To the less-informed, it might look like Mercedes-Benz is falling behind some of its competitors when it comes to electric vehicles. Porsche, after all, has launched the Taycan; VW has its new ID.3 and ID.4 models flowing into showrooms; and while BMW's current lineup of EVs is rather slim, it makes up for it with a decent number of plug-in hybrids.
2021, though, looks as though it'll be the year the broader world finally gets the chance to see what Mercedes has been working on. The carmaker has been diligently preparing an onslaught of new electric vehicles for public consumption — not just one or two targeted at popular segments, but an EV equivalent of nearly every category of car and SUV the company currently has on offer, from full-size sedans to compact crossovers. And now, the company says the first results of that onslaught are due to hit the streets within the next few months in rapid succession.
While Mercedes launched its all-electric EQ sub-brand with the EQC crossover a couple years back, that was something of a stopgap effort — largely a GLC-Class that had been retrofitted into an EV. The new onslaught will be centered around vehicles based on platforms designed specifically for electric mobility.The first to debut, Mercedes says, will be the new EQA — a small, electric SUV similar to the A-Class and GLA-Class in size, which has already entered production and will debut on January 20th, which we're sure will be by far the most momentous thing to happen that day.
It'll be followed by a new EQB (seen above), which, like the GLB, packages the same sort of powertrain into a boxier, more-traditional SUV shape. Both EQA and EQB will be built at Mercedes's Rastatt plant in Germany, alongside the internal-combustion compacts.
More interesting from a car enthusiast perspective is the new EQS (seen above and below), the range-topping flagship sedan of the new electric range. As the ultimate letter of its name suggests, it's meant to rival the S-Class in luxury and comfort — but thanks to the flexibility afforded by not having a giant hunk of gnashing metal in its nose, it squeezes S-Class-like interior volume into a car sized more like the CLS-Class.
The EQS's launch will be followed by the EQE (seen below), which, as you might suspect, is to the E-Class as the EQS is to the S-Class. It'll enter production in the second half of 2021.
Those four initial models will be followed closely in 2022 by a new EQE SUV and EQS SUV, offering electric alternatives to the GLE-Class and GLS-Class. As with those gas-powered crossovers, the EV versions will be built in Mercedes-Benz's Alabama plant, thus all but guaranteeing they'll be the first electric cars to have Lynyrd Skynyrd be the first thing they hear.
TL;DR: Between all these models and the existing EQC crossover and EQV van (which may wind up making its way to the U.S. in one form or another), Mercedes stands to have eight EV models on sale by the year 2022, giving it one of the most well-rounded electric vehicle portfolios of any carmaker not named Tesla. We're looking forward to seeing it.
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