Mercedes-Benz could at last be planning a proper go at the electric vehicle market, with reports this week suggesting that a version of the mid-sized GLC SUV will be the first model in a new ultra-green range.
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The German carmaker has previously offered electric vehicles in a limited capacity, from the SLS AMG Electric Drive supercar revealed in 2012, to the more practical B-Class Electric Drive in 2013.

Now, according to German paper Autobild, Mercedes-Benz is preparing to enter what will soon be a uniquely competitive segment: electric SUVs.

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In that class, Mercedes would take on Audi’s anticipated Q6 e-tron, due in 2018, and the Tesla Model X, a new electric premium-level SUV already available in the US.

According to Autobild, the re-styled and repackaged Mercedes-Benz EV SUV would be badged ‘ELC’, allowing for smaller and larger ‘ELA’ and ‘ELE’ electric SUV models to be launched over time.

The report adds that the so-called ELC would feature two electric motors - one at each end for an all-wheel-drive design - with energy drawn from a flat battery pack running beneath the floor.

Audi e-tron quattro concept

Above: Audi's e-tron quattro concept could be our first look at the coming Q6 e-tron

The carmaker is reportedly targeting an initial power output of around 400kW, while offering a competitive driving range of 400 kilometres between charges.

If this report proves true, Mercedes would likely aim to have the ELC on the market before the end of this decade, to capitalise on the still tiny segment’s sales potential.

Mercedes-Benz has already launched a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in the GLC range, with the GLC 350e now on the stage in Europe.

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Above: the Tesla Model X electric SUV

That model pairs the company’s 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre engine with an 85kW/340Nm electric motor and an 8.7kWh, 80Ah lithium-ion battery pack and a 7G-tronic auto.System torque is rated at 560Nm.

The GLC 350e boasts a 0-100km/h time of 5.9 seconds, with fuel consumption listed at 2.6L/100km on the European test cycle. Pure electric range is 34km, with a V-Max before the engine jumps in of 140km/h.

Mercedes is also rumoured to be planning a hydrogen fuel-cell version of the GLC, with a 2017 launch date in mind, but the carmaker has yet to confirm plans on that front.