Electrified compact EQ model will be the headline act in upcoming compact car product offensive at Mercedes
Mercedes has confirmed it will reveal a fresh EQ concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, which will be a compact car previewing a future EQA entry into the firm’s upcoming line-up of EQ branded electric cars.
For now, details are scant – we’ve only heard official confirmation of the concept’s presence in Frankfurt next month, and no teasers have been issued. It’ll prove to be an important concept though, being an early showcase what will become one of the entry-level offerings in Mercedes’ EQ range.
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It’ll be the second concept car to wear the new EQ badge, following on from the Generation EQ concept presented as an introduction for the new sub-brand at the Paris Motor Show in 2016. It’s understood that Mercedes is aiming to push out ten new all-electric vehicles under the EQ banner by 2025, while the firm’s compact car line up with expand from five offerings to eight by 2020.
It’s thought that the next-generation A-Class will plug one of those gaps with the introduction of a saloon model, while a new compact crossover called the GLB is also expected. The third all-new compact model will be an electric hatchback, possibly called EQA.
Mercedes compact car range to grow by three
Mercedes chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche announced plans to expand the firm’s compact range on the eve of the Detroit Motor Show. The brand’s current compact car line-up consists of the A-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA and B-Class.
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High-performance Mercedes-AMG variants of those vehicles are not considered as standalone models, so the range expansion will come from elsewhere.
The most significant new addition of the three is believed to be a VW e-Golf rival badged the EQA. Auto Express spoke to Mercedes’ vice president for marketing, Dr. Jens Theimer, at the Detroit show, who told us: “We will see EQ cars in every segment, from compact cars to big [SUV] segments.”
Mercedes has invested over 10billion Euros (£8.7billion) into the development of 10 new electric vehicles under the EQ sub-brand that will launch between 2019 and 2025. The manufacturer has also registered every suitable EQ-prefix to cover its range of upcoming models. The first to arrive will be a production version of the Generation EQ concept that Mercedes launched at last year’s Paris Motor Show; a smaller EV hatchback is likely to follow.
Underpinning the EQA will be a version of Mercedes’ new scalable platform, which is able to house an electric motor on each axle to provide permanent four-wheel drive. In a bid to reduce costs and bring the car in at a more accessible price point, however, only one electric motor is likely to be used; a minimum range of 310 miles is expected.
Our exclusive image shows how the finished EQA could look. It’s set to take design cues from the next-generation A-Class, due next year, but adopt the family look of the EQ range previewed by the Generation EQ concept.
Mercedes has seen huge growth in its compact car sales, with over two million vehicles finding homes in the last five years. Over 60 per cent of GLAs sold are conquest sales from other brands, so Mercedes sees big potential for compact SUVs to bring even more new customers to its dealerships.
Sitting above the GLA, an all-new GLB is currently under development, intended as a more rugged and practical alternative to the BMW X1. It will be based on the same MFA2 platform as the next A-Class and will follow that car into showrooms in 2019. To differentiate it from the GLA, it could also come with the option of an extended wheelbase, while the chunky styling – as illustrated by our exclusive image – will mark it out visually.
Taking the final slot in the expansion of the compact car range will be a saloon version of the A-Class. It will be the first of the three new models to arrive, possibly next year, and will face the likes of the Audi A3 saloon when it lands in the UK.