In the past year and half, two letters have been popping out everywhere in the automotive world: EQ.
Mercedes has decided to finally bet (hard) on battery electric technologies in order to maintain its status as a powerhouse on the market.
The generation EQ represents the future of the company and those two letters, according to Daimler, mean ‘Intelligent electric mobility.’ Mercedes says that the future is electric and intelligent, therefore there isn’t a more appropriate name than E-IQ.
The sleeping giant has woken up and in a little over year its pace, very similarly to its Formula 1 team (except in Monaco…), has been through the roof as the company plans to have at least 11 electric models on sale within the next three years.
It seems that every other week a new electric Mercedes is either unveiled, presented, or launched on the market. Therefore, it can be tricky for consumers to keep track of what the plans are and the timeline of the Stuttgart-based company.
In this EQ guide, WhichEV will tell you everything you need to know to get up to speed with the all-electric future of Mercedes-Benz.
The Master Plan
The plan is very ambitious, given the fact that this is new a territory for the company and there are a lot of steps to achieve in order to reach its final goal. That is why Mercedes cautiously refers to it as ‘Ambition 2039’.
The goal of its roadmap is to achieve CO2-neutrality in the next 18 years and Mercedes says that ”an emission-free fleet of vehicles is a core element of our sustainable business strategy”.
The first milestone set by the company is that by 2022, several electrified variants in all segments of Mercedes will be available on the market and that its plants worldwide will be producing CO₂-neutral vehicles.
The company has, as a matter of fact, already introduced and announced various EVs, which we will explain in depth later on. But it has also made hefty investment in its infrastructure in order to be able to build carbon neutral vehicles in the near future.
Daimler has recently invested approximately 730 million euros in its state-of-the-art Factory 56. It will be a zero-carbon factory – completely CO₂-neutral and with significantly reduced energy requirements thanks to its innovative energy concept with a photovoltaic system, a DC power grid and energy storage systems based on reused vehicle batteries. Mercedes plans to make Factory 56 the blueprint for all its facilities around the world.
The second milestone is expected to be reached in 2025, where the company hopes that up to 25% of sales will be all-electric vehicles. It is closely followed by the third one, where Mercedes expects that more than 50% of units sold in 2030 will be EVs.
The company also plans to achieve carbon neutrality by purchasing electricity in Germany that comes exclusively from renewable sources. In fact, the company has partnered up with the energy supplier Enovos and the Norwegian energy producer Statkraft to obtain CO₂-free electricity from solar, wind and hydro sources.
Markus Schäfer, Daimler AG Chief Operating Officer has explained that the road to sustainability starts even before the manufacturing of electric vehicles.
“When implementing our long-term goal of climate neutrality, we are not only consistently electrifying our product range, but also the supply chain,” he said. “Already for the next generation of vehicles from our EQ product and technology brand, battery cells will be produced with electricity that is 100 percent from renewable energy sources, starting with the EQS.”
The last step is in 2039, where Mercedes envisions its company with a CO₂-neutral fleet of new cars and a CO₂-neutral supply chain. In order to do so, the company has talked to its battery suppliers to identify effective measures for CO2 reductions.
The two main suppliers, Farasis and CATL, have pledged to have a sustainable production of battery products with renewable energies and the observance of human rights in the supply chain. Mercedes will be sourcing cobalt and lithium exclusively from certified mines and it also plans to reduce the cobalt content in its batteries to less than 10%.
The first tentative steps in the all-electric world for the company have been the ones of a producer of internal combustion engines and not of a true EV manufacturer. All the first EQ models share the same platform as their ICE counterparts.
The first EQ Mercedes are born as an option or rather an electric alternative of the same model that is powered by an internal combustion engine. Its first model unveiled, the EQC, is based on the same platform as the GLC. The C standing for C-segment SUV. The debut EQC is powered by an 85-kWh battery that has a range of 255 miles and can recharge from empty to 80% in 30minutes with a 100kw charger.
Following the EQC, WhichEV reported that Mercedes has launched the entry level EQA, which is based on the same platform as the GLA. The car is equipped with a 140kw (196 hp) engine and 66.5kWh battery that provides a range according to WLTP of 426 kilometres (266 miles).
The pattern will be the same for the EQV, which is based on the Vito tourer and will have a WLTP range of 213 miles.
However, it is a completely different story for the EQS as although it is in the same segment as the magnific S-Class, it is a whole different vehicle. In fact, it is a true electric vehicle from the ground up as it is based on a dedicated EV platform. The platform called EVA (Electric Vehicle Architecture) will also be used for the EQS SUV, the EQE and EQE SUV.
WhichEV reported that the new EQS is ready to become a fierce rival of the Tesla Model S. In fact, the EV depending on the trim will have an output between 329bhp and 516bhp with an astonishing range of 481 miles. It can also be charged at up to 200kW using rapid charging stations with direct current.
In 2022, Mercedes is also expected to unveil the EQE which will be in the same segment as the E-Class and is also expected to boast incredible specs thanks to the EVA platform.
The EVA architecture, however is not the only dedicated platform planned by Mercedes as the company has also announced that an ”MMA platform is in development for compact and medium sized cars.“ This new Mercedes Modular Architecture is expected from 2025.
One thing that all EQ will have in common is the fact that they will be built with the same philosophy, which is ‘Intelligent electric mobility.’ That is why the EQS, EQA and most likely the future EQ models will be equipped with the MBUX Hyperscreen.
The large, curved screen unit will stretch almost the entire width from the left to the right A-pillar. It will be equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) that will make the display and operating concept adapt completely to its user. The 55.5-inch Hyperscreen MBUX will combine three separate displays. The interactive panels will provide haptic feedback to the touch, while the screen will use OLED tech and adapt the display brightness depending on light conditions.
The Hyperscreen will be a revolutionary feature. Thanks to AI, it will know what the drivers want to do, even before they do it. Mercedes says that there will be a contactless operating option where the AI detects and interprets the hand and arm movements so that selected functions can be activated in a matter of seconds without the driver or the passenger needing to touch the screen.
This screen promises to be extremely powerful as it will be equipped with eight CPUs and 24 gigabytes of RAM. The screen will also respond to voice control and it is expected to be as clever as Amazon’s Alexa.
The Hyperscreen has been created to act as a personal assistant as according to Mercedes, it will remember favourite songs, the route to work and numbers frequently called.
The EQ range that Mercedes has recently showed to the world is just the start of a current that will revolutionise one of the most iconic manufacturers in the history of the automotive industry. What we are witnessing is just the first step of a long road to sustainability and the all-electric revolution.