Can Mercedes Take Down Tesla with this Just-Revealed Electric Concept?

Watch your back, Elon.
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Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

At the Paris Motor Show Mercedes-Benz went all-in on electric power for its cars, announcing a new "EQ" sub-brand for its electrification effort and showing a concept version of that brand's first car, the Generation EQ, which is slated for showrooms within three years.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Genial Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche, whom you may recall as "Dr. Z" from his time running Chrysler in the U.S., channelled his inner Steve Jobs as he strode the stage wearing jeans and casual shoes. His Silicon Valley chic attire signaled a change in the mindset of a company steeped in internal combustion since 1886.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Now the EQ leads Mercedes effort to supplant internal combustion with electrification, promising a 310-mile driving range on a charge while producing more than 400 horsepower. The concept also embraces continuous connectivity, sharing information about itself and gathering information such as parking spot availability.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

It will also offer the maximum autonomy legally permissible when it reaches showrooms, Zetsche pledged.

In keeping with the iPhone/consumer-device inspiration for Mercedes' shift in philosophy, the Generation EQ bears a virtual grille projected in blue light from behind smooth black-tinted plastic to convey a smartphone style.

"We see 15-25 percent of total sales of our range being battery electric," Zetsche said. "We have big plans that will require a lot of batteries. By 2025 we'll have more than 10 fully electric vehicles on the market." Translated from the original German, that means "Watch out, Tesla."