Mercedes hopes to electrify the Frankfurt Motor Show next week when it pulls the wrap off a battery-electric concept vehicle that offers a hint of what it has coming to showrooms early in the new decade.
The German automaker isn’t saying much about what’s in store, a terse teaser suggesting only that, “The EQ story continues. See the next chapter of our all-electric vision at IAA 2019 in Frankfurt.”
But word has it that what we’ll be seeing is a battery-powered complement to the brand’s current flagship, the S-Class sedan. Expect to see it dubbed the Mercedes EQS.
The luxury marque has promised to bring a broad range of battery-cars to market over the coming decade, and it has already revealed several of them, including the EQC crossover — which debuted at the Paris Motor Show a year ago – set to become its first long-range production model. We’ve also seen the EQA Concept that will become the all-electric alternative to the current A-Class. And the production version of the EQV van will debut in Frankfurt next week along with the new battery concept car.
As with the other EQ models, the EQS is expected to ride on a unique architecture specifically designed for electrification, rather than simply having batteries stuck wherever Mercedes engineers can find space. The skateboard-like platform will allow more space for those lithium-ion cells, translating into greater range. And, by mounting the pack under the load floor, it will yield a low center of gravity, improving the car’s dynamics.
Dual electric motors will be used, according to sources, much like we’ve seen with Tesla, Audi and Jaguar, creating a sort of “through-the-road” all-wheel-drive system.
While it should yield higher energy efficiency than the fuel-hungry Mercedes S-Class, the approach also will manage to deliver significant performance, its two electric motors providing significant off-the-line torque. Mercedes may offer some hints as to specific performance numbers during the Frankfurt Motor Show unveiling.
To offer a bit of a perspective, however, expect to see a battery pack that’s bigger than the 80 kilowatt-hours offered in the Mercedes EQC, with range all but certain to top that crossover’s 200-plus miles. The electric CUV’s two motors produce a combined 402 horsepower and 564 horsepower, enough to propel it from 0 to 60 in just 4.9 seconds.
The basic dimensions of the Frankfurt concept reportedly fall in line with the gas-powered S-Class, though Mercedes could opt to lift a page from the Jaguar I-Pace. With the motors also mounted below the floor board, there’s little need for a conventional engine compartment. While some of that space could be transformed into a frunk, or front-mounted trunk, a bit could also be reclaimed as passenger space.
A close look at the tarp covering the concept reveals here small running lights framing a large grille. That said, most of the area beneath the grille will be sealed off since battery-cars need less airflow and sealing things off improves their aerodynamics.
Long focused on diesel as its answer to energy efficiency, Mercedes is largely shifting away from oil burners in favor of plug-in hybrids and, increasingly, all-electric models.
“Electric drive is a major component in the mobility of the future,” now-retired Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said a year ago, when unveiling the production EQC. “We are therefore investing more than ten billion euros in the expansion of our EQ model portfolio, and more than one billion euros in global battery production.”
Of course, Daimler’s rivals are also pushing into battery-electric space and the production version of Porsche’s new Taycan will get its formal public introduction at Frankfurt, as well. And Audi will reveal a new battery-car concept of its own.