Arnold Schwarzenegger spotlights fully-electric Mercedes G-Wagon

Renowned actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger will test drive a prototype of a fully-electrified, off-road Mercedes G 350d as part of a development agreement with Austrian battery specialist Kreisel Electric.

The Terminator star has been conversing with Kreisel Electric for two months over plans to modify the traditional diesel vehicle, which Schwarzenegger owns, to allow electric vehicles (EVs) to finally explore off road capabilities. Last week marked the first time that the electric version of the vehicle had been presented to the public.

Unveiled at the Hahnenkamm ski race in Kitzebuehel, Austria, the Mercedes has been fitted with an 80Kwh battery that weighs 510kg. Numerous electric motors with reduction gears have been installed and the vehicle can reach a top speed of 183km/h.

While the traditional diesel motor, fitted with a v6-engine, can reach 100km/h in 8.8 seconds, Kreisel Electric has claimed that the electric version can reach this speed three seconds faster. The vehicle can also be charged to 80% of its capacity in 25 minutes.

For Schwarzenegger, the performance capabilities, which includes a driving range of 300km, are “a dream come true” and the actor will now test drive the prototype in Los Angeles in order to develop and examine performance further.

“To me, with the electric version of this fantastic car, a dream has become true”, Schwarzenegger said. “The initial test drive was a real pleasure: The Kreisel is incredibly sporty and perfectly benefits from the advantages e-mobility has to offer. I really look forward to the following test runs and to the gradual further development in California.”

The off-road vehicle was developed by Kreisel Electric in just two months. The “Kreisel battery” is segmented throughout the car; located under the bonnet, in the rear and replacing the fuel tank under the entry. Kreisel has claimed that gradeability and comfort functions are still fully accessible in the electrified version.

“In the US, Arnold has been driving the well-liked off-road vehicle, which is produced in Graz (Austria), for decades. Together we came up with the idea to modify this Mercedes and turn it into an electric vehicle which is ecological but dashing.” Kreisel Electric’s member of management Christian Schlögl said. “Ever since Schwarzenegger’s activities as governor of California, his engagement for renewable energies and electromobility has continued tirelessly.”

Pumping lithium-ion

The film star has battled an array on sci-fi enemies on the silver screen but the 38th Governor of California knows that climate change is one of the most severe threats that our world faces. Schwarzenegger was chosen by the French government to join Nobel prize-winners, philosophers, UN secretary generals, spiritual leaders and theologians to make the moral case for the world to act urgently on climate change. 

Schwarzenegger has been a regular at events hosted by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which aim to boost support for the Foundation’s mission of preserving wildlife and protecting the lives of those who inhabit the earth.

Mercedes has been working quietly to revamp classic models into EVs. The car maker wants the Benz model to take on Tesla and unveiled a host of new EV designs at last year’s Paris Motor Show. The show revealed that a new Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ concept EV is in the works, with a manufacturing timeframe scheduled for 2019. The Generation EQ design can be fitted across a variety of vehicles and will also support autonomous features.

edie’s innovation month

The month of January sees edie shift the editorial spotlight to green innovation, with a series of exclusive interviews, features and podcasts running throughout the month to celebrate the very best of emerging clean technologies and low-carbon systems.

Change will not happen without genuine innovation and so this month will explore the bleeding edge where change is really happening. From emerging tech to new business models; breakthrough approaches and creative leaders, we’ll shine the spotlight on the real game-changers and sort the facts from the fads.

Read all of edie’s innovation content here.

Matt Mace

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