Mercedes asks car buyers if they’re interested in EVs – and gets a reality check

Like most of the legacy auto brands, Mercedes has given conflicting signals about its interest in electrification. Its only EV to date, the B-Class Electric, was a compliance car that it sold in limited volume, and recently discontinued. However, the company says it plans to introduce a line of purpose-built EVs under the new EQ sub-brand, beginning with an electric SUV in 2019.

Recently, the company decided to gauge consumer interest in EVs with an informal survey on Twitter. Mercedes-Benz Retail (@MB_Retail) tweeted (via Electrek), “With electric cars increasing in popularity, we’d love to know if you would consider switching to an electric car?”

The good news: The post has generated over 700 responses to date, almost all of them answering in the affirmative.

The bad news (for Mercedes): Most of the responses were from drivers who had already gone electric. Many of them are now driving Teslas, and dozens of these say they are former Mercedes customers.

A sample of the replies:

“Too late, sold our MB last year, driving our #TeslaModelS exclusively, having a #TeslaModel3 reservation as well. Never an ICE car again!”

“We have already made the switch from a Mercedes GL500 to a Tesla Model X 100D”

“I gave up my merc E300 for a Tesla Model S. So very much a yes from me. I do not see me ever buying an ICE vehicle again.”

More than a few respondents ridiculed Mercedes for being behind the times.

“It’s 2017, and you’re still busy with basic market research about EVs? Take leadership & responsibility, or be eaten by history.”

“Already switched, thanks!” [accompanied by a photo of a Model S]

“Driving a @TeslaMotors since two years.

No plans to change to a Mercedes :-)”

Some said they had expressed interest in buying a B-Class Electric, but had been discouraged from doing so by local dealers.

“Yes, Mercedes B250 (gas) owner, deposit down on Tesla 3. I asked MB dealer about electric and he said ‘not our market’.”

“I called at your Belfast dealership to ask a question about the B-class electric & was told the staff member who knew about it wasn’t there.”

There may be a ray of hope at the bottom of this Pandora’s box: A (very) few respondents said they would be interested in a future Mercedes EV, if it were competitive.

“Yes if its as good as the tesla in whole experience and service”

“Switch? My next car will be an EV. And would be a Mercedes if Mercedes wasn’t so slow to the game ;)”


Source: Electrek

  • Joe Jackson

    Statistically 700 responses is a pretty small cross section of the customers who have bought MB vehicles in the last 5 years !

    • el_gallo_azul

      YEAH! ICEs rule!

      • gizmowiz

        EVs rule. ICE is melting……gone.

        • el_gallo_azul

          Yep the drivetrain is pretty much sorted out now. I’ll be able to drive my car soon with less noise, less smoke, less oil dripping, and spritely performance. The batteries are the weak point, and the issue would go away if we could swap the empty battery for a full one.

          • Joe Jackson

            I drive 450 miles non stop across Europe at 80 to 90 mph (130 kph) and still have enough diesel for another 300 miles. When I can buy an EV that can do the same for Eu 25,000 I will be happy. Too much focus on expensive very fast luxury cars where they know the customer has enough money to buy without noticing the cost of the batteries & can afford to change it before the batteries give up.

          • el_gallo_azul

            Not many people do that often enough to make it worthwhile buying an old banger, which is the only thing that will do what you describe at the moment.

            In Australia, the individual average distance driven by each vehicle is 38km per day


            , at just over 33km/h. While we’re stuck with private cars, EVs already best suit the vast majority of car owners. It’s even better if you can fill them up with your own photovoltaic energy, so there’s no marginal cost to make them go (quickly and quietly).

            EUR500 would be even better than EUR25,000. Surely that would make you even happier!

          • Joe Jackson

            My car is not an old banger – it is 2 years old. I can buy a brand new 2 litre diesel Ford Mondeo for less than EUR 25,000. 70 litre tank 50+mpg. 120 mph
            However I do agree an EV is more than enough for 90% of private cars for 95% of their journeys. One answer is to tow a diesel generator on a trailer to make it a hybrid for the longer journeys.
            It will be a long time before we have the charging infrastructure in the UK. How many cars do filling stations refuel in 2 or 3 hours – that is how many charge points you need for decent “refuelling” on long journeys.
            At the moment you would need careful planning for each long journey and hope all the charge points selected are working.

          • Lance Pickup

            Actually charging infrastructure in the UK is one of the better ones in the world. Charge points are numerous (compared to other areas), conveniently located at motorway services, have redundant chargers and have good reliability.

            It is not appropriate to compare to filling stations. Why not? Because ALL petrol vehicles need to refill at a filling stations. With EVs, however, most charging is done at home. Those that need to use the motorway chargepoints are the subset of users that are actually on long trips, and this is a subset of all the vehicles you see driving around. So the demand is FAR less than for filling stations.

            But yes, obviously as more EVs come into use, more charging stations will be needed. But in the UK right now, the situation is actually pretty good.

          • el_gallo_azul

            We are currently making a big mistake, focusing efforts on installing charge points and all the associated infrastructure requirements. It is getting more difficult now, but we haven’t lost the opportunity completely yet, of configuring batteries to be swappable – just like gas cylinders that some people have at home for hot water and cooking. Tesla cars were originally designed and manufactured with swappable batteries; it would allow VERY fast and convenient “refuelling”; it would allow existing petrol stations to merely update product lines; and would also allow AA and RAC to carry small “emergency” batteries.

            However, with any luck, this is the death knell of the private car, in which case the issue disappears.

          • Joe Jackson

            In the UK probably 80% of cars live on the road. People have no drive or garage in which to charge overnight. Trailing wires across public footpaths is not on. Plug in to a lamp post & someone will steal the wire for the copper content – the only answer to both overnight charging & range is massive investment in infrastructure and inductive charging. Forget plugging in altogether.
            Instead of huge Tesla’s all EV’s need a maximum of 2 seats 99% of the time – they should be small to allow smaller parking spaces in town & less congestion.

          • el_gallo_azul

            At the moment, if I want to drive further than my car’s range, or do any other thing outside the specs of my car (taking a group on a buck’s night, or towing my boat on a 600km round trip), I use a different car. For example, I hired a Prado for the last boat trip with 4 friends. I much prefer that, and it’s much cheaper, than owning a Prado the other 364 days of the year for no reason.

          • Lance Pickup

            I drove 775 miles along the US east coast from northern NY to North Carolina in a gasoline (petrol if you prefer) It was not “non-stop” because my wife and I need to stop to eat, drink, pee, stretch, etc. Our total “stopping” time out of 15 hours was 2.5 hours. We’ve done this trip many, many times and it’s about the same amount of stopping each time.

            If I plug this same route into a Tesla trip planner assuming the long range Model 3, it tells me that I will only need to stop for 2 hours.

            So already, the Tesla is no less convenient than a gas car. And no, you don’t have to stop all at once and charge for an hour each time. As long as you stop at a Supercharger site (this is the primary limitation, but fortunately they site them near amenities), you can charge for as long as you would normally stop. So if you want to stop in 10-15 minute increments, that is fine.

            Now maybe you’ve got a steel bladder and can do 450 miles non stop. And maybe you do that trip often enough that it wouldn’t make sense for you to rent a car for the longer trip. Then for sure, you should not get an EV. But that probably puts you in the minority.

          • Joe Jackson

            That’s very interesting – but in Europe 450 miles is only 6-7 hours given good conditions so I regularly set off 11 pm and I am in the office for 8 AM having arrived been home for a shower & shave. The stop was after 4 hours in the train under the Channel tunnel.
            What happens to your planning when EV’s become more popular and there is queue of 3 cars at each charging station ?
            Also why to Tesla insist on high performance cars ? the battery would last so much longer if the gearing was adjusted to give more sensible acceleration & top speed. Oh I forgot – probably no one would buy them if that was the case as they cost too much.

          • Tanstaafl

            That is not how electric drivetrains work. Most of the high performance comes for free like in the GM-Bolt. Only in the P models is there an extra wear on the battery when used to do extreem acceleration.

            The continuous flat torque from zero to max rpm, the superior torque vectoring especially with a dual motor setup, the low center of mass perfectly in the middle of the car all make electric cars better driving machines.

          • Lance Pickup

            “What happens to your planning when EV’s become more popular and there is queue of 3 cars at each charging station ?”

            Do you expect them to never install more charge points after the first wave? Of course as more cars come onto the roads the infrastructure will expand to meet the demand.

            “Also why to Tesla insist on high performance cars ? the battery would last so much longer if the gearing was adjusted to give more sensible acceleration & top speed. ”

            I have long pointed out that electric motor power consumption is not like an ICE. The reason an ICE is so inefficient when you accelerate swiftly is that it needs to climb its torque curve and is highly inefficient at that low end. Electric motors on the other hand give you that instant torque for “free”. Yes, there are some IR drop based losses to fast acceleration, but it is nowhere near the inefficiency of jack rabbit starts in a petrol car.

          • Joe Jackson

            I fully understand EV drive trains however big motor big acceleration is not the answer – 2 or 3 speed gearbox reduces motor size dramatically – keep the large battery then reasonable performance with increased range. Granted less efficient than pure motor but still adequate. I reiterate not everyone want 0-60 in 4 seconds – I am happy with 9 seconds & good overtaking ability which is almost Nissan Leaf but they need more range. I don’t want to get stuck half way up a mountain when touring the Scottish Highlands where there are definitely no charging stations.
            OK hire a different vehicle for the odd occasional trips but that surely argues against banning ICE vehicles as UK wants to do in 2040.

          • Lance Pickup

            No argument from me on the somewhat irrational desire of some people to own a car with a fast 0-60 time. Most of the time they probably don’t even realize what they want, they just want it as fast as possible. But since there is that need, I would much rather have someone driving a slightly less efficient Tesla than a gas guzzler muscle car. And I will point out that you can get a Tesla that doesn’t have insane acceleration or even a giant battery (well, it will be a year or so before you can get one in the UK if you didn’t reserve on day 1, but soon…)
            As for charging stations in the Scottish Highlands, I am not familiar with the geography of Scotland, so I couldn’t point to exactly where that is on a map, but according to Plugshare it seems like charging stations in the far northern parts of Scotland (where charging stations are sparsest), it still seems like they are no farther than 60 miles apart.

          • Tanstaafl

            If you regularly drive 450 miles nonstop, they should rescind your driver’s license. That sounds harsh, but it is very unsafe behavior. I used to drive a lot, like over 40k per year mostly rush hour traffic with a fair number of long distance journeys.

            The rule about two hours driving half an hour rest makes a lot of sense, especially to your legs. Another measure to keep longer fit and be able to drive safely, is to limit your speed to about 70mph. The modern electric cars that are now appearing can charge about 140miles in 20 minutes.

            A cadence of two hours driving and 20 minutes rest is what many experienced long distance drivers do. And in an electric car that saves the time and annoyance of filling the car with diesel. Plugging and unplugging is less effort than paying for your diesel, and you don’t have to wait a few minutes beside your car or get your hands dirty.

            And if you look at the TCO (total cost of ownership), a Tesla Model 3 or Nissan leaf-II might be cheaper than your Ford diesel.

          • Ari

            Not might be cheaper than your diesel, I am am sure it will be. No doubt. Much cheaper.

      • Ed

        MB is still hedging its bets, but it is doing so by producing real ICE vehicles while generating electric concepts and press releases. Watch the Frankfort show for “Paper Cars” galore. When are we going to see some real EVs?!?!

    • Ramon A. Cardona

      Cannot add up votes/comments not rendered. If 700 does not move you try sampling; it is not easy. To me that is a significant numbers because mostly they are people with EV’s that know facts. Yes, we are a small number but from basically zero in 2010 (outside of California) to a huge number in US and globally the growth has depended on cars availability at dealerships, Tesla excluded.

  • Олег Лян

    Are you insane, lower the fuel cost, people will instantly buy petroleum cars

    • Joe Jackson

      I agree – at the moment EV’s are too expensive to attract most people who can only afford a second or third hand car.
      Even Renault’s charges for leasing a battery are more expensive than buying petrol or diesel so on cost grounds it does not make sense.

      • Tanstaafl

        Talk to an accountant about the costs of driving. And answer questions like:
        How long do you intend to own this car.
        How many miles do you intend to drive with this car.
        What is your driving style.
        How many miles do you drive with a set of tires.
        Brakes, exhaust and other maintenance.
        What is your insurance.

        I used to be an accountant (long ago) and I did keep a separate account for my car. (Needed for tax purposes)
        You will be surprised.

        • Joe Jackson

          I keep very accurate logs for my cars & know exactly cost per mile for fuel & cost per mile for all other costs including depreciation. I do not get the sums to add up for the tesla which cost 3 x my present car to buy & the depreciation cost per mile will be phenomenal. I have been an advocate of BEV’s for 35 years but every time I look at it the costs never add up. We – the general public need cost of batteries to come down greatly which I am hoping will happen with mass production.

          • Tanstaafl

            I don’t know about the specifics of the British market, but in the USA there are solid figures on the depreciation of Tesla cars. And they are best in class and getting better. Especially because wear and tear on batteries start to be documented. Do your calculations again with 90% of depreciation of a comparable BMW/Audi and free fuel on long runs.
            And adjust your maintenance for brakes, exhaust, etc.
            If you own a car longer and drive a lot, Tesla will become a compelling offer.

            But comparing a Model S with a Mondeo on cost will stay a loosing proposition. Replacing the new price of that Model S with the new price of the Model 3 or Leaf-II (reveal next week) will give you a more realistic comparison.

      • Ari

        If you have bothered to notice when people get in an ev, especially a tesla, they want one. Not because of the cost, but because it is a better car. That is why people have been spending up with teslas, like they have never before. The car will last much longer, improve with updates, if fun to drive, is safer and you can avoid going to gas stations. Most people questioned about buying teslas, actually said it was because of safety. Even if it cost more, I would still buy it because it is soooo much better and my life, my safety , and the experience is well worth it. But the fact is the car will last 300-500k miles or more, need almost no maintenance and I will want to keep it because it improves. Over that time, the car will pay for itself with the savings.

  • chopr147

    Never had a MB but was looking at the E300 2 years ago. Decided on a Tesla Model S. ‘Nuff said