Daimler will fight Tesla with 'at least' six electric cars

It's stepping up its EV game to avoid being left out.

Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It looks like Daimler's plans to fight Tesla are even more ambitious than first thought. Reuters sources understand that the German automaker is working on "at least" six electric cars, and might introduce as many as nine. The exact roster isn't public, but Daimler's central Mercedes-Benz brand had previously talked about making two sedans and two SUVs. Automobilwoche tipsters claim that the focus will be on crossovers and SUVs, although there would also be compact cars and sedans.

The Reuters scoop also hears that there will be a plug-in hybrid SUV that relies on a hydrogen fuel cell when its 30-mile electric range runs out. That would theoretically give you the added range of a fuel-based car without the environmental impact of gasoline.

You may have to wait a while to see many of these vehicles when the Automobilwoche leak suggests that these EVs might arrive between 2018 and 2024. Having said this, it appears that Daimler has already anticipated the next phase of Tesla's strategy (as well as those of rivals like Audi). Like its American counterpart, it's not content to rely on one or two niche models anymore -- it knows that electric cars have to pervade its lineup if it wants to thrive.