Daimler's Mercedes-Benz division may follow in fellow German automaker BMW's footsteps by launching its own separate brand for electric vehicles, Hybrid Cars says, citing German publication Handelsblatt, which quoted people familiar with the process. Daimler's board may make the decision to go ahead with the plan as early next month. And the brand may officially be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in September.

Unlike BMW and the i brand, Mercedes would use its existing factories to produce the newly-branded vehicles instead of operating out of a separate one as the i brand does. The first vehicle under the brand is likely to be an SUV model based on the Mercedes-Benz GLC crossover vehicle and would start sales next year. The product line would be broadened further in 2020. Daimler declined to comment, according to Handelsblatt.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW wouldn't be the only two German automakers with plans for more electric vehicle sales. Volkswagen has a plan to unleash as many as 20 electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to the public by 2020, including the Phaeton and the Audi A8. On that note, reports surfaced last month that VW may build its own "Gigafacory" as it prepares to widen its plug-in vehicle push and bring down their costs.

As for US sales, Smart sold 313 ForTwo Electric vehicles, down 43 percent from a year earlier. Meanwhile, BMW's i sales in the US fell 40 percent from a year earlier to 2,723. Currently, Mercedes-Benz's only two electric vehicles are the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive and the Smart ForTwo Electric two-seat vehicle.

In the meantime, take a look at Autoblog's First Drive of the B-Class Electric.

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