Notice the good photo quality from Google Glass, by the way?
Mercedes aims to have this car available for sale, at least in California, in the first half of 2014. The price has not yet been set, but I imagine it will be below $50,000 -- even before tax incentives.
Mercedes has stated the range will be at least approximately 100 miles. This would put it in the same league as the equally Tesla-based
RAV4 EV -- but well below Tesla's own models. Of course, Tesla's own models start around $70,000.
That said, Mercedes had better hope this Tesla-based electric mini-minivan will help mitigate the hemorrhaging in sales away from S-Class to Tesla's corner. It would be hard to argue that what's happened to premium car sales in Silicon Valley isn't eventually going to happen in other geographies as well, at least to some degree, with perhaps a two- to three-year lag.
In the near term, Mercedes is living high on the hog selling less-expensive cars. It is in the process of launching many new cars this year priced under $50,000, some starting at or near $30,000.
That will probably continue to mask the sales of higher-end cars to Tesla for another year or two -- just like radiation can help keep the cancer away for a while. Maybe.
Eventually, though, the specter of a Tesla priced at or even below $40,000 a few years down the road has to scare Mercedes stiff. Hence, the importance of getting this all-electric car to market as soon as possible.
Behind the scenes, Mercedes is surely preparing an onslaught of more all-electric and plug-in hybrids that will hit the market no later than the 2016-18 timeframe. Little is known about these -- except the logic that they will have to span the entire Mercedes range and that without them the company could face total collapse in the face of Tesla's superior products.
Mercedes has been open about its intent to launch the Tesla-based Mercedes in 2014. It has talked about it and shown it to journalists at a controlled event in New York City. However, in real-life traffic, it's been a bit too slippery for the cameras.
That is, until Google Glass came in handy the other day.
Tesla 1, Mercedes 0
Also: Google Glass 1, Mercedes 0
We look forward to driving the Tesla-based electric Mercedes no later than early 2014. Hopefully, it perform extremely well and be priced attractively.
At the time of publication the author was long GOOG.
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.