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Mercedes sees a future where electric, autonomous cars like this ferry us aboutReuters

Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, is to launch between six and nine all-new electric cars in the coming years. The move will be a counterstrike against Tesla, which has taken an early lead in the electric car market, and VW Group members like Audi.

The first of these cars will be revealed at the Paris motor show at the end of September, just two months after Mercedes said it plans to accelerate development of premium electric cars to compete against Tesla.

Based in California, Tesla currently sells the Model S saloon car and Model X sports utility vehicle. They are two of the quickest-accelerating cars in the world, but can also travel for over 200 miles between charges, drive themselves on motorways, and receive free over-the-air software updates like smartphones do.

News of Mercedes working on between six and nine electric cars comes from a source of Reuters. The same source also said Mercedes is planning to launch a plug-in hybrid SUV, which will have a battery pack to drive it for around 30 miles, then power would be fed to the motor from an onboard hydrogen fuel cell

An earlier report from German trade magazine Automobilwoche cited Daimler sources who said the company would bring more than six different models of electric car to market between 2018 and 2024.

Meanwhile, Tesla is currently taking orders for the Model 3, a budget electric car expected to cost from around £30,000. The car will go into mass production in 2017 and will be followed by a vehicle dubbed the Model Y, a smaller SUV based on the same chassis. After these, Tesla boss Elon Musk plans to produce an electric pick-up truck, as well as electric lorries for emissions-free haulage.