Mercedes has revealed its new EQB all-electric compact crossover at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. The compact SUV will be a significant milestone for Hungary’s automobile industry as the first full-electric car produced in the country.
Mercedes-Benz is quickly picking up the pace regarding electrification. The German company said it will bring more than ten different all-electric vehicles to market by 2022 and plans to electrify the entire Mercedes‑Benz portfolio to offer at least one electric alternative in every Mercedes‑Benz model series.
Board member responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO Markus Schafer said earlier that the company will expand its electrified portfolio towards a share of more than 50 per cent of global sales by 2030 and investments in combustion engine development will decline quickly with the number of combustion engine variants expected to fall by 70 per cent by 2030.
With this in mind, Mercedes announced at the end of last year to invest 50 billion forints to add electric vehicles to their production line in Hungary. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó noted that this is a milestone for the Hungarian economy, the Hungarian automobile industry and the Mercedes factory in Kecskemét, as this will be the first time that production of pure electric cars will take place in the country.
The EQB will be the first all-electric production vehicle from the Hungarian plant in Kecskemét. So far, the CLA and CLA Shooting Brake plug-in hybrid models have come off the production line there. The A-Class with plug-in hybrid drive will also be produced in Kecskemét in future.
The first series-produced copy of EQB is planned to roll off the Kecskemét production line in the last quarter of 2021. The first prototypes of EQB are already being manufactured at the Kecskemét plant on a special, separate production line, the so-called Pilot Line so that the processes of the subsequent series production can be precisely planned and designed in the most efficient way possible. Like the other electric models of Mercedes-Benz, the EQB will be manufactured on the same production line at the Kecskemét plant as the conventional and hybrid models.
As a seven-seater, the new EQB offers space for many family constellations and a wide variety of transport needs, which gives it an exceptional position among electric cars. The new EQB offers a generous amount of space and a maximum boot capacity of 1,710 litres thanks to having the long wheelbase of the GLB (2,829 millimetres).
The EQB range will include several models with front-wheel and all-wheel drive, various power ratings – some of which will exceed 200 kilowatts (kW) – plus batteries with usable capacities starting from 66.5 kilowatts-hour (kWh). A particularly long-range version is also planned.
While the first EQA 250 is rolling into European dealerships and the EQS, the purpose-designed, fully electric member of the new S-Class family has also been presented, EQB will be the third all-electric model launch in 2021. In Shanghai, the China-specific version of the new EQB made its debut. The European version will also be launched in 2021 and it will arrive in the US in 2022.
Through high-quality certificates of origin, Mercedes-Benz also guarantees that energy from renewable energy sources is fed into the grid for charging current sourced via Mercedes me Charge. With Mercedes me Charge, customers can charge at over 200,000 public charging stations across Europe.
The passenger vehicle market in Europe has been seriously affected by the COVID pandemic, but the market share of alternatively powered vehicles is getting bigger and bigger in absolute terms. Data suggest that Europe is currently the fastest-growing e-mobility market in the world and the EV market is likely to see an even stronger growth partly due to the increased subsidies and incentives introduced in the framework of green recovery.