Update: ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section updated.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, we’ve seen the Mercedes G-Class getting sporty with AMG variants, pumping iron with variants like 4×4² and 6×6, wearing armor with the Guard variant, and discovering regalness with the Landaulet. Two decades in, as the world transitions to zero-emission vehicles, the Mercedes-Benz Group is unwrapping a new side of the Geländewagen, one that is clean and classy, previewed by the Mercedes EQG concept.
In October 2020, when Mercedes-Benz Group held the Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update 2020 event, it formally confirmed plans for a pure electric G-Class. The electric G-Class that debuted at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) is a concept, but the mass-production model, to be launched next year, will closely resemble it. Here’s what we know about the German electric off-roader.
Mercedes EQG design
The Mercedes EQG concept (official name: Mercedes Concept EQG) is a modified second-gen Mercedes G-Class with EV-specific styling bits and an entirely different powertrain. Key external changes include a two-tone color scheme consisting of gloss black on the top and gloss aluminum on the bottom, a black panel radiator grille featuring an illuminated star, an animated squircle pattern around the star, and an all-round illuminated band on the edges, 22-inch EV-style wheels, and an EV wallbox charger-inspired lockable box in place of the spare wheel cover.
The second-gen G-Class’s evolutionary design indicates that customers prefer progressive changes built on the original character and aren’t looking for a low-slung aerodynamic car. With that in mind, the media always expected the EQG to look very close to the regular model, and the concept version confirms that speculation.
The EQG will have several differences in the bodywork from the current gas-powered G-Class, Autocar reported on September 15, 2023. Dr. Emmerich Schiller has indicated that the changes on the EQG won’t be easily noticeable and said that some of these revisions will lead to dramatic improvement in aerodynamics. Dr. Schiller is the CEO of Mercedes-Benz G and the Head of the Off-Road Vehicle Division of Mercedes-Benz. Most of the EQG’s aerodynamic improvements will be seen on the facelifted version of the gas-powered G-Class, which is simultaneously under development and we expect to follow shortly after.
The Mercedes-Benz G will test the EQG around the world before putting it in showrooms, ensuring it performs just as expected. Prototypes are frequently sighted in Germany and Austria, where engineers are running many tests.
Recently, Mercedes spotter and YouTube channel walkoARTvideos shared a clip of an EQG from near Mercedes-Benz Group’s Sindelfingen production facility in Germany. Magna Steyr, the company responsible for the upcoming EV’s production, has an engineering center less than a mile away from this site, and that’s probably where the test mule was coming from.
Video Source: YouTube/walkoARTvideos
The camouflaged prototype has a different front fascia from the G-Class, with an almost fully covered upper grille that has just two thin openings on either side of the brand logo, a different lower air intake, and curvier side air inlets. Needless to say, much of this, if not all, is trickery, and the final design is likely to be different.
Spy pictures (via InsideEVs) suggest the production Mercedes EQG will have an interior that looks quite similar to the concept. They reveal a different steering wheel, which looks like the AMG Performance steering wheel with double-spoke design and could be an optional feature in an AMG Line or the AMG variant. The climate control panel is a cleaner unit, and the design looks similar to the one in the new A-Class and new CLA, but it has different knurls. The touchpad is also new, and it looks bigger and slimmer.
Where the gas-powered G-Class has its rear differential lock switch, the production EQG has a ‘G-Turn’ switch. We’ve explained that feature in the next section. The switch next to it (in the center) is to enable low-range gearing, which comes useful in the ‘Creeper’ drive mode that’s basically like low-speed cruise control for off-roading. More on that later. On its left, where the gas model has its front differential lock switch, the electric model has a switch for what seems to be another party trick. When InsideEVs asked about this switch while driving an EQG prototype last year, it was told “That’s for another day.”
Mercedes EQG specifications
Like the F-150 Lightning, the Mercedes EQG will be a conversion of an ICE model (the second-gen G-Class). Mercedes-Benz Group is repurposing in a bid to keep the development & production costs in check, and most importantly, preserve the capabilities of the iconic off-roader, and introduce it faster to the market. This would also mean that it would not have the best features like Mercedes cars developed as an EV from the outset. So, don’t expect a frunk, a flat floor, or the Hyperscreen display on the Electric G-Wagon.
In November 2022, a few publications got to ride in early prototypes of the Mercedes EQG. Autocar was one of them, and Mercedes-Benz G CEO Dr. Emmerich Schiller told the British website that the electric variant of the G-Class has “two skateboards with the same hat on top.” Like on the donor model, “the body is connected to the ladder frame at eight points,” Dr. Schiller added. He also revealed that the weight of the EQG is less than 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs.).
In 2024 we will launch our full-electric G-Class as well. It will continue the great story of our G-series.Britta Seeger, BoM member – Marketing and Sales (Mercedes-Benz Cars), Mercedes-Benz Group (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive 2021)
The Mercedes EQG will be available with triple-motor and quad-motor powertrain options. However, note that only the latter has been officially confirmed. Of course, we knew that the expensive and power-hungry quad-motor powertrain won’t be standard, but it has come to light only recently that a triple-motor powertrain will also be on offer.
While the triple-motor GMC Hummer EV SUV has two units at the rear and one unit at the front, spy pictures indicate that the triple-motor EQG will have two units at the front and one unit at the rear, as per a report InsideEVs.com released on March 15, 2023.
We wish there was an even simpler, more range-focused variant with just two motors, be it instead of the triple-motor variant or in addition to that. But we doubt three types of drivetrain layouts would be commercially viable for a product that will be so niche, even if it offers high margins like the gas-powered G-Class.
As for the quad-motor EQG, it’ll have a setup that mimics the functionality of the G-Class’ three 100‑percent differential locks. This setup should be exclusive to the Mercedes-AMG EQG. Mercedes-AMG hasn’t confirmed whether they’ll be conventional motors or in-wheel hub motors. “We will mount four electric motors very close to the wheels,” Mercedes-AMG CEO Michael Schiebe told journalists at the S 63 E Performance media drive, Motor Authority reported on June 22, 2023.
In-wheel hub motors could add unsprung weight to the EQG at its wheels, affecting ride quality. However, Mercedes-Benz AMG has axial-flux motor technology at its disposal, courtesy of YASA, the British electric-motor specialist Mercedes-Benz Group acquired in July 2021. Axial-flux motors weigh just 1/3rd that of radial-flux motors and require just 1/3rd of the space. Mercedes-Benz Group says these motors, planned to be made in-house at the Berlin-Marienfelde factory, “will be at the heart of the forthcoming powertrain for the performance segment.”
Autocar says Mercedes-Benz has mounted the motors powering the EQG’s front wheels low at each side within the front axle and integrated the rear motors further inboard within the rear axle. The rear axle is a newly developed, a de Dion unit designed especially for the EQG.
The motors send drive to their respective wheels via a two-speed gearbox with a low-range gear ratio. The driver will be able to choose from seven drive modes, including four selections specifically for off-road usage: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Trail, Rock, Sand, and Creeper. It is possible to route all the power to a single wheel, a capability that could come in handy in tricky off-road situations. The power distribution between the wheels is “incredibly precise,” Dr. Schiller said.
Battery & Range
Like the Mercedes Vision EQXX, the EQG will feature a battery pack with an energy storage capacity of around 100 kWh, Dr. Schiller said. We’re talking about a new type of battery pack with a remarkably high energy density, which will require cells with a high level of silicon content.
On April 4, 2023, Sila Nanotechnologies announced Titan Silicon, a nano-composite (NCS) anode. The company said graphite anodes and simple silicon compounds (Si, SiO, SiO2) for Li-ion batteries have peaked out, and Titan Silicon is the solution to boost EV performance now. It claims the new silicon anode can improve the range of EVs by 20% –potentially an increment of 100 miles for some models, reduce the 10-80% charging time from currently as long as 60 minutes to just 20 minutes, reduce the battery weight by 15%, and offer a 20% space savings.
The same day Sila Nanotechnologies made the announcement, Bloomberg published a report saying the Mercedes EQG will feature Titan Silicon anodes. No surprise there, since the American next-generation battery materials company and the German automaker had already announced a tie-up for the anodes electric off-roader’s batteries.
On May 17, 2022, Sila Nanotechnologies and Mercedes-Benz had announced that the battery of the all-electric G-Class will use Sila’s silicon anode chemistry. The joint statement from the two companies had stated that the technology will enable a 20-40% increase in energy density, reaching more than 800 Wh/l at cell level. According to Källenius (via Motortrend), the EQG would be the most energy-dense battery in a vehicle.
We are making breakthroughs in advanced battery cell chemistry to deliver even higher energy density. This means packaging more energy into smaller volumes, delivering greater range on the one hand and more space on the other. High-silicon anodes play a major role in this.Markus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer, Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: Economics of Desire on May 19, 2022)
The benefit of increased energy density would be that Mercedes-Benz won’t need large battery packs to meet range requirements. Sila Nanotechnologies’ futuristic anode will allow for storing more energy in the same space, which means increased range without adding weight.
The advanced silicon anode materials will be manufactured using 100% clean energy at Sila Nanotechnologies’ Washington state facility and Mercedes-Benz G is the factory’s first publicly announced customer.
As a frame SUV, the EQG will be heavy, and a battery with improved energy density would be ideal. Mercedes-Benz G is likely to ensure that the EQG can do over 300 miles (483 km) on a single charge. The EQG will have three stages of regenerative braking – D+, D, and D-.
A second battery pack in the works?
According to a report by JESMB published on May 4, 2023, the G-Class EV will be available with two different types of battery packs. While one variant will feature the advanced Titan Silicon anode, there is no information available regarding the type or energy storage capacity of the second battery pack. However, the second option could be a less advanced unit that can be manufactured in larger volumes and without interruptions. It might not be as energy efficient, and thus, may deliver a shorter range. However, it would allow Mercedes-Benz G to price the EQG from a lower point.
The JESMB report also states that the battery pack of the EQG will be built into its ladder frame. It will be protected by 3.4 mm thick steel and secured from below by carbon-fiber. There’s no word on the charging rate or time yet. The German publication has seen a prototype’s battery pack charging at 80 kW even after reaching 90 kWh capacity, though.
For those wondering about the EQG’s towing capacity, Mercedes-Benz G has bad news. According to a report Australia’s Drive released on November 23, 2022, the EQG is unlikely to be tow-rated. Dr. Schiller said that towing would have a significant impact on the range, so the company is “not sure at this stage if it will be offered on initial generation.”
Mercedes-Benz Group promises an “enormous pulling power and controllability” for the production model. It says that, like the G-Class, the EQG will boast “a climbing capacity of up to 100 percent on suitable ground.” Towards the end of its development, the company will test it on the 1,445-meter-high Schöckl mountain in Graz, Austria. And that won’t be one but 300 times, as per the Drive report.
Källenius drove a prototype of the EQG in Graz. He was so impressed by the EQG prototype that he proposed that every off-road-focused Mercedes-Benz model from here on should be an EV! The brand boss was speaking at a media roundtable held on September 22, 2022, Autoblog reported the same day. The CEO promised that the electric G-Class will have “phenomenal performance on and off the road,” as per MotorTrend.
Instead of steel, Mercedes-Benz G has used a new outer material for the battery casing of the EQG to ensure extra safety in case of any impacts during off-roading. According to Autocar, the battery casing is a combination of steel and carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer compound.
The electric G has an Off-road Monitor that displays information about the dampers and springs when it is on a path with a lot of ups and downs, the degree of tilt when it is side-hill, and other important data when driving on an off-road course.
G-Class-like suspension system
Like the G-Class, the EQG has a double-wishbone suspension at the front and a rigid axle suspension at the rear. The driver can replicate the effect of the G-Class’ three differential locks with a new electronic system that Mercedes-Benz G has developed. The company wants to ensure that the EQG is equally capable as the G-Class, both on and off the road.
Tank turn or ‘G-Turn’
Video Source: YouTube/ASV Mercedes-Benz
Compared to the G-Class, the EQG has a smaller turning circle. It can do a tank turn, or in Mercedes-Benz G parlance, a ‘G-Turn.’ The driver can activate it using a dashboard-mounted button. When enabled, the wheels on one side spin forward and the wheels on the other side turn backward. The driver can choose the side they want the vehicle to turn through the respective paddle shifter.
Like the GLS’ Freifahrmodus (rocking mode), G-Turn will be a party trick for most customers. But, in the same way, for customers who actually take it on off-road adventures, it will offer practical advantages, allowing them to safely turn out in tight situations, Dr. Schiller said. Making a 360-degree turn on its own axis is the electric G-Class’ biggest trick. There will be at least one more surprise, but Mercedes-Benz G is saving it for later, the brand boss indicated.
Another milestone on the off-track to series production is the impressive maneuver we call ‘G-turn.’ It encompasses four electric motors, one at each wheel, plus a brand-new independent front suspension, (and) a rigid rear axle developed specifically for electric vehicles. So simply put, it allows the electric G-Class to turn on its own axis.Markus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer, Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: Economics of Desire on May 19, 2022)
Mercedes EQG variants
On April 1, 2021, Mercedes-Benz Group filed trademark applications at the EU trademark office for names that it may use for the Mercedes EQG: EQG 560 and EQG 580. The company had registered the EQG name at EUIPO in 2016 and owns that trademark. On April 3, 2022, it revealed the use of 580 on a Mercedes EQS variant (EQS 580 4MATIC+). In August 2021, Mercedes-Benz Group filed EQG 560 and EQG 580 trademark applications at Australian, Canadian, American, and the WIPO trademark offices as well. In Australia, Canada, and the U.S., the status (as of November 24, 2021) shows ‘Pending,’ while the WIPO trademark office has approved the application.
An AMG high-performance variant (Mercedes-AMG EQG) is likely to be a part of the planned model line, though the company has not provided confirmation. According to the Drive report, Dr. Schiller has suggested that the performance would match the 577-hp AMG G 63, which takes just 4.5 seconds for a 0-60 mph sprint.
On September 3, 2023, Mercedes-Benz Group held a Pre-Night event for the 2023 Munich Motor Show. Here, Källenius briefly talked about the Mercedes EQG, and its tentative release date:
The G-Class has been defining off-road capability for more than 40 years. Its iconic shape is built to last. The all-electric G will arrive as early as next year.Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group (IAA 2023 Pre-Night event at the Mercedes-Benz Pavilion on September 3, 2023)
The same day, in a press release for the 2023 Munich Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz Group said that the G-Class EV is months away from its world premiere.
At the media roundtable held on September 22, 2022, Källenius had issued a more specific release date, saying that the company plans to launch the EQG in mid-to-late 2024. According to the Bloomberg report from April 2023, Titan Silicon production will begin in late 2024.
Production capacity increase
During the Q4 2021 results call, Källenius spoke about the G-Class brand. He referred to the SUV as the ‘Birkin handbag of Mercedes,’ as something hard to get. The CEO added that Mercedes-Benz would want to capitalize on this opportunity because this high demand can also fade away.
Long delivery times could hurt the model’s desirability. Mercedes-Benz will cautiously expand the production capacity in Graz, for the EQG, which would keep the G-Class range attractive yet attainable for an extended period.
We will not go overboard with regard to expansion on the G, we have some quite exciting ideas how you can do different editions of the G that will keep that car very attractive and a lot of people that are contacting me are asking about the electric G that is due in a couple of years’ time. I think that electric G that will also add impetus to this franchise, inside our luxury side of the business.Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group during the Q4 2021 results call, on February 24, 2022
On May 3, 2023, Kleine Zeitung reported that Mercedes-Benz Group has extended its contract for sourcing the G-Class from Magna Steyr from 2025 to 2029. The contract manufacturer is expected to hike G-Class production from an estimated 45,000 units in 2023 to 55,000 units in 2024, as per the Austrian newspaper. It will build more than 10,000 units of the EQG as early as 2024. Germany, the USA, and China have the highest demand for the G-Class, and they could turn out to be the most popular markets for its electric variant, too.
Mercedes to stick with ‘G-Class’ branding for the Electric G-Wagon?
A Handelsblatt report first published on January 12, 2023, mentioned that Mercedes could drop the ‘EQ’ branding from its line-up of electric cars in the future. In markets that allow, the company wants to switch to an all-EV fleet by 2030, rendering the ‘EQ’ sub-brand unnecessary, the German report noted. As per a JESMB report dated January 13, 2023, the G-Class Electric is to be the first new electric Mercedes model to not have ‘EQ’ in the name. The report went on to state that the electrified G-Wagon would debut with the name “Mercedes G 580e.”
As car enthusiasts, we can agree that the G has stood the test of time and still stirs up a lot of emotion. It’s a true motoring icon, having faced and adapted to everything that has changed in the automotive world since 1979. Design, safety and emission regulations, customer preferences – you name it. As the world moves to electric propulsion, the ultimate luxury off-roader that Mercedes-Benz Group says is “stronger than time” will once again tackle and overcome challenges to remain available to its die-hard fans.
Mercedes Electric G-Wagon FAQs
What is the Mercedes EQG release date?
The EQG will be launched in the market in mid to late 2024.
Which are the competitors to the future Electric G-Wagon?
What is the expected Mercedes EQG price?
The all-electric G-Class should start north of USD 150,000 in the U.S. market.
Featured image: Mercedes-Benz Group