Mercedes-Benz is prioritising Australia over the United States when it comes to its range of EQ electric vehicles (EVs).
Australia was one of the first markets chosen for the launc of the EQC electric SUV and a Mercedes-Benz spokesperson has confirmed to The Driven that the EQS 350 electric compact crossover will begin arriving in mid-2021.
Both vehicles belong to a rarified segment of the Australian auto market: a lack of electric vehicle policy and vehicle emissions regulations, at odds with governments around the world, has created uncertainty for the local arms of carmakers, and that uncertainty has resulted in just 30 or so models being promised for the local market by carmakers, compared with the 143 electric vehicle models currently available in the US.
Kia, for example, said it had to delay the e-Niro release in Australia to prioritise Europe and other markets with vehicle emissions regulations. Although it has since secured the e-Niro, the delay underlined the concerns carmakers face in Australia.
In the US, carmakers (both US-based and from overseas) have by contrast enjoyed plenty of certainty that electric cars will sell in the US thanks to a federal tax rebate and no doubt also because Californian-based EV maker Tesla has put EVs front and centre of the transport emissions reduction picture.
But despite that certainty – and the lack of it in Australia – Mercedes-Benz is taking a leap of faith to sell its EQ cars here before the US.
In 2019, now-retired Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific CEO Horst von Sanden said Australia was among the first countries in the world to receive stock of the ground-breaking EQC, with the first deliveries to customers expected to begin from early 2020.
But as Green Car Reports reported on Tuesday (US time), the German carmaker has made it clear it will not bring its EQC to the US for the foreseeable future.
“Following a comprehensive review of market developments, the EQC will not be offered in the United States for now,” a Mercedes spokesperson confirmed to Green Car Reports.
A search of the US-based EPA’s fueleconomy.gov confirms this: only its plug-in hybrid GLC350e and S560e are listed under the German carmaker’s electric offerings.
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.