Autocar's exclsuive pics reveal Mercedes is planning a new alternative-drive city

Mercedes-Benz has kicked off styling studies into a range of new alternative-drive city cars as part of a project known internally under the working title Mega City Mobility.

Aimed at providing Mercedes-Benz with an answer to the much-hyped BMW Mega City Vehicle and a new all-electric Audi model set to come off the same platform as parent company Volkswagen’s new Up city car, the car is being styled at the company’s Yokahama-based studio in Japan under the direction of Holger Hutzenlaub.

See exclusive pics of the Mercedes Mega City Mobility clay model

Autocar’s exclusive photographs reveal a range of ideas that have already come out of the Mega City Mobility project, including sketches and a clay model of a stylish new one-box offering that’s thought to have been conceived to sit on the rear-engined underpinnings of the upcoming second-generation Smart ForFour.

Mercedes-Benz says the decision to base the Mega City Mobility project in Japan stems from the country’s acute lack of space and the solutions that are being generated to provide an increased standard of living in large cities. “We been looking outside the automotive industry, including the trend towards mini city houses, to generate new ideas on space utilization and packaging,” Hutzenlaub told Autocar.

Read Autocar's full scoop on the BMW Mega City Vehicle

One of the first products to stem from Mercedes-Benz’s Mega City Mobility project will be the new Smart E-scooter, which has now been granted production approval following its unveiling at last September’s Paris motor show.

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