Ushering in a new design, platform, and nomenclature.
Mercedes’ first foray into the EV segment with a purpose-built model was originally previewed on the occasion of the 2016 Paris Motor Show. That took the shape of a close-to-production concept car dubbed EQ (from “electric intelligence”) and it has now been caught roaming the streets of Germany as a fully disguised prototype.
The EQ C, as it will be called, was undergoing the final testing rounds ahead of its world premiere as a production model later this year, presumably at the same auto show in the City of Lights scheduled to open its doors early October. Like many other EQ-badged models scheduled to arrive in the years to come, the zero-emissions crossover will ride on the new Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) engineered from day one specifically for electric vehicles.
A billion-dollar investment is being made by Mercedes to set up a new plant in Alabama where the EQ C will be put together to cater the North American market while Europeans will get the pure electric crossover from the Bremen plant in Germany. The high-riding model will leady the way for a number of other cars that will eschew the combustion engine, including a small hatchback and EV equivalents of the C-Class and S-Class.
Mercedes has been coy on details regarding the EQ C’s technical specifications, but it’s worth mentioning the concept had a pair of electric motors good for a combined output of 402 horsepower (300 kilowatts) and a massive instant torque of 516 pound-feet (700 Newton-meters). Should the road-going model carry over the showcar’s specs sheet, it will do the 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) run in less than five seconds.
With the EQ C being a full EV, maximum range between two charges will probably be the most important number for prospect buyers. The concept was able to cover 310 miles (500 kilometers) thanks to it 70-plus-kWh lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the floor, which is not too shabby considering the production model will likely weigh somewhere in the region of two tons.
Also coming this year is the Audi E-Tron, another 100% electric premium crossover set to go up against the unreleased Tesla Model Y. Jaguar now has the I-Pace and BMW is gearing up to introduce the iX3 in 2020, so it’s safe to say high-end marques are just getting started as far as coming out with posh electric CUVs.