Mercedes-Benz has strongly hinted that its all-new EQS limousine might be the electric car to topple EV incumbent Tesla for both range and luxury.
It has seemed like every electric car from Germany before 2019 was a toe-in-the-water exercise in placation and development while they made piles of money from combustion engines and plug-in hybrids.
Not the Mercedes-Benz EQS. No combustion powertrain will fit inside the EQS’s pure-EV Modular Electric Architecture (MEA), and Benz is claiming 435 miles (700km) of range for its new luxury flagship.
That would give it a 32-mile advantage over EPA rating of the Tesla Model S, though the EQS’s mileage figure will probably be based on Europe’s Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).
No official test results have been published, though the Benz’s EV target (and former business partner), Tesla, has made a career of public proclamations that perform end runs around official statements.
While the EQS will be the new darling of Benz’s top-end fleet, the traditional S-Class limousine returns in updated form late this year. It will no longer be the flagship Mercedes-Benz, though, with the EQS expected to cost considerably more.
Daimler CEO Ola Källenius announced the range figures to shareholders and investors this month though the EQS is not on sale until later this year in Europe.
No other production EV will be able to stretch its range as far as the EQS, especially if its claimed range converts to the EPA standards, and Benz has been coy on the capacity of its lithium-ion battery. Porsche’s Taycan scored only 201 miles on the EPA standard, though several magazines have reported far greater real-world ranges for the electric Porsche. Audi’s e-tron rated 204 miles with the EPA.
Jaguar’s 2019 World Car of the Year I-Pace scored 246 miles (396km) on the EPA test, but 292 miles (470km) on the WLTP test. (Jaguar has also delayed its flagship XJ EV by a year, from late this year to late next year, due to the cash-flow impacts of the pandemic).
With the arrival of the Porsche Taycan last year, the BMW iX3 this month, the Volkswagen ID.3 and the BMW i4 next season and, soon, the Mercedes-Benz EQS limousine, the seriousness of Germany Inc’s EV engineering and intent is beginning to show. While the EQC was Mercedes-Benz’s first “proper” EV (its earlier B-Classes were low volume) it is based on the platform of the combustion-powered GLC SUV.
When the EQS made its concept-car debut as last year’s Vision EQS, its lithium-ion battery had a 100kWh of storage, with one electric motor on each axle. The two motors combined for 560 pound-feet of torque and Benz claimed a sub-4.5 second sprint to 62mph (100km/h).
Roughly the size of the current Mercedes-Benz CLS, the EQS will have a low, swooping roofline, flush-fitting door handles, The MEA platform will find its way beneath other all-electric Mercedes-Benzes, including an E-Class-sized EQE in 2021.
The architecture is rich in aluminium and delivers a flat floor structure inside the spacious cabin. Its proportions will be very different to the S-Class, too, with a very short hood, a steeply raked windshield, a wheelbase of almost three meters and almost zero transmission tunnel in the cabin, so it will be bigger inside than the S-Class.
Benz plans at least 10 pure EV EQ-branded models by the middle of the decade, with larger sedans and SUVs using the MEA platform. It will be built in Mercedes-Benz’s Sindelfingen factory near Stuttgart, Germany. The EQC is built in Bremen and the upcoming EQA compact EV will be built in Rastatt.
It has plans for a compact EV SUV to sit beneath the on-sale EQC, most likely to be around the external footprint of the GLB. Dubbed EQB, it was planned to for production in the for-sale smart plant in Hambach, France, though those plans are in the air.