Mercedes-Benz is preparing for a widespread shift to electrification, including expanding its full-electric EQ brand into a full model range and a new “electric first” platform for compact and midsize cars.

The electric vehicles will be sold alongside equivalent combustion-engine models, which will gradually assume less importance in the automaker’s lineup. Mercedes said it will reduce the number of engine choices by 40 percent by 2025 and 70 percent by 2030. 

Mercedes expects to have five pure EVs and 20 plug-in hybrids on the market by 2021, rising to 10 pure EVs and 25 plug-in hybrids by 2025. It currently has just two electric vehicles, the EQC midsize SUV and the EQV minivan.
The EQS luxury electric large sedan, which will be launched next year, will be followed on the same platform by the smaller EQE sedan and two SUV variants, said Ola Kallenius, CEO of Mercedes parent Daimler, said at the company’s capital markets day on Tuesday, which was streamed online.

Daimler did not offer any details on the coming EQ models, but they will likely match up with the E-Class sedan, as well as the GLE and GLE Coupe SUVs. 

All four models are based on the new EVA electric architecture, which is optimized for electric but can be built alongside conventional models at Daimler’s plants globally. Driving range will top 700 km (435 miles) under WLTP testing, while power output can reach 670 hp, Mercedes said.

Kallenius admitted that the EQ models could cannibalize sales of equivalent combustion-engine cars in the Mercedes range, including the S-Class. “It would be far too optimistic to say that EQS sales will be 100 percent incremental,” he said. Kallenius said that Mercedes was operating in what he called a “twilight-zone market,” with internal-combustion still the preferred – and profitable – powertrain but full-electric clearly the future.  

“For many years to come we will have a market situation where electric will grow, but high-tech electrified combustion engines and long-range plug in hybrids will sell for many years,” he said. Nonetheless, he said that the EQS “will have a healthy profit margin from the start.”

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