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MERCEDES SHOWS ITS EQ

The Three-Pointed Star’s SA EV Strategy Revealed |

Mercedes-Benz started the year off with a bang as the local manufacturer announced its electrification strategy and new model launch calendar for 2022.

This year will likely go down in South African automotive history as the year of the advent of electric mobility. While we do have a smattering of electrics from Nissan, Jaguar and BMW roaming our streets already, a host of manufacturers are poised to introduce their range of electric cars, alongside their electrification and infrastructure strategy for the future. 

Mercedes-Benz South Africa unveiled their plans, alongside a host of new model reveal dates for 2022, while also welcoming their new President of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Mark Raine, to the helm of the South African operation.

At a press event in Sandton, Johannesburg, in January, Mercedes gave **Driven** the opportunity to sample the EQC, and unwrapped their first official EQ offering, the compact EQA that is scheduled for local launch during the second quarter.

A BIG YEAR FOR MERCEDES

Apart from unveiling the EQA and EQC, Mercedes-Benz SA also detailed their roll-out strategy for additional new EQ models in 2022. Having come to the electrification party a tad late globally, and trailing behind all-electric brand Tesla in Germany and other European markets, Mercedes needs to push their EQ sub-brand exceptionally hard in all markets if they intend to make good on their promise to discontinue internal combustion engines by 2039.

Key takeaways from the briefing include that Mercedes has partnered with the leader in local electrification infrastructure development, GridCars, who currently has the most extensive (read only) electrical charging grid in the land. Also, a complimentary WallBox home charging solution will be included with the purchase of each new EQ model, to be installed at your home or office. Although Mercedes-Benz will be installing 36 charging points at their dealerships across the country, most users are likely to charge up at home overnight; another advantage of EVs over internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.

DRIVING THE EQC

Mercedes made the EQ400 available to test during the reveal, with driving opportunities limited to 15 minutes a pop. I have had the privilege of sampling several EVs over the years, from BMW, Porsche, Audi, Nissan, and now Mercedes. For me, the most striking feature of the EQC is how true the driving experience remains when compared to that of the “normal” Mercedes-Benz. From the overall design (based on the current GLC platform) to the interior look and feel, Mercedes has, seemingly, deliberately retained the GLC’s personality. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this strategy aims to facilitate a transition to new energy from ICE for Merc’s established fan base, or if it’s simply a result of employing a familiar platform. 

The combined output from the EQC’s two electric motors and battery combination is 300 kW and 760 Nm torque. Power is split between the axles, with most assigned to the front wheels, until required at the rear. As expected, the acceleration experience is swift, with the EQC claiming to scalp the zero to 100 km/h sprint in just over five seconds.

Interior appointments are familiar as well. The MBUX infotainment system is stock standard, as is the steering-mounted “gear” selector.

We will detail the interior in the EQC at a later stage, as the unit we sampled was a pre-production unit, and some aspects of the interior design may change once market units arrive later in the year.

MORE NEW MODELS FOR 2022

Mercedes-Benz EQA 250

Also, based on an existing platform, the EQA is Merc’s most compact electric offering. The single-motor, front-wheel-drive compact crossover boasts a 66.5 kWh battery that provides a WLTP-rated range of 426 km, with 140 kW of power and 370 Nm of torque sent to the front wheels. 

  • Consumption: 17.7 kWh/km
  • 0-100 km/h: 8.9 seconds
  • Top Speed: 160 km/h
  • Launch date: May 2022

Mercedes-Benz EQB 350 4Matic

Following the grade walk for the ICE vehicles, the EQB is slightly larger than the EQA, and features two electrical motors for a combined output of 215 kW and 520 Nm of torque. The 66.5 kWh battery system offers 423 km of range using WLTP.

  • Consumption: 18.1 – 19.4 kWh/km
  • 0-100 km/h: 6.2 seconds
  • Top Speed: 160 km/h
  • Launch date: July/August 2022

Mercedes-Benz EQE 43

The EQE 43 will be the first EQ sedan from Mercedes-Benz and the first to be developed on a dedicated EV platform dubbed MEA EV. Internationally, the EQE 43 is fitted with a 90.6 kWh battery, while its electric motor produces 215 kW. Although local specifications are not yet available, Mercedes has confirmed that the EQE 43 will be fast-charge compatible, the first car in the EQ line-up to do so.

  • Launch date: October 2022

Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ and EQS 53

As flagship to the Mercedes-EQ offering, the EQS is a full-size luxury sedan built on the MEA EV platform. With a rear-mounted electric motor delivering 245 kW, the 450+ introduces the EQS range. The performance-oriented EQS 53 carries dual motors and will feature 4Matic to handle the 385 kW expected output. Mercedes-Benz claims a WLTP range of 782 km from its 107.8 kWh battery for the 450+, while it will sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. Consumption is expected to be between 15.7 and 19.8 kWh/km.

  • Launch date: EQS 450+ July/August 2022 & EQS 53 September 2022

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © MERCEDES-BENZ SOUTH AFRICA

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