Tesla Faces Competition as Mercedes, VW Start Taking Orders for Long-range EVs

It’s been a tough month for Tesla, and the challenges the Silicon Valley electric-car maker faces will only accelerate now that two major European automakers are launching sales of their first entries into the long-range EV market, CNBC informs.

Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz began taking orders Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, for new battery-electric vehicles, with the two companies each planning to follow up with a wave of additional entries over the next few years. Whether they will prove to be “Tesla killers,” as some observers have dubbed them, is far from certain but the two German manufacturers are each investing billions of euros in their electrification programs.

“With the Mercedes-Benz EQC, we are entering a new era of mobility,” said Britta Seeger, member of the board of management of Daimler responsible for Mercedes-Benz cars sales. “It is part of the growing family of all-electric vehicles at Mercedes-Benz and combines brand-defining features such as quality, safety and comfort.”

The first wave of electric vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric, could deliver only around 100 miles per charge. Tesla proved an immediate breakout with its Model S sedan yielding more than double that – and its latest version of that sedan is EPA-rated at 370 miles between charges.

The compact Mercedes EQC, essentially an electrified version of its GLC crossover, will get around 270 miles in European trim and even more in the version slated for the U.S. market, CNBC adds.

Volkswagen’s first long-range entry, the ID.3, lifts a page from Tesla’s playbook by offering customers three different battery pack options. The smallest, at 45 kilowatt-hours, is expected to manage around 200 miles, based on European testing, with optional 58 and 77 kWh battery packs rated at around 260 and 340 miles, respectively.

The new VW hatchback hasn’t even had its official world premiere — expected to take place at the Frankfurt Motor Show next autumn — and it will be about a year before the first customers can take delivery. But the automaker on Thursday opened up a special website for advance orders.

Pricing for the ID.3, which initially will target the European market, will start at 30,000 euros ($34,000). Customers in Europe preordered 10,000 ID.3s in the first 24 hours on the market there, overwhelming the company’s website and leading to long wait times online, VW said.

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