Tesla Model S sales might be slowing, as interest in electric sedans slide. That doesn’t mean Mercedes-Benz doesn’t want to compete with it.
- Mercedes’ next pure-electric EQ model expected to be the EQE sedan roughly comparable to today’s E-Class.
- Powered by two electric motors, for a total 402 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque.
- Expected in 2022, as part of the brand’s $11.2 billion investment in the EQ sub brand.
- Other models expected include: EQA, EQB, EQV, and an EQS flagship.
Since its introduction in 2012, Tesla Model S had had virtually clear air. That’s because there were essentially no other long-range pure-electric luxury sedans to compete with it. That will soon change, however, as German automakers — from Audi to Mercedes to Porsche — prepare to launch lavish EV sedans of their own.
The latest one we’re learning of this week is the planned Mercedes-Benz EQE. Think of it as an E-Class sized sedan to compliment the brand’s EQC all-electric crossover. Signing off on the EQE sedan was one of the final acts of Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsche before he resigned last week, according to an Autocar report.
The EQE will be the second model built on the brand’s new MEA all-electric vehicle platform (the EQC being the first). It will reportedly be shorter than the current E-Class, but it will offer more interior space than the current S-Class. That’s because the MEA chassis offers a flat floor and smaller powertrain and therefore more interior space and flexibility.
It will be powered by two electric motors, making it four-wheel drive. With both motors, it is said to produce 402 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque. What’s more, it will also reportedly have air suspension (much like the Model S) as well as four-wheel steering, which will make it incredibly maneuverable. Speaking of maneuverability, the EQE is also expected to feature Level 3 automated driving tech as well. Range is expected around 373 miles per charge.
Mercedes has set aside $11.2 billion to develop a whole line of electric models for its EQ sub brand. It also plans to spend $22.5 billion developing further battery technologies to power those vehicles. Accordingly, Mercedes will launch 10 new pure-electric models by 2025, including EQA, EQB, EQV (an all-electric van like the one we saw in concept form in March), and EQS — the latter being the new flagship EV.
Of course, EQE is expected to be competitively priced with the Tesla Model S, which raises a question or two on my end. If sedan sales — electric or otherwise — are slipping, why would Mercedes even bother with the vehicle type? Crossovers big and small are where buyers are gravitating, so why even dip into the pure-electric sedan market? Audi and Porsche are going there, so perhaps Mercedes feels like it has to as well?
I suspect that the driving factor is, since they’ve already developed the EQC and the MEA platform, it’s not too terribly expensive to just expand the range and do a low-slung sedan, too. Plus, it can try to siphon off any Model S sales Tesla might have had.
Knowing that increased competition is coming, Tesla is reportedly readying a refreshed Model S for this fall with a stripped-down interior borrowed from the Model 3 and a 400-mile battery pack. While the extra range is compelling, I am not sure that slapping an even more spartan interior in the Model S is really going to draw buyers back into Tesla stores. It’s not like Tesla interiors turning off would-be customers with cluttered cabins. Rather, I’d wager it might be the opposite.