Mercedes-Benz is the latest luxury automaker to debut its first all-electric vehicle in a bid both to recapture market share taken by Tesla and to be positioned for the new mobility era of automobiles.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is an all-electric compact crossover in all-wheel drive.
In addition to the Tesla Model X SUV, the market is about to be inundated with all-electric vehicles from every major luxury brand. The 2019 Jaguar i-Pace compact crossover will be available at the end of this year, Audi will introduce the e-tron quattro SUV in two weeks, BMW will have an all-electric version of the X3 compact crossover this year and the Porsche Taycan all-electric performance sedan will face off against the Tesla Model S next year. Even Bentley has plans for an all-electric ultraluxury sedan by 2020.
Forthcoming models such as the Mercedes-Benz EQC will underpin most automakers’ electric vehicle product lines.
“Electric drive is a major component in the mobility of the future,” Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement at the compact crossover’s debut in Stockholm on Tuesday.
The decision to launch the EQC in Sweden promotes its all-wheel drive capability and all-weather performance. Testing in subzero temperatures was intended to allay worries about battery power loss and reduced range in extreme cold. Dual motors on either axle are powered by an 80 kWh battery pack. The front motor is for cruising or lighter loads, while the rear motor helps unleash all 402-horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque. It is expected to have a range of 200 miles and hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
Scandinavia also inspired the design of the small crossover.
It seats five and looks like other small crossovers in the GLA family but with a more sloped roofline and a muted rear end. The black panel grille is “a new look for a new era,” Zetsche said at the launch.
“Exterior is all about less complexity and less frills … for a sleek and minimalist design,” Zetsche said. “Swedish architecture generally is all about clean and clear appearance on the outside, and lots of warm and natural materials on the inside.”
We won’t know about the interior warmth until its late 2019 delivery for model year 2020.
It will have available driver assistance systems, the latest in Mercedes infotainment multimedia systems, and other advanced technology.
Mercedes is not just aiming at Tesla, but competing against every other luxury brand with an all-electric vehicle on the market or coming to market.
Available this fall, the 2019 Jaguar i-Pace small AWD crossover has a 90 kWh battery making 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque, good for a 240-mile range and 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds. It starts just under $70,000.
Tesla Model X is the only three-row all-electric SUV in three different battery configurations. The 75 kWh all-wheel-drive variant has a range of 237 miles and hits 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. It starts just over $80,000 but the $7,500 federal electric vehicle tax credit will be rolled back for Tesla buyers at the end of this year, making it relatively more expensive.
Expect the Mercedes-Benz EQC to start in the $70,000 range. Pricing and more details will be announced nearer the late 2019 release date.
(Article written by Robert Duffer)