Schwarzenegger’s idea for the electric G-Class was fuelled by both his love for cars and the environment.
Arnold Schwarzenegger a.k.a ‘Mr. Olympia’, has just entered his 70’s but is still widely regarded as the greatest bodybuilder of all time. He put the sport on the map with his iconic physique and infectious personality. Schwarzenegger later used his charisma to smash into Hollywood, which is to be taken figuratively not literally. His success on screen was massive, just like him. These puns are too easy!
In his long and accomplished career, the bodybuilder/cult hero surprised many with his decision to run for governor of California, back in 2003. Which leads us to the next stage of this article, Schwarzenegger’s love for cars and the environment. His love for the latter is in part the reason he went into politics, Schwarzenegger wanted use his power and influence to help change public opinion and culture on environmental issues. He was, and is, still shocked at the level of pollution in California “When I came over to the U.S in 1968, I had tears in my eyes when I saw the smog over L.A”, he said.
Now comes the next stage, Schwarzenegger’s love for cars. Arnold wants to combine these passions for the greater good by encouraging people to drive electric cars. He wants to help this by convincing reputable car manufacturers to convert their popular cars to electric. This is because he doesn’t believe people like the way traditional electric cars look, and neither does he.
So in 2016, Schwarzenegger teamed up with an Austrian startup called Kreisel Electric that convert popular cars to electric power. They collaborated with Schwarzenegger’s Mercedes G-Class, a state of the art off-road wagon. This is part of Schwarzenegger’s belief, that electric cars need to look good to win in order to over the public, “I want to prove to the world that it is not the car that is pollutive, it is the technology under the hood that is the polluter”, he says.
It is the fusion of Schwarzenegger’s passions that fuels his dream, but it is a collaboration of both corporation and community that will fulfil it. Firstly, car manufacturers need to keep pushing the envelope forward in electric innovation, but just as salient, electric cars need to be affordable. It is economic accessibility that will capture the the attention of the public, the technological innovation will then demand it.
This particular G Class had its normal factory engine stripped out of the hood and replaced with a 360 KW twin electric battery. The electric power does not sacrifice the cars original capabilities, the electric engine produces 500 horsepower and the wagon can reach 0-100 kmh in just 5.6 seconds. That is 3 seconds faster than its factory engine! All helped by the electric engine being 50% lighter. The wagon also has an electric all-wheel drive system and can charge its 150kW battery extremely quickly when going downhill, meaning that it can go for up to 305 kilometres before needing to recharge.
It is unclear how successful this collaboration will be until the level of public interest becomes clearer but Schwarzenegger is off to a good start and is helping pave the way for a greener environment. The Kreisel converted G-Class is a great benchmark for this movement, although at a cost of $1 million the price point is not viable for the average driver, thus complicating Schwarzenegger’s vision.
Regardless, Schwarzenegger set out to prove to people that it is the engine that is the polluter, not the driver. With his efforts to convert the Mercedes G-Class wagon, he certainly did that and showed that this is an alternative option out there for people who can afford it. Affordable or not, it remains worthy and useful.