Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off the Generation EQ concept at the Paris auto show, previewing a new brand of electric vehicles. Named for “electric intelligence,” the very first concept of the lineup takes the form of a crossover using an architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models and incorporating all-wheel drive.
The EQ concept offers a range of 310 miles on a full charge and can sprint to 62 mph in under five seconds, Mercedes says. The wagon-like concept produces up to 402 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque; two electric motors on the front and rear axles power the crossover drawing power from a battery integrated deep in the floor and positioned between the two axles.
Mercedes says that the production version will offer inductive or traditional wallbox charging in addition to fast-charging capability, with five minutes of fast-charging at a planned level of 300kW yielding a range of 62 miles.
“In 2007, the e-smart was a pioneer of electric motoring,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “We’re now flipping the switch. We’re ready for the launch of an electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class.”
The EQ concept itself mixes SUV, coupe, crossover and shooting-brake design elements, though the full lineup is likely to consist of each one of these vehicles; this crossover won’t be the only body style even though the production version will closely resemble this concept. And of course, a scalable architecture will allow Mercedes to target existing models from Tesla and other automakers in every size category, allowing the automaker to field models large and small based on this platform alone.
“The mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared und Electric,” said Zetsche. “‘Generation EQ’ is the logical fusion of all four pillars. The emission-free automobile is the future. And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive electric ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations.”
The EQ can be viewed as Mercedes’ version of BMW’s i sub-brand for electrics and hybrids, but the Stuttgart-based automaker plans to launch a greater variety of models in shorter succession — and a pricey i8-style halo car is not likely to be one of those models, at least not from the start. As the Generation EQ concept demonstrates, Mercedes views its future electric lineup as a logical addition to its current one, which is why the concept that debuted in Paris this week does not significantly depart from the GLC-Class layout and size.
“Generation EQ is hot and cool. Its fascination lies in a reinterpretation of our design philosophy of sensual purity, the aim being to create an avant-garde, contemporary and distinctive electro-look,” said Gorden Wagener, head of design at Daimler AG. “At the same time, the design of the visionary show car, which has been reduced to the essentials, reveals an alluring progressivity.”
While the profile and greenhouse of the Generation EQ concept can be viewed as a sleeker reinterpretation of the GLC-Class, the front fascia features a distinctive, flowing design composed of glowing red lines surrounded by a metallic frame, hence the hot and cool look that Mercedes attempted to achieve. There are still plenty of concept-car elements here — absent door handles, cameras in place of mirrors — but the overall shape is not whimsical or impractical. The clean interior with a wide instrument panel that flows into the infotainment system, likewise, is an evolution of the latest Mercedes-Benz interiors, as seen in the 2017 E-Class.
2019 is when Mercedes plans to debut the production version of the car, by which time the Jaguar E-Pace and the Audi Q6 e-tron quattro will be out to keep it company at charging stations.