Mercedes-Benz to launch five new EQ electric cars in SA this year
Expecting strong growth in the luxury EV market, the company plans a battery-powered blitz
Mercedes-Benz plans to launch five all-electric cars in SA this year as part of the German brand’s C02-reducing efforts.
The local introduction of Mercedes’s battery-powered EQ range adds to an electric vehicle (EV) blitz by rivals Audi, Porsche, Volvo, Jaguar and BMW as the age of zero-emission cars gains momentum around the world. Mercedes-Benz sold 99,000 EQ models globally last year, with plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles expected to account for more than 50% of its car sales by 2030.
The EQ cars Mercedes SA is to launch in 2022 comprise the EQA compact SUV, the EQB family-sized SUV, the midsized EQC SUV, the EQE business sedan and the EQS luxury sedan. The suffix in the nomenclature correlates with Mercedes’ internal combustion cars, which means the EQA is the electric version of the GLA, the EQE is the E-Class in electric guise, and so on.
The push to electric power and digitalisation is a key pillar of the Mercedes-Benz strategy announced by Mark Raine, newly appointed president of Mercedes-Benz Cars and co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz SA.
While EVs sell in tiny numbers locally, mostly due to their high prices, Raine believes there will be a strong uptake in the luxury EV market in the next 12-24 months. This interest is aided by the growth of the public charging grid, and in the number of potential customers with renewable energy solutions or considering them in the near future.
It is also expected that government incentives may make battery-powered cars cheaper in SA in a bid to help transition the local automotive industry into the EV era.
For public charging Mercedes-Benz will collaborate with Grid Cars, which has a national network of fast chargers. Every EQ buyer will receive a complimentary 7.4kW wall charger installed at a location of their choice, which will halve the time it takes to replenish an EV’s battery compared with a regular wall socket.
To retail and service Mercedes-EQ cars, 36 Mercedes dealers have been appointed and they will have charging stations on site. The cars will carry eight-year battery warranties.
Selvin Govender, sales and marketing vice-president at Mercedes Cars SA, says Mercedes is a leader in EV technology and pointed to the Mercedes-EQ Vision EQXX concept car revealed in January at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
With an energy efficiency of 95% (which means that 95% of the battery energy will reach the wheels of the EQXX), and an aerodynamic drag coefficient factor of 0.17 (Cd), the EQXX could achieve a more than 1,000km range on a single battery charge.
Govender noted that the EQS production model is already capable of delivering a benchmark electric drive range of 782km on a single battery charge, and holds the record as the world’s most aerodynamic production car with its 0.2 Cd.
The new Mercedes-EQ range will be introduced locally between May and October 2022, with prices to be announced closer to the respective launch dates:
The EQA is a close relation of the Mercedes GLA compact SUV. The EQA 250 derivative will have a power output of 140kW, a range of up to 412km and a combined electrical consumption of 17.7kWh/100km.
Based on the GLB, the family-focused SUV will offer five seats or optionally seven. The EQB 350 4Matic pairs all-wheel drive with an output of 215KW and a range of up to 419km.
The electric version of the GLC mid-sized SUV, the EQC was the first car in the EQ family. This all-wheel drive model offers a power output of 300kW and a range of up to 437km.
It is related to the E-Class sedan but has a slightly larger cabin, and a range of up to 660km. The baseline EQE 350 has an output of 215kW, while a 500kW performance variant is being planned.
All the prestige and luxury of the S-Class sedan in a silent electric package.
The first models to come onto the market are the 245kW EQS 450+, with the top model wielding 385kW and a 782km range.
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