Over the last few weeks Motoring Weekly has been discussing movements in the electric vehicle market. One article was about Faraday Future’s plans for production and how that was progressing in California and there were articles about Tesla, specifically about their delivery volumes that are now affecting buyers Federal Tax Credits. I made a comment about the fact that Tesla’s competition have a short window from January 2019 to make hay while the sun shines until they too have delivered enough cars to reduce the tax credits.
We expect Faraday Future, Karma and other niche manufacturers to get their deliveries to a volume over the next two years that will level the playing field. However, now we have the bigger players starting to release vehicles – BMW have been selling the i-series for a while and Jaguar have the i-Pace coming on stream.
Mercedes-Benz have joined the fray with a whole new model line-up with the EQC series. I’ve made comment before about how many product lines the three main german luxury manufacturers have, so M-B have added another! As with Jaguar, the EQC range starts with an SUV.
The company has stated that electric powertrains are the future which I think many people would agree that this is the case for all manufacturers and they expect to deliver ten new models over the next few years under the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands. This will help them globally, especially in China where the locals have control of the market. Underpinning all these new models is their Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) and the first SUV has been designed to be similar to the GLC range – a smaller vehicle that the ML/GL series.
Power is rated at 80 kW/h equivalent to 300 KW, with quite a low top speed to reduce the demand on the battery which suggests that they will produce a “series 2” upgrade within the year that removes that restriction possibly through newer technology. Power is through two motors – one for the front wheels and one at the rear. The front motor will get used the most with the rear one kicking in when needed. I suspect that most will rarely use the rear motor as they will be town or city cars. Range is around 400 kms (250 miles) which is standard for today’s technology.
Production is expected to start early in 2019 in Germany and they suggest that it will also be built in the US and China. M-B says that the design is “trailblazing”, personally, I think it is very conservative and so similar to the GLC that it could have been called the GLCe!
What is interesting is that the company expects to lose sales of other models in favour of the EQC. As this model is the start of a new range, one would expect that to happen and with so many model ranges, it might help to reduce the number of different ranges which would reduce costs somewhat. The key though is to win against the competition and this model isn’t exciting enough to take sales off BMW or Audi. I think they are right – sales will come from the existing base first.