Mercedes-Benz is developing a next-generation medium-sized luxury SUV and sedan spinoff that might prove to be the benchmark in the affordable luxury electric vehicle (EV) field.
Now in gestation and in line for a global debut some time in 2024, the second-generation EQC SUV will be nothing like the existing four-year-old EV of the same name, severing most ties with the GLC while harnessing the latest electrification technologies Mercedes-Benz is developing.
If this sounds like the pre-launch hyperbole of an overly-confident German carmaker, then consider this: while the coming EQC II’s styling may end up being evolutionary by connecting with the brand’s latest stable of electric SUVs like the EQS SUV, it’s what lies underneath that will make all the difference.
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That’s because the EQC II is expected to be the first Mercedes-Benz to use the 96-year-old brand’s highly-anticipated MMA architecture – a modular component set designed primarily for electrification, but with enough flexibility to also include internal combustion engines (ICE ) within either a hybrid or range-extending capacity.
It’s not a pure EV skateboard architecture, then, but unlike the current EQC, EQA and EQB EVs Mercedes-Benz sells right now, MMA is not a highly-modified development of an existing ICE platform either, and was designed from the beginning to incorporate electrification. Result? Far fewer packaging compromises.
So, what? Well, along with boasting the latest EV advances and greater efficiencies, MMA’s immense development costs should be amortized over potentially millions of related but different vehicles, bringing down costs in the process.
Along with the EQC II SUV, one of the key models will be a C-Class-sized rival to the Tesla Model 3 known as the EQC Sedan. Previewed in January this year by the lightweight and ultra-aerodynamic Vision EQXX concept at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, over 1000km of range is expected to be available from the production version.
As a result, MMA promises to be the democratization of premium EVs with substantially improved performance, range and recharging properties thrown in, while still adhering to the Mercedes-Benz engineering philosophy.
In a media statement issued in late July, Mercedes-Benz refers to the still-secret range of MMA-based EVs as ‘Entry Luxury’, and is believed to encompass the replacements for the existing first-generation EQA and EQB, as well as the EQC models, among a wave of future smaller Benzes.
MMA will be positioned below the Core Luxury EV models that will use the cutting-edge MB.EA (Mercedes-Benz Electric Architecture) all-electric skateboard architecture, with no ICE options. They will most likely be E-Class/GLE/EQE size and up, with a further development taking in the so-called ‘Top End Luxury AMG’ high-performance flagship models using the self-explanatory AMG.EA (AMG Electric Architecture) .
From a functionality point of view, the EQC II on MMA is expected to include a completely new type of battery that’s a fraction of the size and weight of existing items yet with comparable energy density of what the flagship EQS currently offers.
Other innovations are said to be an 800V (or better) architecture (to match or beat the likes of the Porsche Taycan/Audi E-tron GT twins, as well as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 and Kia EV6 and EV9) for ultra -fast charging capability, solar EV battery charging and one of the most sophisticated (and thus useful) Vehicle-to-Home/Grid tech on offer, with enough energy to power buildings during blackouts.
We’re not talking extravagant $200,000-plus EVs for the very rich, either, but rather vehicles that start at almost half that amount, or even less with the smaller models.
That’s what is meant by Entry Luxury and so, for this and other reasons, MMA should be more than worth the wait.