Benz’s first foray into all-electric small SUVs is the EQA, which arrives in Australia in mid-2021 – likely with a five-figure price.
Mercedes-Benz swept the covers off the first fully-electric small SUV in the maker’s range this evening in the form of the five-seat EQA.
Heavily based on the second-generation GLA small SUV, the EQA swaps out its cousin’s internal combustion engine in favour of a double-decker lithium-ion battery measuring in at 66.5kWh of usable energy.
That battery size is enough to provide the first EQA model to hit the market with 426 kilometres of range on the more realistic WLTP consumption test.
The EQA follows the late-2019 arrival of the midsize Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUV on the Australian market. Both SUVs are adaptations of combustion vehicles, rather than all-new, EV-only designs.
Markus Schäfer, the chief operating officer of Mercedes-Benz Cars division, backed the adaptation approach.
“By using a tried and tested architecture, it is possible to achieve an excellent compromise between performance, costs and time to market,” Mr Schäfer said.
The launch variant will be the 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA 250, which is fitted with a single asynchronous motor on the front axle producing 140kW of power and 375Nm of torque, which is sent to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission with a differential.
The EQA 250 roughly corresponds to the petrol-fed Mercedes-Benz GLA 250, which uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine to produce 165kW/350Nm through an all-wheel-drive system. The GLA 250 costs $66,500 in Australia.
Mercedes-Benz have confirmed that the EQA 250 pricing in Germany will start at EUR 47,540 (equivalent to AUD$76,000 at the time of writing).
The EQA that is brought to Australia will have some standard features that are optional in Europe, suggesting an estimated Australian price of $85,000.
That would be substantially cheaper than the midsize Mercedes-Benz EQC 400, which is priced at $139,700 in Australia.
While it launches as a front-wheel-drive SUV, the EQA will be offered in at least two AWD variants. One will offer warmer performance in excess of 200kW, while the other will be a long-range EQA variant that can be driven for over 500 kilometres between charges.
The all-wheel-drive versions will use the rear motor in day to day driving – making them effectively rear-wheel-drive until they need the front axle. All models are fitted with multi-link independent rear suspension.
Still, Mercedes-Benz says the EQA 250 can be recharged to 80 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes when using a 100kW DC charger. Navigate to a rapid charger with the car’s in-built Navigation with Electric Intelligence and the car will pre-cool the battery to ideally prepare it for full-speed charging.
The battery can also be rapidly in cool climates thanks to the presence of a coolant-fed plate sitting beneath the double-stacked battery pack. This process can be triggered remotely – along with the heating or cooling of the cabin – via the Mercedes Me smartphone app.
A heat pump is fitted as standard to the EQA, with the ability to draw waste heat from the operation of the battery into the cabin for heating, reducing an inefficient draw on range.
Outside, the lines of the GLA donor vehicle are clear. Much like the transformation of Benz’s GLC midsize SUV into the EQC electric crossover, the changes are most evident on the front and rear fascias, where the EQA incorporates details that are firming into EQ signatures.
These include a number of nods to aerodynamic efficiency, including the ‘Black Panel’ closed radiator grille, front and rear spoilers, and smooth aero wheels. Aiding the Cd figure of 0.28, the EQA’s undertray is smooth and almost completely enclosed.
Towing capacity for the front-wheel-drive EQA 250 is rated at 750kg braked with a tow ball download limit of 80kg. AWD versions arriving later will have stronger towing capabilities.
Inside, the EQA will feature a number of rose gold trim touches, including on the air vents, seats, and the car’s key. The Edition 1 launch special edition will be fitted with a unique seat trim perforation pattern finished in pure blue.
Most of the cabin is highly evocative of the GLA small SUV, though the EQA will offer distinctive trim. The base ‘Progressive’ variant will have a ‘spiral look’ trim insert, or a choice of open pore woods. The Electric Art Line has backlit dashboard trim, while AMG Line versions will sport real aluminium.
Twin 10.25-inch screens will be standard, as they are on the GLA, but the navigation system will take into account charger locations, charge times, topography and weather to calculate EV-friendly road trip routes.
Standard equipment on the EQA will take in:
It’s highly likely that Australian buyers will receive the Driving Assistance Package as standard. It’s optional in Europe, but takes in frontal and junction AEB with front and rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, active steer assist, speed limit assistance, and blind spot monitoring. A reversing camera is standard globally.
Other international options, like a full-colour head-up display and an augmented reality feature for the satellite navigation, will be considered for the Australian specification.
The EQA will feature Mercedes-Benz’s five year, unlimited kilometre warranty in Australia. There is an additional eight year, 160,000 kilometre warranty for the battery.
Australian prices for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA electric small SUV are expected closer to the car’s mid-year launch.
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