While reading the many year-in-review articles popping up online, one theme sticks out from the automobile industry of 2014: a fixed gaze on the future of mobility. More than any other year previously, this year featured a ton of news on autonomous vehicles and alternative energy, and Mercedes-Benz has been right at the heart of both discussions.
We’re at the end of the year and they aren’t slowing down at all. Word is out this week of Mercedes-Benz’s plans to take on Tesla. Reports indicate an ambitious investment of more than $2 billion in a new sub-brand called “Ecoluxe,” which would provide for four models on two platforms.
Current estimates call for a small 106-inch platform and a larger 118-inch platform, easily making room for a sedan and a crossover. These will be bespoke electric vehicles because it’s Mercedes-Benz. They only do things one way and that is with plenty of options for premium personage. Again, this is the future we’re talking about, so you wouldn’t see any of these cars until 2019.
As for autonomy, Mercedes-Benz recognizes that the cars of the future will not only drive differently, they will also be sat in differently. While manually driving a vehicle becomes an optional part of the experience, designers at Mercedes-Benz have envisioned an interior space that adapts to the needs of the passengers.
Concept art shows seats that can turn to face each other with a retractable coffee table in the middle. These images were revealed at an “Autonomous Mobility” event several weeks ago, along with a statement:
“Autonomous vehicles will be commonplace and socially accepted in the cities of the future. This new dimension in mobility will be accompanied by social and technical changes. With the new luxury-class interior concept, the car of the future will be more than purely a means of transport – rather, it will become a variable and private area of retreat in increasingly dense urban traffic. By virtue of this new form of travel, the occupants of autonomous vehicles will have the freedom to put their time spent traveling to even more varied use.”
Bold words for an equally bold vision.
If you’re in Durham and interested in a fine Mercedes-Benz vehicle, come visit us at Mercedes-Benz of Cary. We can’t wait to see you.