HOT TAKE: Mercedes-Benz recent EQ madness
Why it's happening with such a rapid pace and why we should be excited
Some positives from the new emissions regulations
New emissions regulations are pushing all manufacturers towards alternative methods of propulsion. Not everyone likes or agrees with that, but these regulations are driving innovations and development at an unprecedented levels. Mercedes-Benz is one of the world's most popular and recognisable brands with their success in luxury road cars, sports cars and an amazing streak of Formula 1 domination. They have the technological expertise, the engineering heritage and the financial resources to pull off whatever they want, however they want it. This doesn't make them unique in the motoring world, but their recent electric change of hearts makes them more attractive than any Tesla ever built! Let's dig a little deeper to find out why.
Mercedes EQC - Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Would you trust a Mercedes to be as good of a car as it can possibly be? Most people will and that's not an overstatement. A recently conducted by my employer (yes, I have a day job) marketing research among ~34 000 people around the globe asked this simple question:
"If you were to win a prize - a car of your own choosing, which brand would you choose?"
An incredible 61% chose Mercedes-Benz! Now that doesn't sound like 99%, but you have to remember the sheer number of car companies in existence. More than half of the participant voted on a single brand, which is stunning. The research was conducted among owners of cheap, second hand cars, owners of brand new cars and people who currently don't own a vehicle. Just to clarify, the researched was ordered and payed for by another, non-German car brand. And they were not happy with the results! With diversity of the study out of any doubt, let's dive deeper. Picking a brand can be tricky, unless you're a super fan. Putting your trust, basically your life and the life of your loved ones in a car brand is not something that people will take lightly.
Mercedes EQV - Credit: Mercedes-Benz
In different cultures Mercedes-Benz has been put in the position of a traditional manufacturer, the benchmark, if you like. I don't necessarily agree with that, mostly because Rolls Royce exists and Bentley is there, more or less. Yet those two brands are often beyond the reach of the mere mortals. Even second-hand Rolls and Bentleys are above the psychological barriers of most buyers and it's natural, because they are more exclusive and with a potential to be future classics. Mercedes on the other hand are often in reach, with the reputation of being reliable and not too expensive to maintain. Most of that trust is well deserved over the years with Mercedes legendary designs, "bulletproof" engines and a good safety record. Of course, not all models were diamonds or gems, but the ratio between good and bad cars is well above average so you can see why people would easily put their faith in a Mercedes. The key takeaway is that Mercedes-Benz is a popular manufacturer today because of their internal combustion models from the past and the present. Their power was to innovate in that department and it's still going strong with their successful F1 team and the AMG's A45S little monster under the bonnet. So why is Mercedes-Benz turning in a full-on electric craze with a rapid push of new models, seemingly one for every month?
Mercedes EQA - Credit: Mercedes-Benz
Securing the future
Excluding the new emissions regulations for a moment, the future of Mercedes EQ platform is deeply tied to their own past. As far back as 1906 there were electrically powered Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, trucks, busses and fire-service vehicles. But also their clever approach towards manufacturing. After the new EQB was presented, more detailed descriptions surfaced about where things were built. As it turns out, Mercedes is going "all in" with their batteries (apart from the raw materials). The factories in Kamenz, Germany and Jawor, Poland are manufacturing those batteries, meaning that Mercedes is building the most important part of an EV in-house. Breaking reliance as much as possible from other manufacturers can be critical to insure the future of the brand. And the EQ is turning into a proper brand now, thanks to the strong F1 advertising campaign and the second generation of EQ building platform on which the EQS owes his existence. Mercedes has chosen not to take the cheaper road ahead of solely electrifying existing models, but decided to seriously invest and develop a separate platform for the EQ, knowing where the future might lead them.
Mercedes EQS - Credit: Mercedes-Benz
A slew of EQ down the road
Seems to me like the EQA and the EQS (a.k.a. THE SCREEN) were introduced just yesterday and the introduction of the EQB caught me off guard. And I'm not far off by any means, they were introduced so recently that one just hit the markets while the other hasn't even done so yet. It almost looks like Taylor Swift is their marketing director, kicking one hit after another. And they will be hits, make no mistake about it. As we've discussed above, Mercedes-Benz has the global name, motorsport heritage, credentials and reputation already. Add to that their recent performances, improving form and some notable wins in the Formula E - a series in which they've debuted not so long ago. What better trampoline to kick the sales than victories in the fully electric series?! And what better way to innovate and develop new technologies than racing an EV?! We all know how much of the technological advances in our vehicles today were first attempted in motorsports, before going mainstream. That's a spark of optimism.
Now consider the ambitious plans of the Mercedes EQ branch to introduce 10 new models before the end of 2022, despite the global pandemics. So don't be surprised if tomorrow you wake up and discover that there's a new Mercedes EQ-something out there and you've slept through it. It will happen more often . . and it's a good thing. Mercedes invested north of 10 billion Euro to set an example for the other traditional manufacturers. EVs are nothing to be afraid of and there's no point of running away from them or delaying the inevitable. As of today their electric range consists of: EQA, EQB, EQC, EQS, EQV, Smart EQ Fortwo and Smart EQ Forfour. Tomorrow is mystery, but if Taylor Swift gets a new album out, be sure that Mercedes-Benz will follow with a new EV shortly after. That's the most reliable prediction I could make.
The 2021 Mercedes-EQ Formula E car - Credit: Mercedes-Benz