Mercedes-Benz has a plan to go all-electric (in some markets) by 2030. In the short term, it’s a straightforward one. The German luxury automaker will introduce electric cars similar to its most popular gas cars and sell the two side-by-side as America’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure grows. That gives them growing experience building and selling EVs. But it allows Mercedes to maximum flexibility about whether and when to end gas car sales.
The next step in that plan is an all-electric version of the popular compact GLB SUV. And here it is.
The GLB’s platform, adapted to battery power
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB will be available in the U.S. early next year. Pricing is unknown, but it’s reasonable to expect a premium of several thousand dollars over the GLB, which starts at $38,050 and climbs to the low $50,000 range when fully equipped. All Mercedes vehicles also require a $1,050 destination charge.
The EQB looks very close to its GLB sibling, for a very simple reason: It shares a platform with the gas-powered version, so visual changes are slight. It has a glossy black panel in place of the usual grille and narrower, more angular headlights. A thin light bar connects the taillights.
Two versions, both all-wheel-drive
Americans can buy it as the EQB 300 4Matic or 350 4Matic. Both are all-wheel-drive, through the simple mechanism of having one electric motor on each axle. The former puts out 225 horsepower, while the latter manages 288. Mercedes expects a range of around 260 miles in European testing, but the American EPA tends to certify much lower range figures.
Two or three rows
As with the GLB, buyers of the EQB can choose from 5- or 7-seat configuration, though Mercedes says the optional third row is intended for passengers under 5’4”. The third row folds flat for additional cargo space when needed.
Also read: Do electric cars cost more to insure?
Inside, it’s set apart from the GLB by a standard 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an augmented-reality head-up display that projects navigation and speed information into the driver’s field of view, and adjustable-color lighting around the turbine-shaped air vents.
Several electric Mercedes models revealed at Munich auto show
While the EQB rides on the same platform as the GLB, Mercedes has begun building electric vehicles that are EVs from the ground up, sharing no parts with current gas-powered vehicles. The automaker revealed several new EVs at the Munich Auto Show, beginning with the EQE, an EV equivalent of its iconic E-Class sedan.