Did you ever the the feeling that the Tesla Model S was just an S-Class for EV enthusiasts? Mercedes-Benz sure hopes so, because its CEO, the mustachioed Dieter Zetsche, recently let fly that the brand has a full-sized electric under development called the EQ S. While Mercedes’ core lineup will welcome all manner of hybrid and mild-hybrid powertrains in the years to come, Zetsche says the brand will also start building fully electric vehicles by way of its EQ line.
The EQ nameplate is something we’ve heard a lot about in the past, but its true purpose has yet to be defined by Daimler. Typically, we’ve only seen EQ badging added to concept vehicles promising electrification, with no additional details. But new claims from the CEO suggest the category may be reserved for models that use batteries as their only power source.
According to Bloomberg, Zetsche said Daimler intends to launch 10 all-electric vehicles by 2022. He also said Mercedes will move into widespread electrification through the addition of 48-volt electrical systems — like on the 2019 CLS — and even some plug-ins. “All vehicles will be electrified,” Zetsche said.
Of course, there is a world of difference between a mild hybrid and a battery electric vehicle. That could be where the EQ designation comes in. Doctor Zee noted EQ cars will boast a battery range that’s “totally different” from what’s on offer today. Presumably, he means among Mercedes vehicles. However, Daimler’s head of R&D, Ola Källenius, said the company has been working with various startups on the development of solid state batteries for a couple of years.
Most estimates put a major breakthrough in the technology several years into the future. If Daimler were to get there first, it could allow Mercedes-Benz to leave all other EV manufacturers in the dust. Still, Källenius estimates solid-state technology probably wouldn’t come to fruition until 2025 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the EQ S is estimated for production around 2020 and should offer Model S shoppers a very tempting alternative — even if it doesn’t have next-generation battery hardware.