Mercedes is going all-electric by 2030. But that won't be the demise of the traditionally gas-guzzling G-Wagen. Far from it, in fact. Not only will Mercedes take the G-class electric, but the SUV will be getting the Ford Bronco treatment with a new "G" sub-brand. And Mercedes just revealed that the electric version of the G-Class will be the showcase vehicle for some seriously revolutionary tech.
Mercedes-Benz is partnering with American-based Sila on next-generation battery tech. Merc will use the brand's new silicon anode chemistry batteries, promising a game-changing 20–40 percent increase in energy density. Mercedes says the batteries will be produced using 100-percent renewable energy.
Energy density is a major limiting factor in EV production. Using more energy-dense batteries would allow manufacturers to increase the range of current architecture vehicles dramatically or obtain a similar range using smaller, lighter battery packs and, consequently, smaller and lighter EVs.
Sila's battery tech will debut as a range-extending option for the electric G-class, aka the EQG. The target date for implementation is "mid-decade," which is vague. The reported target date for the EQG is 2024. So the EQG may launch without the range-extended version.
Mercedes did not mention how much this battery technology would cost. The EQG is bound to be a costly vehicle; the combustion G-Class starts above $131,000. Debuting the tech as an option on the G-Wagen — a vehicle whose buyers won't mind paying a little extra — suggests it may be awhile before we see these batteries on the EV equivalent of the C-class.
For General Motors or VW, overtaking Tesla will mean beating its sales volume. But for a brand like Mercedes that makes a point to be at the pinnacle of automotive engineering, overtaking Tesla will mean beating them to market with revolutionary battery technology like this.