The entry point of Mercedes' EQ electric car sub-brand, previewed by the Concept EQA at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, will go on sale in 2020. It will join the larger EQC, which was previewed in concept form at the 2016 Paris motor show.
Set to offer a 249-mile range and be priced to directly rival the £34,075 BMW i3, the EQA will be part of a 10-car EQ line-up due in showrooms by 2022.
Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche said: “The EQ line-up will cover different vehicles and one of them will be a compact car.”
Mercedes is pushing to enhance the productivity of its global plant network, with the Hambach site becoming specialised in EVs, helping the brand up its EV production numbers without affecting supply for petrol and diesel models.
Mercedes production chief Markus Schäfer said the Smart plant will grow to "become a part of our global compact car production network, with the lead plant in Rastatt, Germany". Britta Seeger, Mercedes sales and marketing boss, said: “This EQ will be the first Mercedes model ever built in France.”
Zetsche said last year that Mercedes's push for electrification is "gathering pace" and that "the EQA proves that we're serious about introducing electric mobility throughout the portfolio".
The starting point for the EQA is a new electric vehicle platform developed by Mercedes for use in all upcoming EQ models. Known internally by the codename EVA (electric vehicle architecture), it has been conceived to allow the new model to be built alongside Mercedes' conventional compact car models in the same factories that produce the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA.