Mercedes just launched its first all-electric SUV as it looks to take on Tesla

The Mercedes-Benz EQC

Mercedes-Benz launched its first totally-electric SUV on Wednesday, the latest big car manufacturer to make a major play in the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) sector.

The Mercedes-Benz EQC was unveiled at an event in Stockholm, Sweden, and is the first vehicle produced under Mercedes’ new technology brand EQ.

It has a provisional electric range of over 450 kilometers, according to the New European Driving Cycle, and its combined carbon dioxide emissions are zero grams per kilometer, again according to provisional figures.

The vehicle’s lithium-ion battery, which weighs 650 kilograms, was produced by Daimler subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive.

“With the EQC — the first fully-electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz — we are flipping the switch,” Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said in a statement.

“Electric drive is a major component in the mobility of the future. We are therefore investing more than 10 billion euros in the expansion of our EQ model portfolio, and more than 1 billion euros in global battery production.”

Mercedes’ launch of the EQC is the latest attempt by more established, traditional carmakers to challenge the dominance of Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Audi had earlier began mass production of its e-tron, the brand’s first totally-electric SUV. That vehicle will be officially unveiled in San Francisco on September 17.

Production of the EQC is set to begin in 2019 at the Mercedes plant in Bremen, Germany, where the business said preparations were “in full swing.” The vehicle will be produced on the same line as the company’s C-Class Saloon and Estate, GLC and GLC Coupe.

Mercedes also said that the Beijing Benz Automotive Co, a Sino-German production joint venture, was preparing to start production of the EQC for the local market in China.

“One major pillar of our strategy is flexibility,” Markus Schafer, executive board member at Mercedes-Benz Cars, said.

“Our decision to produce electric vehicles on the same line as models with combustion engines enables us to respond flexibly to demand and use plant capacity to best effect. In this way, we can continue to ensure both high efficiency and top quality with well-proven production processes.”