Johannesburg - Mercedes-Benz South Africa has released more details of its electric car plan for 2022, and like its rivals Audi and BMW, the German carmaker is going all in with a comprehensive range of battery cars.
The new Mercedes-EQ division will launch the EQA, EQB and EQC SUVs around April this year, as well as the EQE and EQS luxury sedans. The range will be sold and serviced through 36 specially appointed dealerships.
In terms of charging infrastructure, Mercedes-EQ is teaming up with Grid Cars to provide public charging facilities, and the company will also offer its customers a complementary EQ wall charger, installed at a location of their choice.
“South Africa is not without its challenges in terms of the EV landscape, however with our customer centric growth strategy curated towards the local market a significant interest has already been shown by potential customers for our EQ range,” said Mercedes-Benz Cars President Mark Raine. “This interest is aided by the growth in the public charging grid including national coverage on main routes, and the number of potential customers with existing renewable energy solutions (or considering these in the near-future). Based on these developments, we are confident that the cars we bring into the country will find many happy owners,” Raine added.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the five cars that Mercedes-EQ is launching in South Africa.
Although pricing has yet to be announced, the EQA will almost certainly be the least expensive EQ model. It’s based on the latest GLA compact SUV.
Mercedes has confirmed that it will offer the EQA 250 model locally, with an output of 140kW and a range of up to 412km on the WLTP cycle. Feature highlights include an intelligent navigation system that takes charging stops into account and the MBUX infotainment system has built-in artificial intelligence.
As its name suggests, the Mercedes EQB is the battery-powered equivalent of the GLB SUV and like the latter it offers optional seating for seven occupants.
South Africans will be able to opt for the EQB 350 4Matic derivative with all-wheel drive and a 250kW output. Mercedes claims a range of up to 419km between charges.
Based on the GLC, the Mercedes EQC was the founding member of the EQ family, and locally it will be offered in all-wheel drive guise with an output of 300kW and a WLTP range of up to 437km between charges.
Inside you’ll find the familiar MBUX infotainment system with natural language recognition and a number of EQ-specific functions.
While the three SUV models share their basic architecture with existing Mercedes models, the EQE is the second model to be built around the all-new EAV2 platform which is dedicated to battery cars.
While it is the electric equivalent of the E-Class, the EQE actually has more interior space thanks to the clever packaging enabled by the aforementioned architecture. Mercedes has not mentioned which versions will be offered locally, but overseas the EQE is available with a range of up to 660km.
Sitting proudly atop the line-up, the Mercedes EQS is the S-Class of the electric car world, and given that it’s formed around the aforementioned EAV2 platform, buyers can expect generous interior space and features.
The EQS offers outputs of up to 385kW and ranges of up to 780km between charges. First to market in South Africa will be the EQS 450+, with 245kW on tap.
Aiming for carbon neutrality
Although Mercedes-Benz has not set an exact end-date for the production of internal combustion models, the carmaker says it wants electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to account for more than half of its sales by the year 2030, and it is aiming to have a carbon neutral passenger car fleet within 20 years.
Pricing and final specifications for the new Mercedes EQ range will be announced closer to launch.