Mercedes-Benz set to release four EVs by 2020
These include a compact four-door Tesla Model 3 rival based around the recently unveiled A-Class saloon, a compact SUV similar in size to the GLB due in 2019 and a flagship electric sports car from the Mercedes-AMG performance division.
Although none of the next wave of EQ models has advanced to committed project status yet, Autocar has been told that Mercedes is proceeding with plans to launch all of them by the end of the second stage of its electrification plan in 2025.
The final component in the currently planned EQ product range is the GLC Fuel Cell, which will be offered on a limited lease basis later this year. It is based around the standard GLC and uses a fuel cell stack, hydrogen tank, lithium ion battery and plug-in charging for a zero-emission range of about 310 miles.
The EQ nameplate will also be used for Mercedes city car sub-brand Smart’s pure-electric Fortwo EQ Electric Drive, Fortwo cabrio EQ Electric Drive and Forfour EQ Electric Drive. All three of these models are due to receive a facelift in 2019, including larger batteries to extend their range.
While the dedicated EQ models will offer the biggest reduction in fleet average emissions, the board has also approved a broad-based hybridisation strategy that will include “well over 100” variants by the end of 2022. Under the plan, existing models will be offered with the choice of mild-hybrid EQ Boost or plug-in hybrid EQ Power drivetrains.
Mercedes has already launched a limited number of new-generation mild-hybrid EQ Boost models. Each features a 48V electrical system and integrated starter motor capable of providing electrical boosting qualities under acceleration. Such systems are available on models that include the E-Class and CLS.
Difficulties in sourcing lithium ion batteries for the new-generation plug-in hybrid, due to production bottlenecks at Daimler subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive, has held back the introduction of EQ Power models. Initially revealed at the Geneva motor show in March and set for launch this year, the C300e, C300de, E300e and E300de EQ Power plug-in hybrids are now not planned to reach UK dealers until 2019.
Following these new plug-in hybrids into Mercedes showrooms next year will be the A250e 4Matic and B250e 4Matic EQ Power.
Both use a fourth-generation hybrid system in which the electric motor sits within the rear axle and provides drive exclusively to the rear wheels. As in standard A-Class and B-Class models, though, the front wheels are powered by a combustion engine, in the form of the Renault-sourced 1.3-litre four-cylinder used in the A200.
Another model included in the EQ Power line-up is AMG’s upcoming 1000bhp-plus Project One hypercar. Despite being revealed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show alongside the EQ A hatchback concept, it is not planned for UK delivery until 2019.
Mercedes’ split electrification strategy and brands can also be seen in its current motorsport programmes. Its 2018 Formula 1 car, in which Lewis Hamilton is leading the championship, is officially titled the W09 EQ Power+ to reflect its hybrid powertrain. It will also run a works squad – labelled the Mercedes-Benz EQ Team – in the all-electric Formula E from the 2019/2020 season onwards.
What the Mercedes EQ C will have to beat: