Mercedes-Benz might be a bit slow in introducing its electric models, but it’s soon set to come out swinging, with the new EQA SUV.
For a company recognised as makers of the world’s first automobile, as well as pioneers of automotive technology throughout its 138-year history, it’s perhaps a bit of a surprise that Mercedes-Benz is seemingly behind the curve when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs). BMW’s been dabbling in the technology in 2013, Jaguar and Audi brought the first conventional luxury EVs to market (the I-Pace and e-Tron respectively) in quick succession in 2018, and throughout 2020 the Porsche Taycan was the poster child of electric cars. And that’s even before getting into the frenzied cult of Tesla…
All that’s set to change for Mercedes, however. Although the company actually launched its first EV, the EQC SUV, in 2019, momentum is only now starting to ramp up, with four new models set to be unveiled in 2021. The first of these is the EQA you see here, and though it’s only the sophomore effort for the Mercedes-EQ sub-brand, in many ways it is its most important.
Chiefly, this is because of accessibility. The EQC is larger, more powerful, and therefore more expensive. The EQA on the other hand, marks the entry level of the Mercedes-EQ range (the sub-brand dedicated to electric mobility), and will almost certainly be the most popular, by simple virtue of being the most affordable option.
Based on its pricing in Europe, we reckon it’ll cost around S$200k here after factoring COE and rebates/incentives. In comparison, that’s only slightly more than the GLA compact SUV it’s based on (a mid-range GLA 200 currently retails for S$192k), and half as much as the EQC’s projected ballpark price of S$400k.
The other big reason is familiarity. It’s all well and good for the techies and early adopters who are happy to adapt to new technology, but for the many others who are of a conservative disposition, sometimes it’s better not to throw too many new experiences into the mix. To that end, the EQA is recognisably simply a GLA that’s wearing a bandit’s black mask across its front end and a full-width taillight strip across its rear.
The connection is even more stark when viewed from the side or inside, with the EQA boasting an identical silhouette and interior design to the GLA.
Good thing the car already had a really spiffy looking interior then. The dual widescreen setup and 64-colour ambient lighting give off a suitably high-tech vibe that’s appropriate for an EV. Worthy of note is a navigation system that has “Electric Intelligence”. It’s internet-connected, and can take into account weather, topography, and traffic conditions in its calculations, as well as “make allowances” if a stop to charge up the car is required.
That’ll be quite an unlikely eventuality in Singapore though, as the launch model, the EQA 250, has a maximum range of 480km – sufficient to get to Kuala Lumpur when the borders do eventually open. The EQA 250’s electric motor produces 192hp and 375Nm of torque, which is competitive for a car of this size, although variants with more power and longer range will be introduced in due time.
Small SUVs are the hot topic item of the day – reflected in the GLA and GLB alone making up 10 percent of Mercedes-Benz’s car sales in 2020. This is probably a big reason why the company chose this to be the GLA’s bodystyle instead of a small hatchback. The other three models to make their global debut are the EQB, EQE, and EQS (based on the GLB seven-seater compact SUV, E-Class luxury saloon and S-Class limousine respectively).
As for the Singapore market, expect the EQC to arrive in the second quarter, and the EQA to follow suit in the second half of the year.
Has this article gotten you a little more curious about EVs? Check out a few more in our Rides section.