Electric vehicles tend to be designed with a certain customer in mind, and typically this imagined buyer is probably bookish, possibly vegan and mostly concerned with getting around in maximum efficiency. Tesla shook up this stereotype a bit with its speedy sports cars, but the new Kreisel customized Mercedes G 350 d with a fully electric drive train adds another dimension to the image of the prospective EV buyer.
The project came together thanks in part to a high-profile design partner and stakeholder: Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California governor drives a Mercedes G in the U.S., but along with Kreisel, had a desire to create a version of his beloved car that also meshed with his values and priorities when it comes to seeking out renewable energy alternatives wherever possible.
“To me, with the electric version of this fantastic car, a dream has become true”, Schwarzenegger said in a press release revealing the vehicle. “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.”
Yes, that’s right: The man who played Harry Tasker is the official test driver for the first converted Mercedes G, and he’s doing to be helping with further design and development happening stateside in partnership with Austria-based Kreisel Electric.
This first prototype was built in just two months, and carries a “realistic” maximum range of 300 kilometres, which is impressive for a vehicle whose frame isn’t designed for maximum EV efficiency. It’s powered by an 80 kWh battery, and the car also claimed a 3 second faster 0 to 60 mph time of around 5.6 seconds, when compared to its gas-guzzling V6 progenitor. It also supports fast charging, recouping 80 percent of its capacity in just 25 minutes.
It’s a very cool retrofit, and hopefully one that willing buyers can eventually pick up as a (likely expensive) aftermarket modification. Kreisel is currently building a factory for large-scale production of its electric battery packs for use by automotive OEMs and other clients, so this is more of a side project. But the Gubernator gets what the Gubernator wants.