Not to be outdone by those other German automakers, Mercedes-Benz came to the table in Paris with an electric concept of their own. Dubbed the Generation EQ (I guess it had better have a good sound system, eh?) it represents the genesis of a new line of electric cars to answer to the recently-revealed VW I.D. and its new MQE platform; and BMW’s i line of electric cars about to enter its third year.
The modular platform can be pulled, stretched, and tweaked to fit a vast array of models, making it a valid response to BMW’s i and the I.D. We’re not talking a single car, here; we’re talking a whole family.
Mercedes-Benz is claiming that the first of the line – a vehicle roughly the size of the GLC compact crossover – will have a range of up to 500 km thanks to its 300-kW battery (the most powerful variant) and a focus on streamlining all the components to run as efficiently as possible.
In addition to that range, the 300-kw battery is good for 516 – five-hundred sixteen! – lb-ft of torque, and a zero-to-100 km/h time of under five seconds. That’s almost Tesla Model X territory. Almost.
It’s easy to make Tesla comparisons inside, too, but I hesitate to say that Benz has beaten the American stalwart at their own game when it comes to touch surfaces. Instead of an enormous – and frankly, potentially distracting – monitor at the centre of the cockpit, the EQ gets a horizontal item where the gauges would normally sit; and a touch-surface centre console as opposed to a touchscreen. Even the steering wheel spokes get touch controls as opposed to buttons.
Now, I’ll couch all this by saying that the touch-surface thing has been done before, to mixed results. Cadillac’s CUE system comes to mind as an example of an idea that seems good on the surface – pardon the pun – but just doesn’t translate to great functionality in practice. Both Ford and Lincoln had this problem, too. This is Mercedes-Benz, though, and you have to think that they’re going to get it right.
Regardless of how this all shakes out, you can tell Mercedes is on the right track with this. From the car’s looks – all EQ-brand models will have that distinctive front-end – to the smart commitment to modular technology, you can see that Benz is taking the EV game very, very seriously.