Most of the automotive industry has now settled on a fairly predictable formula for building electric cars. That includes Mercedes-Benz, which has a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) on the way that share most features and many parts.
The company plans to go all-electric in most markets by 2030. To achieve this, it builds electric equivalents to many of its gas-powered cars, which share a large number of components and a common design platform.
But off-roaders present a different engineering challenge – Mercedes has only one legendary off-road vehicle, the G-Class. The famous German automaker realized that to build an electric equivalent, it would need a different formula.
CEO Emmerich Schiller tells UK’s AutoCar it means the next Mercedes-Benz EQG will not share a platform with other electric Mercedes models.
An old G-Wagen platform, a new G-Wagen fuel source
Most Mercedes electric vehicles, such as the Sedan EQE, SUV EQE, EQS sedanand SUV EQS, are built on a common skateboard platform. As a nearly flat combination of battery, electric motors, steering and suspension parts, engineers can scale it up or down to build many kinds of cars.
But the EQG will ride on a modified version of the steel ladder frame chassis that makes the gas-powered G-Class such a capable off-road vehicle. “As with the internal combustion engine models, the body is connected to the ladder frame at eight points,” explains Schiller.
Other Mercedes electric vehicles use one or two electric motors attached to the axles. The EQG will instead use four motors, one powering each wheel.
This is the same approach used in the Rivian R1Tone of the most capable off-roaders we’ve tested in recent years.
Kelley Blue Book’s parent company, Cox Automotive, is a minority investor in Rivian.
“Individual drive control of each wheel offers a whole new level of capability,” says Schiller. “It’s really fun every four weeks to race the latest prototypes. I think we have the best electric off-roader.
The AMG version is also coming
Mercedes is keeping performance details close to the vest for now. But Schiller tells AutoCar that there will be several models with different power levels. They will include a flagship AMG model.
There was one detail Schiller would reveal – the electric G-Class will be capable of a “tank turn” in which the front wheels turn one way and the rear wheels another, letting it turn without moving forward or backward. It is also similar to the Rivian.
Mercedes will seal the battery to enable fording in deep water, he says. This approach has proven problematic for some off-roaders. However, other companies remain convinced that it can work – maybe even allow an electric vehicle to float.
The EQG, AutoCar reports, is at least “two years away from its planned launch.”