Update: ‘Off-roading capability’ section updated.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, we’ve seen the Mercedes G-Class go all sporty with AMG variants, pump iron with variants like 4×4² and 6×6, get armored with the Guard variant, and find regalness with the Landaulet variant. Two decades in, as the world transitions to zero-emission vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Group (formerly Daimler) is unwrapping a new side of the Geländewagen, one which is clean and classy, previewed by the Mercedes EQG concept.
The Mercedes EQG is one of the most anticipated European electric SUVs since October 2020, when Mercedes-Benz Group held the Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update 2020 event, confirming plans for an electric off-roader. The electric G-Class that debuted at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) is a concept, but a mass-production model has been signed-off by the company.
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’ 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 interior of the Mercedes EQG concept doesn’t have too many differences from the G-Class. The overall design and layout are the same, yet the cabin looks rich and clean, mainly because it’s whiter than white. It seems a more peaceful space due to the light color, which can only complement the silent operation of the electric powertrain.
The steering wheel is new, although it doesn’t look noticeably different. The center console trim is also unique to the concept model. The instrument cluster and central display have exclusive graphics, with the former giving EV-specific information and the latter displaying the Mercedes-EQ branding and a three-dimensional star pattern. The hallmark three differential lock switches in the center console are only for show purposes, so, they don’t have a differential lock icon on them.
On November 8, 2019, at the Automobilewoche Kongress, Kallenius revealed that a Mercedes G Class Electric is in the pipeline. This was the first time we got to hear from Mercedes-Benz Group about complete electrification for its off-roader, and the buzz around the electric G-Class has grown louder since.
Mercedes EQG platform
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 not considering its electric-only or electric-first platforms 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 flat floor or the Hyperscreen display on the G-Class EV.
Before Mercedes-Benz Group announced the Mercedes EQG concept, reports said that the production version would feature four individual motors, a setup that mimics the functionality of the Mercedes G-Class’ three 100‑percent differential locks. We’re talking about conventional motors here, not in-wheel motors. A WLTP range of 500+ km/311+ miles doesn’t seem like an overstretch.
The instrument cluster in the pictures released by Mercedes (above) show about 75% charging and 315 km (196 miles) range remaining in the Mercedes EQG concept. With 100% charging, the range could be 420 km (261 miles). However, it wouldn’t be technically right to assume this as the maximum possible range.
With its short wheelbase of 189.7 inches, the Mercedes EQG probably cannot accommodate the 107.8 kWh battery pack of the Mercedes EQS, which has a length of 126.4 inches between the axles. Comprising 12 cell modules, this battery pack delivers a range (WLTP) of up to 780 km or 478 miles in the 0.20 cd-boasting EQS. Mercedes-Benz Group could go for a new, double-stacked battery pack, although it would need to keep the ground clearance in check. Details on the electrical configuration of the EQG should emerge later this year.
Mercedes-Benz Group wants to develop a modular battery system with different cell chemistries and heights, only two differentiating characteristics that impact the range, charging, and driving performance. The company aims to improve its eDrive system also to increase the range of its EVs.
We are aiming for a modular battery system that consists of uniformly designed components and a standardized interface to the entire vehicle. Only two differentiating characteristics will create the necessary variance in terms of range, charging and driving performance: cell chemistry and the height. Besides a very innovative battery technology, an improved eDrive system contributes to further increasing the range and efficiency of electric vehicles.Markus Schafer, Chief Technical Officer, Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive)
California-based Sila Nanotechnologies and Mercedes-Benz announced on May 17, 2022, that the battery of the all-electric G-Class will use Sila’s silicon anode chemistry. The high-silicon anode material increases energy density without compromising safety and performance. The joint statement from the two companies states that the technology will enable a 20-40% increase in energy density, reaching more than 800 Wh/l at cell level.
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 Schafer, Chief Technology Officer, Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: Economics of Desire on May 19, 2022)
The advanced silicon anode materials will be manufactured using 100% clean energy at Sila’s Washington state facility and Mercedes-Benz is the factory’s first publicly announced customer. Moreover, the companies are targeting the mid-decade timeline to introduce the new battery technology on the pure electric G-Class. As a frame SUV, the EQG is likely to be heavy, and a battery with improved energy density would help it preserve range despite the weight penalty.
Like the G-Class of today, the Concept EQG has independent suspension on the front axle and a rigid axle at the rear. The concept version’s four electric motors, each close to a different wheel, are individually controllable. The driver can activate the vehicle’s off-road reduction via a two-speed gearbox.
Video Source: YouTube/ASV Mercedes-Benz
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 1445-meter high Schöckl mountain in Graz.
On May 19, 2022, Mercedes-Benz held an ‘Economics of Desire’ strategy update event where Markus Schafer, the company’s Chief Technical Officer, played a video showing the G-Class doing a tank turn, or in Mercedes-Benz parlance, a ‘G-Turn.’ Apparently, the production EQG’s biggest off-road trick will be able to make a 360-degree turn on its own axis. Schafer explained this feature while revealing the production version will also have an independent front suspension and a rigid axle:
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 Schafer, Chief Technology Officer, Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: Economics of Desire on May 19, 2022)
Mercedes-Benz Group is likely to ensure that the EQG can comfortably conquer the Schöckl than the Berlin to Stuttgart trip (629 km/391 miles via A9) on a single charge. Though purists would want to drive the G-Class manually, electric, or otherwise, the company may offer optional autonomous driving capability in the EQG, for EQ models stand for futuristic travel.
The Mercedes EQG will prove that all-electric off-road SUVs can be as capable as any conventional off-road SUV. Mercedes-Benz Group had given a fine demonstration in 2020 in the Mercedes EQC 4×4², an extreme off-roader concept based on the EQC 400 4MATIC.
Thanks to multi-link portal axles, the one-off EQC 4×4 Squared concept offers more than double the production model’s ground clearance – 293 mm (EQC: 140 mm). The approach, departure, and breakover angles increase by 11.2 degrees, 13.0 degrees, and 12.6 degrees, respectively, to 31.8 degrees, 33.0 degrees, and 24.2 degrees. Another highlight is an increased fording depth of 400 mm (+250 mm). Increased track width and chunky 285/50 R20 Cooper Zeon tires are also among the various modifications. Mercedes-Benz Group could use the learnings from this concept in the development of the EQG.
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 now. 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) should also be a part of the planned model line.
Mercedes-Benz Group confirmed in 2021 that it plans to launch the Mercedes EQG in 2024, two years after the Mercedes EQS SUV. On March 18, 2022, Motor Trend reported that Ola Kallenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group, reaffirmed to the publication that the EQG would go on sale in 2024.
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)
As engineers work on the production-ready Mercedes EQG, Mercedes-Benz Group is taking the concept version around the globe to dealers, potential customers, G-Wagen fans, and others. The most recent showcase was at the 2021 Seoul Motor Show between November 26 and December 5, 2021.
Mercedes-Benz has also launched a special page for the Concept EQG on its global website (mercedes-benz.com). The space-themed webpage reflects the futuristic nature of the concept model and what’s to come in the production version. Replete with references to cult-status flicks like Star Wars and Star Trek, it provides brief information about the G’s legacy and its future path. There’s no scoop information about the production EQG, though, with Mercedes-Benz requesting potential customers and fans to stay tuned.
Mercedes-Benz Group EV strategy
Mercedes-Benz Group has rejigged its future EV strategy from electric-first to electric-only by 2030. In the first year alone (2025), the company plans to introduce three electric-only architectures, and customers will have an EV alternative to every Mercedes-Benz model.
By 2025, our customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model we make. We will introduce 3 new EV-only architectures. And by the end of this decade we will be ready to go 100% electric – where market conditions allow.Ola Kallenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive 2021)
Mercedes G-Class breaks sales record in 2021
Global demand for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class surged to new heights in 2021 with record sales of 41,174 units. The admiration for the boxy off-roader reached new levels in 2021, earning its best-ever result since the original W460 model was introduced back in 1979. In Q1 2022, the G-Class recorded double-digit growth, Mercedes Group CFO Harald Wilhelm said during the company’s Q1 2022 earnings conference call on April 27, 2022.
In December 2020, Mercedes-Benz reached a production milestone with the G-Class, rolling out its 400,000th unit off the production line in Graz, Austria. It took 3.5 years for the last 100,000 G-Class units to roll off the plant (300,000 to 400,000) as demand remains high for the SUV with waiting periods of up to 2 years in Germany as of January 2022 (via JESMB.de). With sales soaring, we predict that the 500,000th unit will roll out as early as mid-2023. Its zero-emissions counterpart, which goes on sale in 2024, should only help the G-Wagen’s appeal as it closes in on its 50th birthday.
Production capacity increased to accommodate the Mercedes EQG
During the Q4 2021 results call, Kallenius 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 at the plant in Graz for the upcoming electric 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 Kallenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group during the Q4 2021 results call, in Feb 2022
Mercedes EQG (Mercedes G-Class Electric) FAQs
What is the Mercedes EQG release date?
Britta Seeger, Mercedes BoM member responsible for Marketing & Sales, has confirmed a 2024 release date for the Mercedes EQG.
Which are the competitors to the future G-Class Electric?
What is the expected Mercedes EQG price?
The all-electric G-Class should start north of USD 140,000 in the U.S. market.
Featured image: Mercedes-Benz Group