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Electric Mercedes Galore Competing In Austrian E-Car Rally

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Mercedes-Benz and smart at the Silvretta E-Car Rallye 2012

Mercedes-Benz and smart at the Silvretta E-Car Rallye 2012

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Daimler might only have one full production electric car at the moment, in the shape of the 2013 smart fortwo electric drive, but the company has been experimenting with several other electric vehicles over the past few years.

Many of these are set to compete in the third Silvretta E-Car Rallye, a three-day run through the scenic mountains of Austria, where cars and drivers will face steep inclines, tight corners and long stages.

Daimler is entering a total of seven electric vehicles this year. The 2013 smart fortwo electric drive will make its first appearance with two entries, its more powerful electric motor and longer range now making it more suitable for the event than its predecessors.

Next up on the Daimler ladder is the Mercedes-Benz A Class E-Cell. Though not based on the new A Class shown at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in March, the E-Cell demonstrates the capabilities of a small electric Mercedes, the batteries handily slotted into the car's sandwich floor--so interior space is uncompromized by the drivetrain. Range is 124 miles and the electric motor produces 95-horsepower. Like the smart, Mercedes will field two entries.

Stepping up in size once more, Mercedes is also fielding two B Class F-Cell cars. As the name suggests, this is a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle, capable of delivering just under 250 miles of range, with a 136-horsepower electric motor providing the motive force. As with the A Class, the F-Cell is now based on the previous generation of B Class, but Mercedes reckons the car is already suitable for daily use.

Topping Daimler's list of electric entries is the rather more vivid SLS AMG E-Cell, which you'll be familiar with from its auto show appearances. With 525 horsepower and 649 pounds-feet of torque, we've no doubt the SLS will be challenging for overall honors on the rally.

More unusual than all the vehicles will be brief appearances from a much smaller member of the Daimler electric stable--the smart ebike. Though not technically competing, the company will demonstrate the ebike's suitability in road conditions, and the ease by which it can climb hills compared to its more old-fashioned, solely pedal-powered counterparts.

The Silvretta E-Car Rallye begins today, and finishes on July 7th.

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