Arnold Schwarzenegger, known for his action flicks and tenure as the Governor of California, loves his big, rugged SUVs (and, yes, even tanks). At the same time, he supports (in very strong words) clean energy and clean cars. As such, he teamed up with his countrymen at Austrian outfit Kreisel Electric to create the Mercedes-Benz G-Class EV you see in the video above.
While attending the Hahnenkamm ski race in Kitzbuehel, Austria, the Governator took a test drive of his new Mercedes-Benz G350d EV conversion. He helped imagine this over-the-top G-Wagen, and his friends at Kreisel installed the electric powertrain. The final product is a powerful, luxury SUV with 186 miles of driving range. "This amazing off-road vehicle as a clean and fast electric car? A dream has become real!" says Schwarzenegger.
Battery packs totaling a capacity of 80 kWh sit under the hood and in the rear where the fuel tank used to be. The car is capable of up to 150-kW charging, which Kreisel says juices the batteries to 80 percent in just 25 minutes. Despite weighing well over 5,000 pounds (the batteries alone weigh 1,124 pounds), the Junior star's newest toy can do 0-62 mph in a respectable 5.6 seconds thanks to a pair of electric motors producing a combined 360 kW - about 482 horsepower.
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Replacing a diesel powertrain with an electric one is a particularly fitting metaphor for the direction mobility is headed. Especially in Europe, where diesel is popular and regulations are tightening, automakers are looking to produce more EVs. While this G-Wagen is a prototype, Schwarzenegger will be driving it around California, providing Kreisel with valuable feedback (and publicity) for its development of electric powertrains. Like a number of other automakers and parts suppliers, Kreisel sees a business opportunity in the growth of electrification, and is even looking beyond transportation to stationary energy storage as well.
For the rest of us, we get to enjoy seeing one of our favorite action stars get excited peeking under the hood of an electric freakin' G-Class.
Mercedes-Benz G63 Test Drive: