Mercedes-Benz plans to enter the small van market, and it’ll tease those ideas with the unveiling of the battery-electric Concept EQT early next month.
While timing hasn’t been announced yet, the German automaker describes the EQT as a near production concept. It will join a fast-growing line-up of all-electric models, including the EQB crossover and EQS sedan Mercedes unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show this week.
The digital debut of the new T-Class van will be streamed on “several social media channels simultaneously,” Mercedes said, and will be hosted by American skateboard legend Tony Hawk.
A “clear glimpse” of the production model
“The near-production Concept EQT offers a clear glimpse of the electric version of the forthcoming T-Class,” the automaker said in a statement on Tuesday.
Mercedes was slow to shift focus from diesel to electric propulsion but is now racing to make up for lost time. It already launched three new battery-electric vehicles this year alone, including the EQA and EQB crossovers, as well as the EQS flagship expected to serve as the electric alternative to the traditional S-Class sedan. It previously debuted several other models such as the EQV, a battery-powered counterpart to the V-Class van line.
The EQT will “transfer” the basic approach of the EQV in a smaller, more affordable form, Mercedes said, adding “The Concept EQT combines a spacious and variable interior with attractive design and Mercedes’ hallmark high standards of comfort, connectivity, value and safety.”
The target audience consists of both families and “leisure active private customers,” the automaker added.
A familial resemblance
Early EQT vans have been caught in testing during the past year and the new van picks up on many of the cues now being shared by other members of the expanding EQ family. These include slim, wraparound headlights, a big tri-star badge and a broad faux grille. BEVs need relatively little airflow to cool batteries and motor or motors, so the sealed grille is largely there to maintain a similarity to the broader Mercedes-Benz line-up.
The production EQT will share the same underlying, skateboard-style architecture as products like the EQA and EQB, with motors, batteries and other electronic components mounted below the load floor.
This approach should prove especially useful for a small van, freeing up some of the space normally devoted to the engine compartment for a more roomy cabin and cargo bay.
The debut of the new Mercedes Concept EQT will be streamed on May 10 at 11 a.m. CEST, (Central European Time). That’s a bit early for most Americans, but it will then be available for replay.
Mercedes ramped up its five-year investment plan to $85 billion, it announced last December, most of it “to accelerate the transformation towards electrification and digitization.”
On top of the EQA, EQB, EQB and, now, the EQT, Mercedes plans to unveil the EQE later this year. It will be an all-electric version of the long-running E-Class sedan line. Crossover versions of the EQE and EQS models are expected to debut in 2022.