Published on March 28th, 2019 | by Maarten Vinkhuyzen0
Mercedes Catching Its Breath — #CleanTechnica @ Geneva Motor Show 2019
March 28th, 2019 by Maarten Vinkhuyzen
“Mercedes did not think it would go this fast. All is going to be electric.” That’s the heartfelt admission of a Mercedes person trying to explain what was on the stand.
I was inspecting the new V 300D, a large luxury MPV, asking why they launched a new diesel version while the internal combustion era was nearly over. Could it ever get to profitability? And where was the EQV, the fully electric version of this diesel mobile?
“The expected numbers for electric vehicles change so fast. Every few months they are higher.” This is not a Mercedes manager talking on the record, just a well-informed employee helping out at the motor show floor.
This is perhaps more significant than a manager reciting the approved communication lines. Some in the car industry are starting to see the world shifting. What was once solid ground, changed into a quagmire.
The only solace we can offer is our prediction about the Osborne effect, and asking how fast can a company can transition to electric car production. That last question was too difficult.
Mercedes did learn something from last year’s debacle, in which it replaced its electric offerings with a journalists’ bar and leaving nothing to write about, as far as the Mercedes electric future was concerned.
Prominent in the middle of the journalists’ lounge (bar would not do it justice) was the EQC. The journalists were swarming over it.
A little further away on the stand was another EQC, with a lot fewer journalists dripping saliva over it. Beside it was the EQV concept waiting to be noticed by the journalists. Its doors still locked — this was more a mock-up than a real concept car. The EQ electric offerings were positioned at the side of the Mercedes stand, adjacent to the Smart EQ stand, creating a natural transition from the old world to the new.
The EQC is an electric entry in the C-Class line from Mercedes. It is a bit higher and roomier than the standard sedans, and like most European cars, has a more wagon-like body. It was introduced officially early September 2018 in Stockholm — just two weeks before the unveiling of its big competitor, the Audi quatro e-tron. But unlike the Audi, which was expected to be in the showrooms before the end of the year, the EQC start of production was more than a year away.
Now, the important news from Geneva about Mercedes: The EQC is a great car. Jos took a lot of nice pictures. We did sit in it, and when you are on your third day of torturing your feet on the show’s floor, you get very critical about sitting. There is nothing wrong with sitting in the EQC, but it would be nice to sit in it while driving. A test drive is likely still a year away.
Some journalists and commenters compare it to the Tesla Model X, because it is SUVish. The better comparison is the Model 3 or the coming Model Y. In that comparison, Mercedes is about traditional luxury, perhaps a bit boring luxury, but nonetheless. It feels like top-of-the-line quality with all the newest technology you might like. The public is used to paying a premium for the star on the hood, so the ~€20,000 premium over a comparable Tesla is likely not a big problem for Mercedes customers.
To the more critical and nerdy customers, though, this EQC might be a hard sell. With a battery larger and heavier than the Model 3 Long Range battery, you get the Model 3 Standard Range Plus range and performance. On the plus side, the battery is modular, easily expandable to the size that suits you the best.
To me, this is a needed potentially well selling addition to the electric vehicle marketplace.
This is the first in the EQ line for Mercedes-Benz, unless you count the electrification of Daimler’s Smart brand. We can expect EQx offerings for all Mercedes classes.
There will be the EQA (2020) and the EQB (2021), both in the Mercedes A-Class — a 5 seat high sedan/CUV and a 7 seat SUV with the same electric battery and engine, respectively.
The EQS, to be launched at the same time as the new S-Class, is like the EQA planned for 2020. It will be smaller at the outside, but at least as spacious on the inside as the gasoline/diesel members of its class, thanks to the electric drivetrain beneath the floor.
The E-Class will get its electric counterparts in 2021 and 2022, the EQE and EQGLE, respectively.
One vehicle in a new class with the code name Ecoluxe will be a 5+ meter giant, long-range, luxury SUV. The first of this new type, it will be expensive and at least 2 years out. It could be a Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade competitor, or something else completely.
If Mercedes does have enough battery supply, it could be ready just in time to have new models when the Osborne effect eliminates the demand for the old gasoline and diesel offerings.
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