New baby Mercedes EQ EV to debut in Munich as a concept

A new teaser image gives us a fresh look at Mercedes’ entry-level EQ model

Mercedes has plans to shake up its model range this decade in the hope of creating a more premium brand image, a big part of this is introducing an all-new compact luxury car. We already know a few details about the new offering and a recent teaser image confirms that a concept version is about to be revealed. 

Not only will the entry-level Mercedes electric car create a more premium bottom line for the brand’s portfolio, it’ll also mark the debut of a new platform and infotainment system. Based on the firm’s forthcoming MMA underpinnings, the new all-electric compact saloon will rival Tesla’s Model 3 as the most affordable model in the Mercedes range.

We’ve caught it testing in the past but this latest image previews a concept that will be on display at the Munich Motor Show in September. The shadowy picture only illustrates the top half of the concept, although it looks similar in proportion to the current Mercedes CLA saloon. There aren’t any door handles on show and traditional wing mirrors feature rather than digital ones.

Speaking to investors last year on the future of the company’s line-up, Mercedes boss Ola Källenius said: “The entry point to the Mercedes brand in the future will be a different one than it is today.” On top of this, a strategy presentation showed that the company plans to reduce its ‘portfolio of variants’ (understood to mean bodystyles) in the ‘entry luxury’ class from seven to four, raising prices as well.

Despite its position as the cheapest electric Mercedes, we expect it to feature technology from the brand’s record-breaking Vision EQXX concept car, which focused on maximising efficiency to deliver range.

In a smaller car such as the first MMA-based model, this will be key, so some of the EQXX’s motor tech (delivering 95 per cent efficiency), power-control electronics and other features could be scaled up for series production in the new model. It’s also likely that the car’s sleek styling will draw on aerodynamic cues first seen on the EQXX to reduce drag and increase range.

Mercedes Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer told Auto Express that the battery, e-motor, aspects of the EQXX’s inverter and some ‘bionic engineering’ cast-metal parts will feature on series production cars in the future, so there will be a large carryover from this test bed. “We wanted to have something that mirrored what was happening in the real world,” he said of the EQXX. “We want to bring this tech to series production and see the same results.”

Källenius was also keen to highlight how: “This new MMA architecture ushers in a new generation of technology, both on the drivetrain side in terms of battery chemistry, efficiency, and the drivetrain itself.”

In line with the EQXX project, Mercedes is explicitly focusing on “greater range from smaller batteries”, with a future target of more than 800Wh/l (for reference, a Tesla Model 3 battery offers an energy density of around 680Wh/l), with a slim battery in the car’s floor helping to free up space. Expect the new car to eclipse the longest range currently on offer in the EQA SUV, at 324 miles.

New Mercedes CLE launched to replace C-Class and E-Class coupes

The new saloon was initially thought to be called EQA, but the name is now uncertain following reports that Mercedes will drop the EQ branding for EVs as its range moves towards full-electric models in Europe by 2030. Whatever it’s called, this new car represents the start of a renewed focus on profit per car and sales margins, rather than volume. The company is pushing its most affordable models further upmarket, with a greater focus on higher-margin, luxury cars.

Mercedes aims to reduce its presence in the ‘entry luxury’ sector, predicting a 25 per cent reduction in market share by 2026; sales volumes have already declined from around 680,000 cars in this area of the market in 2019 to about 570,000 in 2021.

Despite this, from 2019 to 2021 the average sale price of Mercedes cars in this class rose by around 20 per cent – and the brand says it will be “significantly up” by 2026, reflecting the more luxury-focused approach it will take, ditching mainstream expansion and the chase for sales volumes.

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