for years to come, regardless of the car. On the i-MiEV (a vehicle I follow much more closely, since I actually own one,) I’m always amused to see photos of the (shorter, narrower) European or Japanese variants when the accompanying text is about the North American version

          • Calamity_Jean

            “…the i-MiEV (a vehicle I follow much more closely, since I actually own one,)….”

            I’m doing some preliminary comparison shopping for an electric car. What year is yours, and how many miles does it get on a charge? I just looked at some pictures of one, and I think it’s real cute. I like the short front.

          • Benjamin Nead

            It’s a 2012, Jean. That the first model year for the North American version,
            Mitsubishi skipped the odd numbered years, so we also have virtually identical 2014s and 2016s. Used 2012s are plentiful and cheap right now. Check auto search engines like CarGurus.com and Cars.com for listings. Play with filters to dial in the variables like price, location and trim options. An excellent source of owner information is the My i-MiEV Forum . . .

            http://myimiev.com/forum/

            Miles per charge? The EPA rates it at 63, but I’m getting around 70 plus.
            It’s possible to get all over Tucson without ever getting on a freeway, so I stay on surface streets and hypermill whenever it isn’t going to be an issue with cars behind me. Cold weather right now (well, cold for southern Arizona.) I realistically expect range to drop a bit during the extremely hot summer months, when the air conditioner is constantly blowing. We’ll see. And, yes, I’ve not only got used to the unusual shape, but have grown to like it.

            Apologies to others here for hijacking this thread away from Mercedes-Benz.

          • Calamity_Jean

            Thanks!

          • Rafael Formisano

            We bought ours 6 months ago, paid $7000 with 9500 miles, we are very happy, we don’t drive more than 50 to 55 miles a day, so is perfect for us, and have a good cargo space for grocery shopping, or when we go to Home Depot to buy stuff to fix our rentals. By the way I’m 6 2, 300+ lbs and fit comfortable in both front seats.

          • Tim

            That last sentence could be read in a very funny way.

          • Rafael Formisano

            Yeah, I don’t mean a the same time.

          • ROBwithaB

            I should have read your comment first, before posting mine.

          • ROBwithaB

            Both seats?
            At the same time?

          • Yes, have read the i-MiEV is great for tall people.

      • eveee

        Yes. Telsa has already made EVs more desirable than ICE. Now to put that perspective right out in front, differentiate them with features ICE can’t mimic. Like the no tailpipe, no radiator grille look.
        Lets flip it on its head. Make those features desired and ICE mfrs will try to mimic the look of an EV.

    • Dragon

      I assume they’re not talking about a traditional front grille but about the giant grille in the back. I guess that’s a throwback to some old design? Or they just think it looks good? Was it for cooling a rear-engine car maybe?

      I dunno, the grille in the back looks sort of like some sort of advanced propulsion system… I have mixed feelings about it but I don’t think it’s that bad.

    • Steve Grinwis

      Engineer Here. You can have a grill, and then block the airflow with black plastic hidden behind it. Then you get the traditional look, and it costs you nothing in heat loss or aero.

      If you look carefully, you can see this technique applied over and over again with cars having grill looking things that are actually all fake, ranging from partially blocked nostril grills on some Pontiacs to the fake brake cooling vents on the old 2005 Mustangs.

    • ROBwithaB

      They’re keeping the grille… they just moved it to the BACK of the car, apparently.

      • eveee

        Doesn’t anyone else get your joke? LOL.

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