Update: ‘Design’ section updated.
In 2021, Mercedes-Benz canceled the EQC U.S. launch after repeated postponements. All hope is not lost for fans of the three-pointed star who are in the market for an electric small SUV. In this story, we’ll discuss how the company reportedly plans to launch the next-gen Mercedes EQC in America.
You read it right. The MB.EA-M platform may have been unheard of to most outside of Mercedes-Benz, but that’s the underpinning of the next-gen EQC. The company has confirmed that it will utilize a newly developed, dedicated EV platform called MB.EA for next-gen mid-size and large-size electric cars. TopElectricSUV.com understands that there will be two versions of the MB.EA platform, one called MB.EA-M, for mid-size electric cars, and one called MB.EA-L, for large-sized electric cars.
As per a report by Automotive News on May 23, 2023, select North American dealers and individuals with a vested interest in Mercedes-Benz’s future have already seen the Mercedes EQC successor. It is expected to feature a refined and softened design compared to its predecessor, signaling a stylistic evolution.
A dealer described the Mercedes GLC Electric as sporting a rounded front and rear, accentuating its crossover-like appearance even more compared to the EQC. That’d make sense from a product planner’s perspective, given that a traditional SUV, referred to as the Mini G-Class Electric/GLG, is reportedly scheduled in 2026 and may belong to the same price segment. That said, the two generations of the GLC have struck a balance between the modern attributes of a crossover and the traditional elements of an SUV, which contributed largely to their popularity.
Video Source: YouTube/walkoARTvideos
Mercedes-Benz has deployed the first prototypes of the GLC Electric on public roads in Germany (watch the video above), revealing the shape and some early design details of the EQC successor. The upcoming electric SUV has a lower front-end, with the steeply sloping hood, which could lead to improved aerodynamic efficiency. The beltline initiates lower than on the EQC, lending the greenhouse the resemblance of a bird’s beak! The rear overhang appears shorter than that of the EQC.
The second-generation Mercedes EQC SUV should have the specifications, features, and design that Americans are most interested in, unlike the current model, which is a conversion of the GLC.
Solar roof option
Citing Mercedes-Benz R&D chief Markus Schäfer, Autoblog suggests that the next-gen EQC may come with a solar roof option. Schäfer told media after the Mercedes Vision EQXX world premiere in January 2022 that Mercedes-Benz customers will “probably” get to specify their vehicles with uninterrupted glass roofs or solar roofs. Schäfer mentioned that the company wants to use solar panel roofs in its vehicles, “probably starting (in) 2024.”
The Vision EQXX concept car features a solar roof consisting of 117 solar cells. An LFP battery stores the solar energy and supplies it to a climate blower, the lights, the infotainment system, and other ancillaries. The solar roof reduces the energy consumption of the traction battery pack, leading to an increase in the driving range of 25 km (15.5 mi). Mercedes-Benz and its partners are trying to use solar power to charge the traction battery pack, which would allow customers to drive their EVs longer without plugging in.
Starting in 2024, the full-width display should filter further down the Mercedes range, with the new GLC Electric and the CLA Electric in line to receive the optional feature. In the MBUX Hyperscreen, three separate displays sit beneath a 56-inch, gently curved piece of glass and look like a single display floating on the dashboard. One of the three displays is an LCD unit located in front of the driver and serves as the instrument cluster. Then there’s an OLED central display that supports touch input. The third display is for the front passenger, and that is also an OLED touchscreen.
Made in two factories
Production of the next-gen Mercedes EQC SUV is likely to take place at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, Germany, and the Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC) in Beijing, China. We don’t say this just based on the fact that these factories make the current-gen EQC. We’ve learned that Mercedes-Benz and Daimler Greater China are hiring to prepare for the production of MB.EA-M platform-based models in these factories.
Battery, Charging & Range
The next-gen Mercedes EQC could come to the U.S. with a lithium-ion battery pack having an energy storage capacity of around 100 kWh, enough to deliver an EPA-est. range of up to around 325 miles.
The all-new EQC SUV could get Mercedes-Benz Group’s next-gen batteries that are more efficient. The company plans to introduce batteries with an energy density of up to 900 Wh/l in the coming years. That’d be a huge upgrade over its current technology, which peaks at around 550 Wh/l.
The on-board charger could accept alternating current between 11-22 kW. It’s safe to assume competition will pressurize Mercedes-Benz to use batteries with a high voltage of around 800 volts, allowing the peak DC charging input to be much higher than the current model (110 kW), easily 270 kW or higher. A 10-80% charging session could be a matter of just around 20 minutes.
800 volts of system voltage gives many advantages, including reduced charging time, higher performance, and reduced cabling weight and installation space. The most important benefit to EQC customers would be ultra-fast charging.
Expect at least two powertrain options: a single-motor unit for efficiency-minded customers and a twin-motor unit for off-roading or added grip on snow-covered roads. With its two motors, the top-end variant should generate a total of 400 horsepower, while the base variant, with a rear motor, may produce 275 to 300 horsepower.
Mercedes AMG-EQC SUV
In addition, we would expect the 43 AMG variant of the EQC SUV to follow shortly thereafter. The line-up could eventually include a 63 AMG variant with up to 700 horsepower. If such a variant is released, it would break the 3.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration time of the Tesla Model Y Performance. For comparison, the previous generation GLC AMG 63 S variant took only 3.6 seconds. The upcoming GLC SUV’s AMG 63 S E Performance variant will achieve that in 3.4 seconds.
|Aspect||Next-gen Mercedes EQC Specification (Expected)|
|No. of Motors||One/Two|
|Total Power||275-300 hp/Up to 700 hp|
|0-60 mph Acceleration Time||<3.5 seconds|
|Top Speed||130 mph/Up to 155 mph|
|Battery Pack||~90 kWh lithium-ion|
|Range (EPA-est.)||~325 miles/Up to ~275 miles|
|Max. AC Charging Power||11-22 kW|
|Max. DC Charging Power||270+ kW|
Mercedes-Benz is conducting extensive research to make the body, body shell, and interior of its vehicles more sustainable. By the time the next-gen EQC meets production, the company may have new sourcing contracts in place for eco-friendly materials. Unlike the current EQC, which uses a mixture of man-made leather and real leather, the next-gen EQC could come with a completely leather-free interior option. The company is exploring new raw materials such as the cactus-based biomaterial Deserttex.
For customers who prefer genuine leather in their cars, Mercedes-Benz plans to offer sustainably produced and processed genuine leather starting this year. From livestock breeding to tanning, leather production and processing will be under extra scrutiny. Suppliers will need to strictly adhere to environment conservation laws and abstain from illegal deforestation.
In addition, Mercedes-Benz is looking into commercializing the innovative materials of its concept cars. For example, it is considering using the Vision EQXX’s animal-free silk-like biotechnological textile and its carpets made of bamboo fibers in series-production models. The company will switch to almost entirely CO2-free steel from 2025.
According to the previously cited Automotive News report, the Mercedes GLC Electric will arrive in 2024. However, the report could be referring to the car’s world premiere, which is usually set a few months before the start of production. While it is crucial for Mercedes-Benz to manufacture the GLC Electric in North America in order for buyers in the U.S. to be eligible for federal tax credits, the report does not provide information on this aspect.
If we go by the official statement of Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius, the new Tesla Model Y rival from Germany should debut in 2024 and go on sale in the first markets, including the U.S., in 2025.
In order to cover the entire markets, we need a second wave (of EVs), and the second wave are the vehicles with MMA and MB.EA, because this includes the electrical GLC and the electrical C-Class. This is the segment that’s the biggest Mercedes segment if you only look at unit sales. And these are vehicle generations that will be launched in ’25 and ’26.Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group (Media conference call on February 17, 2023)
The EQE SUV, in a low-spec variant, could serve as a placeholder until the next-generation EQC SUV becomes available in 2025 in the American market.
Mercedes EQC discontinued
Business Insider (Germany) reported on July 10, 2022, that Mercedes-Benz will stop manufacturing the EQC in Bremen on May 3, 2023, based on internal documents. When asked about the speculation, the company declined to comment.
In line with the Business Insider report, Mercedes-Benz appears to have stopped manufacturing the EQC at the domestic plant. The company has discontinued the electric SUV in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Norway, Sweden, Australia, and many other markets. In China, however, the EQC is still on sale, but probably not for long. Mercedes EQC production in China will also end in 2023, according to a report JESMB blog published on July 13, 2022.
On May 5, 2023, citing Marklines data, Handelsblatt reported that the EQC registered just 64,000 units in sales since its introduction in 2019. Mercedes-Benz was estimating such a figure for the EQC’s annual sales, not cumulative, which means the electric SUV wasn’t a successful project for the Germans.
Mercedes could drop the EQ branding for the next-gen EQC
Mercedes will not use the ‘EQ’ branding in future launches, as per a report published by Handelsblatt on January 12, 2023. Therefore, there is a possibility that the next-gen EQC could be launched as the ‘Mercedes GLC Electric.’ Mercedes-Benz plans to go all-electric by 2030, market conditions permitting. The automaker may then find itself in a situation where an EV-specific branding strategy would be unnecessary, the German newspaper report stated. Sticking with one nomenclature for all models would also avoid confusion. The company is yet to confirm this development.
Mercedes is going all out to make the next-gen Mercedes EQC/GLC Electric among the best luxury SUVs within the lower end of the market. In terms of quality, design, and luxury, we expect Stuttgart to make its offering stand out. However, only time can reveal whether the German automaker has done enough to earn the interest of prospective buyers of the Tesla Model Y.
Mercedes EQC (GLC Electric) USA FAQs
What is the Mercedes EQC release date in the USA?
U.S. is reportedly getting the next-gen EQC in 2025. It should boast far superior specs compared to the first-gen.
Which SUVs would the new Mercedes EQC rival?
What is the expected Mercedes GLC EV price?
We expect Mercedes to release the GLC Electric at around USD 60,000.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the next-gen Mercedes EQC SUV (Mercedes GLC Electric).