A first look at Mercedes-Benz's Generation EQ concept EV

It wants to take on Tesla, but won't start manufacturing until 2019.

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    On the first Sunday of each month, you can't drive a car in Paris -- not unless it's electric. That's a trend that might just catch on elsewhere, judging by the fact that rival Tesla has pre-sold over 300,000 Model 3 EVs. So, Mercedes is suddenly taking this electric car thing very seriously with a new initiative called Generation EQ. Fittingly, the German company launched it at the Paris Auto Show with a concept car that's essentially a preview of its future electric tech.

    The platform can be used on a wide range of EVs, whether they're SUV or coupe-sized, thanks to the module components and battery packs. It also sports autonomous tech that can talk to other cars on the road and intelligent mapping that helps you find a charging station or parking spot. It's also got typical concept stuff like cameras instead of mirrors, screens everywhere and cool, but uncomfortable-looking seats. The biggest problem is the timeline: Mercedes probably should have announced a program like this a couple years ago, and the first vehicles won't be manufactured until 2019.

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