EQC, the first model for EQ, is built at the Bremen plant on the same line as the C-Class, GLC and GLC Coupé
According to Daimler, EQ is meant to be an abbreviation for “Electric Intelligence”. While it is also now used as a prefix for battery-electric smart cars as well as for powertrains in Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG partially electrified cars and SUVs, this report centres on models which are fully electric, bespoke EQ vehicles.
With the EQC now on sale, Daimler is readying the roll-out of additional models. What should be called EQA is due to reach European dealerships during 2020. Unlike the Bremen-made SUV, this model will be manufactured in France.
Just over a year ago, Daimler told us about its intentions to spend half a billion euro at the smartville plant. The money is to modify the factory, which is in Hambach, for the production of an electric Mercedes-Benz.
“With the production of a compact electric car in Hambach, we are adding further capacities for our electric initiative at six locations on three continents. The smart plant in Hambach will become a part of our global compact car production network with the lead plant Rastatt, Germany”, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain stated in May 2018. The production network of the new generation of compact cars includes the plant in Kecskemét (Hungary), the BBAC production site in Beijing, the COMPAS plant in Aguascalientes (Mexico) as well as the Finnish manufacturing service provider Valmet Automotive.
Preparations for the new model at smartville started shortly after the announcement. Some of the EUR500m is being spent on a new body shop and expanded assembly facilities. The specifics of the EQA are not yet known but it should turn out to be a C segment five-door hatchback. Expect a prototype to turn up as a world debut at the IAA cars in September. A concept with this name premiered at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show.
The EQC, which is so far available only in high-priced EQC400 form, is a 4,761mm long electric SUV which weighs a hefty 2.5 tonnes. Its competitors are or will be the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, Polestar 2, Tesla Model Y and BMW iX3.
The powertrain consists of one motor operating on each axle with combined outputs of 300kW (408PS or 402hp) and maximum torque of 564 lb-ft. The claimed range was at first stated as being up to 200 miles (according to the USA’s EPA) but then recanted and a new figure of up to 279 miles (NEDC) was announced. The top speed is limited to 180km/h (112mph).
The modular format, 650kg, 80kWh (NEDC/WLTP) battery pack consists of 384 cells (2 x 48 plus 4 x 72) and is positioned in the vehicle floor, between the two axles.
Daimler developed an adaptation of MRA, its RWD/AWD architecture, as the basis for this and multiple other future EVs. This platform is scalable and usable across models: the wheelbase and track width as well as all other system components, especially the batteries, are variable. The basic architecture, a multi-material mix of steel, aluminium and carbon fibre, is suitable for SUVs, saloons, coupés, cabriolets and other model series, Daimler says.
The cells for this and other plug-in Mercedes-Benz models are sourced from Daimler’s own battery factory in Germany. This plant having some difficulties ramping up production is said to be the reason why series production of the EQC at the Bremen plant was delayed from April until the third quarter. Some cars were with owners from mid-year but the majority of orders will not begin to be filled until the fourth quarter and there won’t be any cars for the US market until 2020. Build will also take place in China via the Beijing-Benz joint venture.
A large electric sedan is under development, the then Daimler CEO told journalists in April last year. Speaking at the media preview of the third generation A-Class, Dieter Zetsche hinted that the car would be around the same size as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It should be a rival to the Tesla Model S, Jaguar XJ successor and Audi e-tron GT.
Whether the EQS will be a sedan or a hatchback is not yet known. The prototypes which have been photographed have a low roof and what appears to be a hatchback but it could instead be a bootlid in the style of the Tesla Model 3. The platform will be Daimler’s EV-specific EVA.
Also due for launch in 2020 is the EQV. The production version of this competitor for the eventual production version of Volkswagen’s I.D. Buzz concept premiered as a prototype called Concept EQV at this year’s Geneva motor show.
The fully electric MPV/minivan will be based on the existing V-Class rather than using Mercedes’ bespoke EVs architecture. The production model should be a world premiere at the Frankfurt IAA Cars in September. The vehicle upon which the EQV is to be based is already past the mid-point of the manufacturing cycle, so it will probably only be in production for three years.
Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future product program intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE. That includes other models not in this reports, such as the EQB, EQD and EQE.
This was the fifth of five features in a series which looked at the passenger vehicle brands of Daimler AG. The previous ones were on Denza, smart and Mercedes-Maybach; Mercedes-Benz Cars; Mercedes-Benz SUVs; and Mercedes-AMG. The next OEM to have its future models strategy examined will be McLaren Automotive.