Will get a 310-mile range EV on sale by 2020.

Mercedes-Benz is ramping up development of electric cars as the market for plug-in vehicles grows increasingly rapidly.

CEO of parent company Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, said: “We are adjusting our planning in this field. It is very important to get the right timing. As a tendency, and as a trend, we have become more bullish in that regard."

Zetsche’s remarks come as rival premium carmakers Tesla and Audi are similarly increasing research and development spending on electric cars.

Mercedes is expected to reveal more about its EV plans at the Paris Motor Show in October. Last month, Chief Development Officer Thomas weber said Mercedes display a concept  EV with a range of 500 kilometers (310 miles) at the Paris show. He added that a production version would go on sale by 2020.

As a result of its EV plans, Mercedes expects to increase its research and development spending to a level "significantly above" 2015's total of €6.6 billion ($7.2 billion), itself an increase on the €5.7 billion ($6.3 billion) spent in 2014.  

According to Mercedes, that increased spend will go towards developing new low-emission and fuel-efficient engines, a new generation of batteries, new drive systems technology, and autonomous driving systems. 

Mercedes also plans to become the best-selling luxury carmaker in the world by the end of the decade. "We believe we can overtake BMW and Audi before 2020," Zetsche said.

Source: Automotive News Europe