German automaker Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its very first 100 per cent electric SUV, making a move to win a market share from Tesla in the booming segment of high-end models running on battery.
They are joined in the tussle to claim a significant share of the ever-growing EV market by fellow German car manufacturers BMW and Volkswagen via their luxury brands Audi and Porsche.
Currently, the luxury electric car market is dominated by EV pioneer Tesla, which is now valued at $US52 billion dollars on Wall Street.
The California-based leader in EVs have gained strong sales for their accessible Model 3 sedan, which is expected to sell to around 50,000 this year and double that year.
Mercedes’ answer to Tesla’s electric cars is the EQC, for which they offered readers a sneak peek on Instagram last week ahead of the unveiling yesterday in Stockholm, Sweden.
“Tesla currently dominates the luxury electric car market, but I do not think it will be the case again with the arrival of German premium offers,” Wajih Hossenally, an analyst at IHS Markit told Reuters.
“Tesla has virtually no competition – but that will change from 2019.”
— Mercedes-Benz UK (@MercedesBenzUK) September 4, 2018
The EQC, which was first unveiled as a sporty looking concept at the Paris Motor Show in 2016 brings two 150kW electric motors in motion, mounted on both axles.
With a maximum torque of 765 Nm, the EQC will accelerate to 100km/hr in only 5.1 seconds, says the company, who have limited the top speed of the EV to 180 km/hr.
The 80kWh battery is touted to provide a range of more than 450km, while intelligent navigation and predictive cruise control assist in effective, smart energy management.
In a further effort to assist with energy demand on the battery, Mercedes have also added various driving profiles with different dynamics, plus a multi-stage adjustable recuperation, in which the energy is recovered in the generator, instead of being dissipated as heat when braking.
“The EQC brings design, functionality and service together in a unique way. It offers day-to-day suitable e-mobility in a very special package: the EQC is an electric car, and at the same time 100 percent a Mercedes,” chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dieter Zetsche said in a press release.
While there’s nothing definite yet on pricing, there are media reports that it will be offered at a rate close to the Mercedes GLC class sedans with which it shares many design details, allowing it to remain in the price range of Tesla’s Model 3.
With the EQC reportedly due to hit Australian shores in late 2019, that would mean the German carmaker could possibly give Tesla a run for their money here also – considering that in Norway, Mercedes have apparently already received 2,000 reservation orders before having even released pricing.
When Mercedes do bring the EQC to Australia, they will be up against other electric SUVs, particularly the Jaguar I-Pace which will be available in Australia from November this year.
Audi on the other hand have already started production for their e-Tron SUV, which is scheduled to launch in under two weeks on September 17 in San Francisco, just sixty miles from the Tesla factory in Fremont.
The high-end subsidiary of Volkswagen plans to take pre-orders for e-Tron with a refundable deposit of $ 1,000.
The e-Tron will arrive at dealerships early next year, followed in 2020 by two more electric Audi and the Taycan Porsche.
BMW, for its part, has leased a Lufthansa cargo plane to transport its Vision iNext electric vehicle – which is still at the concept car stage – from Munich to Beijing, via New York and San Francisco. Events are planned in the four cities for five days.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.