We’re ushered into a cavernous hall somewhere in Frankfurt, Germany. The place could fit a few soccer pitches, but inside it’s completely empty save for two mysterious spiral-shaped rooms. Entering them, the lights are suddenly bright and it feels like we’ve stumbled into an alternate universe. In the centre of each room is the gleaming new EQS SUV, the brand’s first big all-electric sport utility.
After nearly 100 years of making some of the best dino-juice-powered automobiles in the world, Mercedes is going all-in on EVs. By 2030, the company’s CEO says the firm will be ready to sell only electric vehicles — if that’s what customers around the world want. (That’s a pretty big “if” admittedly.)
While we were in Germany, looking at Merc’s new electric SUV, we got the scoop on it and all the other electric vehicles you can expect to see in Mercedes-Benz showrooms in 2022 and 2023.
The Big One
The EQS SUV — not to be confused with the EQS sedan — will naturally go head-to-head with other big electric utes like the Tesla Model X and Rivian’s upcoming R1S. And, since the EQS SUV has seating for up to seven, it’s also a genuine alternative to big gas-hungry family haulers that are so popular in Canada these days. Compared to the Tesla, the Mercedes is longer but narrower. Sorry, there’s no front-trunk (no frunk!) but there is room for up to 2,100-litres of stuff in the cavernous trunk.
“Its seamless design,” said Bastian Baudy, who was responsible for the exterior design. “We wanted to make it pure and futuristic.” The design team took inspiration from electronic products and devices, he added.
There’s no official price or EPA driving-range rating yet, but we expect the top-of-the-line 2023 EQS 580 4Matic SUV will run you around $150,000 and have a range approaching 550 km. (The range will be slightly less than the equivalent EQS sedan.) A less expensive 450 4Matic model will also be on offer. Fast-charging at 200 kW means refilling the battery from 10 to 80 per cent takes just 31 minutes, assuming you can find a suitable public charging station. The EQS SUV will arrive in Canada in the fourth quarter of 2022.
The EQS sedan lead the charge for Mercedes’ EV offensive. When it landed in Canadian showrooms earlier this year, it became the first all-electric Mercedes on offer here.
Although this is the company’s flagship EV, it’s not an S-Class stuffed with batteries, because that would’ve been too easy for Mercedes. No, the EQS was designed from scratch as an EV on an all-new dedicated electric platform. That’s why the sedan’s design is so radical. Where the S-Class needs to make room under the hood for a big engine, the EQS doesn’t. Electric motors are tiny. So the cabin could be pushed forward, granting more interior space from a smaller vehicle.
There’s only one model available at the moment: the 580 4Matic, which starts at $146,500 and is good for 547 km of range. When it comes to range, you should know Mercedes’ EPA ratings seem to be very conservative. In real-world testing by Edmunds, the EQS comfortably beat its EPA rating by more than 100 kilometres.
A smaller 7-seater
The EQB is a compact all-electric SUV, the baby brother of the EQS SUV. Despite its compact dimensions, Mercedes somehow managed to squeeze seven seats into this thing. (The third row is best suited for children or gymnasts though.) Unlike the other vehicles on this list, the EQB shares a platform with its combustion-engine cousin, the GLB.
The EQB should be arriving in Canada in the third-quarter of this year, and while we don’t have a price, we know this will be the most affordable electric Benz. Again, there’s no official EPA range rating yet, but expect around 350 to 400 km.
The mid-size sedan and SUV
The mid-size EQE sedan looks like an EQS that’s been shrunk in the wash, although to our eyes the smaller car actually looks better proportioned. The wheels are really pushed to the corners, giving it — dare we say — a bit of a Lucid Air vibe. The sedan will be available either late this year, or early next year in Canada. We estimate it’ll be priced comfortably under $100,000. The big 90.6 kWh battery is good for “more than 300 miles” of driving range. Following the EQE sedan will be — you guessed it — an EQE SUV. It’ll provide some competition to the BMW iX, Audi e-tron and Tesla Model Y.
And much, much more
We already know there will be high-performance AMG versions of the EQS and EQE. The former will have 751 horsepower, and it isn’t even the most powerful EV Mercedes has in the works. Speaking recently to a top executive from AMG, we learned the brand is working on its own dedicated all-electric platform for high-performance models. The new model we’re most hyped for, however, is the all-electric G-Wagon, the EQG, which should arrive in “a few years.”
In other Mercedes EV news, the company recently proved its EQXX concept car could cover more than 1,000 km on a single battery charge, in a road trip that took it from Stuttgart to the port town of Cassis in the south of France.