After a false start, Mercedes-Benz will finally kick off its electric car offensive at this year’s edition of the Geneva Auto Show. The first-ever EQ C will be one of the stars of the company’s stand at the annual event. It’s a purpose-designed battery-electric SUV that will certainly give Tesla plenty to worry about as it develops the Model Y.
Preview images of an EQ C prototype drifting on ice somewhere far north of the Arctic Circle confirm the model draws inspiration from the Generation EQ concept car we saw at the 2016 Paris Auto Show. It’s close to the existing, gasoline-powered GLC in terms of size and style but it receives an electric-specific front end design. It also retains the familiar proportions of a family-friendly soft-roader.
While Mercedes hasn’t released technical specifications yet, British magazine Autocar got to ride in an early EQ C prototype last year. It reported power comes from a pair of electric motors that deliver over 400 horsepower. The drivetrain alternates between front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive as needed. Once the motors zap the wheels into action, the EQ C takes less than five seconds to perform the benchmark zero-to-60-mph sprint. Its lithium-ion battery pack delivers about 300 miles of range, a figure which places it ahead of Tesla’s Model X.
The Mercedes-Benz EQ C reflects a major trend at this year’s Geneva show: electrification. It’s not the official focus of the event, but it’s the path many auto-makers are taking to get the attention of consumers. We’ll also see the Jaguar I-Pace, a battery-powered crossover with a pair of electric motors and a usable 240-mile range. And, rumors claim Audi will present its e-tron SUV during the event.
The EQ C is just the beginning of Mercedes’ electric car offensive. The company plans on expanding the lineup with at least three additional models named EQ A, EQ E, and EQ S, respectively. The last letter denotes which rung of the Mercedes hierarchy they’ll sit on. The A will be A-Class-sized, the E will be E-Class-sized, and so on. We expect most of them will be crossovers rather than sedans or hatchbacks.