Mercedes-Benz will add the G-Class to its range of electric vehicles in the coming years. Previewed by the 2021 EQG concept, the battery-powered off-roader will feature up to four electric motors and a level of off-road capacity that's on par with the gasoline-powered model's.
"From the start, it was decided that the electric G-Class should be at least as good as the internal combustion engine model both on-road and off-road. We didn't want to compromise on capabilities," explained Emmerich Schiller, the head of Mercedes-Benz's G sub-brand, in an interview with British magazine Autocar. He promised an "unparalleled combination of luxury and off-road ability for electric vehicles."
That's a tall order to fill, and full specifications haven't been released yet because development work is ongoing. Schiller revealed that the EQG will ride on a modified version of the frame found under the gasoline-powered G-Class and will be available with four electric motors (one per wheel). Each motor will be linked to a mechanical two-speed gearbox with high- and low-range gearing, according to Autocar.
Assigning each wheel its own motor will unlock a feature called G-Turn that sounds a lot like Rivian's much-hyped Tank Turn function. And, this layout also makes it possible to precisely control the amount of torque that each wheel receives, which is a boon in off-road conditions.
"It is incredibly precise. The individual control of drive to each wheel provides a whole new level of ability," said Schiller.
Details such as horsepower, torque and driving range will be announced later, and Schiller suggested buyers will have several powertrain options to choose from. Power will be stored in a lithium-ion battery pack with a usable capacity of roughly 100 kilowatt-hours and the same cell technology found in the EQXX prototype. The pack will be housed in a case to let the EQG drive through relatively deep water. In terms of weight, Schiller aims to keep the EQG below about 7,700 pounds. "Weight is a challenge – as it is in any electric vehicle," he stressed.
There's at least one area in which the EQG will not outperform the G-Class: towing.
"It is an absolute killer for the range. We're not sure at this stage if it will be offered on [the] initial generation," he told Autocar.
Visually, the SUV bucks Mercedes-Benz's approach to designing electric vehicles. While the EQE looks nothing like the E-Class, the EQG seemingly looks a lot like the G-Class with the exception of a few drivetrain-specific styling cues; the EQG concept (pictured) provides a relatively accurate idea of what to expect from the production model. The rear-mounted spare tire will notably get replaced by a cargo box big enough to store the charging cable. We expect the interior will receive a handful of features and styling cues specific to the EQG.
More details about the Mercedes-Benz EQG will emerge in the coming months, and the model is scheduled to make its debut in 2024.
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