The EQV electric people mover. Source: Mercedes-Benz
The EQV electric people mover. Source: Mercedes-Benz

German premium carmaker Mercedes-Benz will unveil the first fully electric people mover in its class next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show, showing up other carmakers such as Tesla and Chrysler who have been threatening to make electric passenger vans for some time.

With a 90kWh battery and provisional range of 405km, the EQV – which is based on the concept vehicle of the same name first displayed by Mercedes-Benz in March at the Geneva Motor Show – will be available with two different wheel bases and variable seating configurations to multi-task for numerous family needs.

An on-board AC charger with a top charging rate of 11kW will allow the EQV to charge overnight at home – like a mobile phone – in less than 9 hours, and when out and about within one hour on a DC fast charger from 10-80% capacity.

“Our MPVs meet the highest standards in terms of functionality and variability. The EQV also does not compromise in this respect. It offers comfortable handling, dynamic electro-aesthetics, intuitive operation and generous space – and all locally emissions-free.

“This means that it offers all of the typical qualities of the brand and segment that our customers expect, whether as a family car or a shuttle vehicle with a lounge-like character”, says Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Following the EQ aesthetic in common with the Mercedes-Benz EQC which will be released in Australia on both the interior and exterior, Mercedes has also released a number of images to give a feel of what to expect at Frankfurt.

The bonnet and nose definitely speak the same EQ DNA of the EQC electric SUV, while inside the van there’s plenty of room and single luxury seating stitched in rose gold for 4 passengers in the back, as well as 7 and 8 seater options.

A 10″ touchscreen with Mercedes-Benz’s intuitive MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) interface and midnight blue dashboard filled with plenty of buttons and instruments, as well as voice control that can be activated by saying “Hey Mercedes”, give the driver a pilot-like stance in the front.

To get the most out of the battery the EQV employs regenerative braking, the strength of which can be manipulated by the driver using paddles behind the steering wheel for the perfect driving feel, from a coast with weak regeneration to a brakeless drive on the highest setting.

An “Eco assistant” and E+ driving mode adjusts vehicle settings to get the highest efficiency it can by, for example, finding the best route to any given destination, while “active range monitoring ensures that the driver reaches the destination safely even if a charging stop is missed”, according to the Mercedes-Benz press release.

It certainly sounds like a carefully considered start for the premium electric people mover market, with Mercedes-Benz no doubt keen to establish the EQV as a benchmark.

Having beaten Tesla to punch, it will be interesting to see if this is the case; in 2016, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk outlines a “Tesla Tarago” in a master plan he had devised for the company, that would based on the Model X chassis with a footprint about that of the Model X electric SUV but able to carry more passengers (the Model X can carry up to 7).

However the Tesla MPV has not yet manifested no doubt with Musk’s main focus these last 3 years on ramping up Model 3 production and expansion into global markets.

Another contender might be Volkswagen, which also has an electric MPV planned – the electric version of the Kombi, that will be known as the ID Buzz – however despite a lot of song and dance about the ID Buzz it is still not expected until 2022.

Chrysler also has an electric MPV named “Portal” up its sleeve that will follow its PHEV Pacifica minivan, and though the latest reports are that it would go into production in 2020, there’s not been much noise about that since September 2018.

Of course, electric people movers is something the Chinese have been doing well and doing in volume for some time now, such as the BYD e6 “compact MPV” which was first released in 2011 – a more comprehensive list can be found here.

There is of course not yet any indication of pricing (look to the estimated $A140,000 EQC pricing for a comparison), nor any word on whether it will make it to Australia – stay tuned on that.

The EQV will be produced at Mercedes-Benz’s Vitoria manufacturing facility in the north of Spain, where the carmaker also makes its V-Class and Vito range of vans.

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