Most of the auto industry has now settled on a somewhat predictable formula for building electric vehicles. This includes Mercedes-Benz, which has a fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road that share most traits and many parts.
The company plans to go fully electric in most markets by 2030. To get there, it’s building electric equivalents to many of its gas-powered cars, which share a large number of components and a common design platform.
But off-road presents a different engineering challenge—Mercedes has only one legendary off-road vehicle, the G-Class. The storied German automaker knew that in order to build an electric equivalent, it needed a different formula.
CEO Emmerich Schiller told AutoCar UK that this means the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQG will not share a platform with Mercedes’ other electric models.
Old G-Wagen platform, new G-Wagen fuel source
Most of Mercedes’ electric vehicles, such as the EQE sedan, EQE SUV, EQS sedan, and EQS SUV, are built on a common skateboard platform. As a near-flat combination of battery, electric motors, steering and suspension parts, engineers can scale it up or down to build many types of cars.
But the EQG will ride on a modified version of the steel ladder frame construction that makes the gas-powered G-Class such capable off-road. “As with internal combustion engine models, the body is attached to the ladder frame at eight points,” says Schiller.
Other Mercedes electric cars use one or two electric motors connected to axles. EQG will instead use four motors, one powering each wheel.
This is the same approach used in the Rivian R1T, one of the most capable off-road vehicles we’ve tested in recent years.
Kelley Blue Book parent company Cox Automotive is a minority investor in Rivian.
“Individual ride control provides each wheel with a whole new level of capability,” says Schiller. “It’s really fun driving the latest prototypes every four weeks. I think we have the best electric off-road vehicle.”
An AMG version is also coming
Mercedes is keeping performance details close to the jacket for now. But Schiller told AutoCar there will be several models with varying power levels. It will include a flagship AMG model.
There was one detail Schiller would reveal – the electric G-Class will be able to “tank spin” where the front wheels spin one way and the rear wheels another, allowing it to spin without moving forward or backward. This is also similar to Rivian.
He says Mercedes will shut down the battery to allow passage through deeper waters. This approach has proven problematic for some off-roaders. However, other companies are still confident they can make it work — and may even allow an EV float.
EQG, AutoCar reports, “at least two years after its planned launch.”