The concept reveals the contemporary styling, zero-emission drivetrain technology, heady performance targets and naming of the German car maker's first dedicated electric vehicle.
Called the Generation EQ, the high-riding SUV is planned to go into production in 2019 as an electric rival to the likes of the Audi e-tron quattro, Jaguar E-Pace and Tesla Model X, boasting a lithium ion battery that is claimed to provide it with a range of up to 310 miles between recharging. As with AMG, Smart and Maybach, EQ is set to become a sub-brand within the Mercedes-Benz group.
As well as previewing Mercedes-Benz’s first uniquely styled series production electric vehicle, the concept also provides an insight into new electric vehicle platform structure, autonomous driving technology, connectivity solutions and safety features developed for a range of electric vehicles that will be sold under the EQ name – a play on the term IQ and standing for 'Electrical Intelligence'.
Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche confirmed the model for production, saying: "We'll see this car out on the road within three years from now - at the price range of a reasonably equipped Mercedes-Benz GLC". He also confirmed that the model would spearhead the EQ electric sub-brand created by Mercedes-Benz: "By 2025 we'll have more than 10 fully electric vehicles on the market. We are developing a entirely new vehicle architecture. Our goal is to have electric vehicles make up between 15 and 25 per cent of our global sales by 2025."
"We are investing 1 billion Euros in our global battery production - this includes 500 million Euros in our second battery plant in Germany"
Zetsche said: “The mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz is supported by four 'pillars': Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. The Generation EQ brings all of these together on a brand new vehicle architecture for battery powered vehicles.”
The new five-door SUV adopts traditional proportions with a pronounced bonnet line and tall glasshouse that runs back to an angled tailgate. There are certain similarities to the GLC Coupé in the overall silhouette and dimensions, but unique exterior detailing, including an illuminated panel incorporating the headlights and three-pointed star emblem and a similar treatment housing the tail-lights at the rear, ensures the Generation EQ stands out from Mercedes' more conventional offerings.
A further departure is the surfacing, which eschews the tautly drawn treatment evident on existing Mercedes-Benz models for a fuller form without any hint of feature lines. The clean new look, which Mercedes-Benz design boss Gorden Wagener describes as "a new electro-aesthetic", is set to become a defining stylistic element of the company’s new electric vehicles.
To help boost the aerodynamic efficiency of the new SUV, Mercedes-Benz designers have resorted to a number of familiar air-cheating measures, including the concealment of the wipers underneath the trailing edge of the bonnet, the employment of digital cameras in place of conventional exterior mirrors, the deletion of traditional door handles in favour of a remote opening function and the fitment of 21in wheels featuring an aerodynamically optimised spoke design.
The basis for the Generation EQ concept is a newly developed platform that Zetsche says Mercedes-Benz will use to develop a complete range of zero-emission vehicles over the next decade. “We’re ready for the start of an electric vehicle offensive with models that will cover every segment, from the compact class to the luxury class,” he said. The platform is constructed from a combination of hot-formed high-strength steel, aluminium and carbonfibre reinforced plastic and has been engineered to suit a number of different vehicle types, including SUVs, saloons, coupés, cabriolets and what are described as 'further models'.