EQ range takes shape as Daimler’s EV offensive begins
30 May 2017
Daimler’s plans to enter the electric vehicle (EV) market with its Mercedes EQ sub-brand will see the German manufacturer go head-to-head with BMW and Tesla to secure a share of the premium market. Now, more details are emerging of the first vehicles to spearhead the manufacturer’s challenge.
The company is expected to launch its first vehicle, the EQ C, in 2019, with reports suggesting that this will be a luxury SUV model. Now, UK publication Autocar has claimed that this will be followed by an affordable all-electric hatchback, with a long range battery. This is expected to debut at the IAA 2017 event in Frankfurt and go on sale in 2020. There will then be further launches as the company builds a fleet of EQ models.
The EQ A would be priced at around £35,000 (€40,300) putting it into competition with the BMW i3 and the Tesla Model 3. While Mercedes already has an interest in the electric hatchback market, though the Electric Drive versions of its B Class model, news of a specific EQ branded entry would suggest the automaker is looking to build a complete range of models around the brand.
The new electric vehicle is one of 10 planned EVs to be developed by Mercedes, in a €10 billion program launched as part of its CASE strategy. In a statement presented at the Mondial de l'Automobile 2016 event, the company said: ‘…by 2022, Mercedes-Benz Cars aims to have over ten all-electric vehicles in its portfolio. To meet the growing demand for high-quality high-voltage batteries, the company is investing a total of one billion euros in the expansion of its global battery production network, with no less than 500 million euros flowing into the construction of a second battery factory at the site in Kamenz, Saxony.’
Daimler had partnered with Tesla, the US firm supplying powertrains for Mercedes and Smart vehicles. This agreement ended in 2016 with the German company developing its own systems in-house. While this left them behind the competition – the B Class Electric Drive features a range of just 87 miles – the company is making strides to regain ground. Daimler has announced that its Rastatt plant will produce the compact EQ models, with sites in Bremen and Sindelfingen also contributing to production of the 10 models in the range.
Markus Schäfer, member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, comments: ‘Our Mercedes-Benz car plants in Germany play a decisive role in electric mobility. They are centres of competence for the production of EVs in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Thanks to highly flexible structures, we are able to integrate electric vehicles in the regular series production in our plants. At the same time, we are increasing our competitiveness with the efficient integration of Industry 4.0 applications. This allows us to benefit from the opportunities of electric mobility, while considerably reducing the required investment.’
Photograph courtesy of Daimler
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