Whether you call it the G-Wagen or the G-Wagon, it'd be hard to argue against the notion that the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of the most capable all-around vehicles on the market, cramming luxury, status and exceptional on-road and off-road performance into a single iconic package.
But it's not without its issues. One big one for the G-Wagen is, of course, fuel economy; boxy bodies and powerful engines rarely make for good gas mileage. Averaging just 14 mpg combined, the Gelandewagen is one of the worst-polluting passenger vehicles on sale in America.
That, however, is about to change. Mercedes is launching a "G" sub-brand, much like Ford has done with the Bronco and Mustang...and part of that G-Class future will be an electric version. Mercedes unveiled a "near production study" of the vehicle called the Concept EQG at IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich. Here's what we know about the production version.
One of the virtues of the G-Class is how little its straightforward boxy exterior has changed over the decades. That will carry on into the electric era. According to Motortrend, The EQG will be built off the current G-Wagen's body-on-frame architecture.
Expect the EQG to get a similar illuminated logo and black panel in place of a grille to the other EQ vehicles but look very much like a G-Class otherwise.
Mercedes used futuristic imagery for the Concept EQG. But the production EQG is not that far away. Motortrend confirmed Mercedes will start building the EQG in 2024.
Mercedes announced that the G-Wagen will be their first vehicle to offer next-gen battery tech developed with the American firm Sila. The silicon anode chemistry batteries promise a 20-40% improvement in energy density — allowing a manufacturer to get the same range with a smaller pack or more range from a similar-size pack.
The technology should debut as an optional range-extended option for the EQG around "mid-decade."
Rivian teased a similar feature for the new R1T pickup back in 2019, though implementation on the production truck has been delayed.
The rear-mounted spare tire is a common feature of boxy, body-on-frame off-roaders like the Ford Bronco, the Jeep Wrangler and the current Mercedes G-Class. The Concept EQG does not have one but offers a visual link to the spare wheel cover with a lockable storage box — perfect for storing the charging cable. But a prototype testing in a Mercedes video did have a functional spare tire.
There's at least one electric G-Class already kicking around. Back in 2017, Arnold Schwarzenegger paid $1 million to Austrian tuners Kreisel Electric for a custom electric-converted Mercedes G-Class. He posed with it.
We crab-walked, sampled Watts to Freedom mode...and came away impressed.