Mercedes Benz has yet to fully embrace the EV revolution. Although it has some battery powered models, they are not built on a dedicated electric car platform. That will change in 2021 when the company begins offering cars based on a new dedicated electric car platform that is scalable in every aspect. It can be modified to suit a number of models with different lengths and widths, both sedans and SUVs. Developing such a flexible electric car platform rather than repurposing existing chassis that rely on gasoline or diesel engines is the first step in transitioning away from manufacturing the vehicles of the past to those of the future.
Mercedes has released photos showing some of upcoming electric cars it says will be joining its product lineup shortly. The EQA is scheduled to begin production before the end of this year with the EQB following shortly thereafter. They will be similar in size to their internal combustion engine equivalents, the GLA and GLB, according to Driving.
The first car built on the new chassis architecture will be the EQS, which will be equivalent to the iconic S Class sedan. That car will start production next year and is currently undergoing testing in various locations around the world, says EV Obsession. “The EQS has already piled up far more than two million test kilometres from the heat of South Africa to the cold of Northern Sweden,” according to Christoph Starzynski, vice president for electric vehicle architecture at Mercedes. “The EQS will be the S-Class of electric vehicles. That is why it is undergoing the same demanding development program as any other vehicle that has the privilege of proudly bearing the three-pointed star.”
The big news about the EQS is a suggestion by the company that it will have a range of up to 700 kilometers (435 miles) on a single battery charge as measured by the WLTP standard, making it one of the longest range electric sedans in the world. It will be interesting to see how its EPA rating compares to that of the Tesla Model S, which already exceeds the 400 mile number. Following the EQS will be the EQE business sedan and both will have SUV variants at some point in the future.
What really has the automotive world buzzing, though, is a teaser photo of a sleek coupe currently known as the Vision EQXX, which the company says will have a range of 1200 kilometers (750 miles). There are plans to drive a prototype of that car from Beijing to Shanghai — a distance of 753 miles — without recharging. There are no plans to produce such a car at present. Rather, its development is more of a technology exercise designed to allow Mercedes engineers to test the limits of what is possible.
Mercedes is one of the legacy automakers that is faced with a stark reality — promoting electric cars to fulfill the legal requirements in place in Europe and China while still preserving its lucrative position as one of the premier manufacturers of conventional cars. It’s a tough straddle and one that may eventually fail. The company plans for its entire fleet to be carbon neutral by 2039 and that half the cars it sells by the end of this decade will be electrified, a term that includes plug-in hybrid vehicles. In the final analysis, those goals may be too little, too late.