Mercedes-Benz bosses have approved a €10 billion (£9bn) programme to launch more than 130 electrified variants within the next seven years, spearheaded by the upcoming EQ S luxury saloon.
The plan – which involves an extended range of mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery EVs and hydrogen- fuelled models – was tabled at a recent board meeting of Mercedes’ parent company Daimler and received the backing of chairman Dieter Zetsche.
The goal of the massive project is to give Mercedes an unparalleled range of premium electrified models, which will help to significantly reduce the company’s average fleet emissions ahead of a series of increasingly strict EU CO2 emission regulations starting from 2021.
The model assault will be split across the firm’s three electrified brands: the pure-electric EQ range, mild-hybrid EQ Boost, and EQ Power plug-in hybrids.
Mercedes has already confirmed the first three models in the full-electric EQ range. It will begin with the recently unveiled EQ C SUV. This will be followed by a production version of the EQ A hatchback concept seen at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.
Those two models will then be joined in 2020 by the upmarket EQ S, which was spotted testing in early prototype guise at Mercedes’ engineering HQ in Stuttgart, Germany, recently. As its name suggests, the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan rival will offer a similar level of luxury, comfort and features to the traditional S-Class saloon.
Named MEA2, the new platform makes heavy use of aluminium and is designed with a fully flat floor, as is common with many EV-only designs. This has allowed Mercedes to give the EQ S different proportions from the E-Class and S-Class, between which it will sit in size.
The EQ S will be a similar size to the current CLS. It will feature a shorter bonnet and ultra-short overhangs, which, company insiders say, contribute to “a whole new dimension in interior packaging”.
The spy shots also show that the EQ S has a heavily raked windscreen compared with the C-Class, which combined with the shorter overhangs should give the model greater interior space. The roofline echoesthe design of the latest CLS, although secrecy surrounds the rear of the new model, which was completely hidden on the prototype cars.
The EQ S is expected to be powered by twin electric motors – one on each axle – giving permanent four-wheel drive. A similar set-up in the EQ C delivers 402bhp and 564lb ft of torque.