The move follows a long-awaited announcement by the German government that it will begin offering sales subsidies on all EVs priced at less than €60,000 (£47,300) as part of a €1.2 billion (£950 million) electric car purchase incentive scheme.
The plans have been orchestrated by Mercedes-Benz’s outgoing R&D boss, Thomas Weber, and call for four new electric models to join the Mercedes line-up by the end of 2020.
Two electric saloons and two SUVs are expected. Each is set to share the basic elements of a more conventionally powered sibling, including so-called hard points such the windscreen and roof structure. However, there will be unique design touches to make them instantly recognisable as zeroemissions vehicles, according to insiders privy to the proposals for the four models.
The new electric car line-up is aimed at pitching Mercedes into direct competition with Tesla Motors, which has led the electric car push and had solid levels of sales growth since the Model S executive saloon began production in 2012. It also comes in response to recent moves by key rival Audi, which has already announced that it will begin offering a production version of its e-tron quattro concept in 2018 in the first stage of a similar electric car offensive.
A heavy shroud of secrecy surrounds the upcoming electric-powered Mercedes models, although recent comments by Weber suggest the saloons will be based around the C-Class and S-Class and the SUVs will share common links with the GLA and GLC.