Mercedes has been heavily hinting at the electrification of its flagship large luxury saloon for over a year. Its concept VISION EQS, which was revealed in 2019, was meant to demonstrate what a future electric S-Class could look like, and according to Merc, the real thing – named the EQS – will take more than a few cues from the VISION.
It's an exciting prospect, and Mercedes is the first of the major premium European brands to get its flagship car into EV form – beating BMW and Jaguar, both of which are developing electrified versions of the 7 Series and XJ respectively. Mercedes has done it thanks to its newly-developed EV architecture which is entirely modular and scalable, but is predominantly targeted at the higher end of the Mercedes model line-up.
Wheelbase, track, system components, batteries – and so on – are all modular and it is this that is enabling Merc to expand its large vehicle line-up so quickly. Alongside the EQS, Mercedes is developing an E-Class-sized EQE and an SUV version of both the S- and E-Class, all of which will be based on the same platform.
Alongside these higher end models, during 2021 the brand will continue to electrify its existing platforms in smaller vehicle segments. The EQA and EQB (both of which are – inevitably – SUVs) will join the compact end of the electrified range early next year, with production kicking into life before the end of 2020.
Whilst Mercedes isn't giving a whole lot of information away about its new luxury EV saloon, it is very much in the latter stages of pre-production testing. It'll come with the benefits of space and packaging afforded by all-electric architecture, as well as a WLTP range of up to 435 miles, helping it to maintain the S-Class's ability to cover long distances in quiet comfort.
Mercedes has a long history of testing its newest tech on the S-Class, before democratising it down into the rest of the range and thus it is the case with the EQS. It'll come with what Mercedes is calling “pioneering cross-sectorial technologies such as, for example, the MBUX control and display system or the driving assistance systems”.
Final testing is currently taking place at the Immendingen testing facility in Germany with the EQS having already covered over two million test kilometres from the heat of South Africa to the Scandinavian winter. Alongside European homologation, the EQS is undergoing simultaneous testing in the USA and China.
All of this progress by Mercedes-Benz is in pursuit of its “Ambition 2039” initiative, within which it is aiming to have a carbon-neutral new car fleet by 2039. It should also help the brand to reach its goal of having half its new car sales as EVs and PHEVs by 2030.