In the United States, the wait for Mercedes-Benz’s first mass-market electric car just got longer.
Mercedes pushed back the U.S. launch of its EQC crossover until 2021, multiple media outlets have reported. That’s about a year after the first-quarter 2020 target Mercedes was originally aiming for. The delay is due to high demand for the EQC in Europe, where the model launched earlier in 2019.
A Mercedes spokesperson told Automotive News that the delay was “a strategic decision to first support the growing customer demand for the EQC in Europe.” Digital Trends reached out to Mercedes and received the following statement from a spokesperson.
“The EQC launch in Europe and other markets earlier in 2019 generated high interest worldwide for the EQC. In a recent direction from Daimler AG, it is a strategic decision to first support the growing customer demand for the EQC in Europe. As a result of this decision, the U.S. market launch date of the Mercedes-Benz EQC will be rescheduled to 2021 (originally Q1 2020).”
Autoblog received the same statement from Mercedes, but also noted that concentrating EQC sales in Europe could help the automaker avoid significant fines. While Mercedes did not comment directly on this, Autoblog noted that automakers in Europe will be subject to stricter emissions regulations starting in 2020. Only 5% of an automaker’s fleet will be allowed to emit more than 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, with the percentage dropping to zero in 2021. Automakers will be charged 95 euros ($106) for every gram over the limit. That may not sound like a lot, but it is expected to add up to millions of dollars in fines for the worst offenders.
This isn’t the first time an automaker has delayed the launch of a new electric model due to demand overseas. The next-generation Kia Soul EV has also been pushed back to 2021 — roughly two years later than expected. The Soul EV is already available in Europe, but Kia previously told Digital Trends that limited production capacity forced a delay of the U.S. launch. Production bottlenecks also led Mitsubishi to delay the U.S. launch of its Outlander plug-in hybrid for several years.
The delay means Mercedes will remain on the sidelines while rivals rack up sales. Jaguar and Audi recently launched their first mass-market electric cars, and Audi has already confirmed plans for more. BMW sells the pint-sized i3 but is planning larger models that will likely appeal to a broader audience. An electric version of the X3 crossover is due in 2020. The i4 sedan will follow the electric X3, although it may not arrive in U.S. showrooms before the EQC.
When it eventually goes on sale in the U.S., the EQC will have a base price of $68,895, which undercuts the rival Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-Tron. Mercedes hasn’t released a range estimate for the U.S.-spec EQC, but it will need to offer significantly more than 200 miles per charge to be competitive.
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