Mercedes Benz EQG EV SUV details revealed

Mercedes EQG prototype

Mercedes-Benz has begun durability tests of the upcoming EQG EV SUV, which is based on the G-Class off-roader. The brand is using a series of prototype SUVs, which, it has announced, has completed two years of its four-year engineering programme.

  1. EQG will be based on the W463 G-Class
  2. Will be produced in Austria
  3. EV drivetrain will have four electronic motors

The EQG was previewed as a concept last year at the Munich Motor show, and will become the ninth dedicated electric model in Mercedes-Benz's line-up. The electric G-Class kicks off a whole new chapter of electrification for the traditional hardcore off-roader, which has been a mainstay of the German carmaker’s line-up since 1979.

The EQG is also earmarked to act as a technological spearhead for Mercedes-Benz’s newly created G (for Geländewagen) sub-brand, according to its CEO, Emmerich Schiller.

Mercedes-Benz EQG: chassis

Based on the latest iteration of the G-Class – codenamed the W463 – the EQG is built on a modified version of the steel ladder-frame chassis used by internal combustion-engine models, and will be built alongside the latter at partner Magna Steyr's plant in Graz, Austria.

Early road-going prototypes confirm the EQG will retain the same characteristic square-rigged exterior styling as other existing G-Class models. Although disguised, they feature standard body panels together with a number of small but unique details, as hinted at on the earlier concept, including a new-look front bumper and a blanked-off grille.

Unlike Mercedes-Benz’s other EQ models, there is no front luggage compartment or frunk in the EQG. The charging cable will be stowed in a lockable box, similar to what was previewed by the concept, and will be mounted on the sideways-opening tailgate in place of the spare tyre.

At the centre of the EQG’s technical development is a new electric drivetrain consisting of four electric motors – one powering each wheel. Unique among Mercedes-Benz’s current line-up of EQ models, it is similar to the SLS's E-Cell produced by Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance car division in limited volumes in 2013. The four-motor layout is also used by US electric vehicle start-up Rivian for its R1 SUV and pick-up.

The front electric motors are mounted low at each side within the axle. The rear electric motors are integrated more inboard within a newly developed de Dion-style rear axle conceived specifically for the EQG and chosen to provide “good traction and flexibility of the suspension”. Each electric motor is able to provide individual drive to each wheel through a mechanical two-speed gearbox, offering both high and low-range gearing.

Mercedes-Benz EQG: off-road tech

Mercedes-Benz is holding back on disclosing power and torque figures for its latest electric model. However, the company hints there will be varying models with differing outputs, including an AMG flagship, that would match the performance of the existing 577hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8-powered Mercedes-AMG G63 4Matic.

Together with traditional on-road driving modes (Eco, Comfort and Sport), the new G-Class will offer three off-road modes – Trail, Rock and Sand. An additional creeper mode allows the driver to set a pre-determined speed in off-road driving.

To facilitate off-road performance, the four electric motors are also able to simulate the three locking differentials (one in each axle, and one in the transfer case) of the internal combustion-engined G-Class models. In extreme conditions, the collective drive can be channelled to a single wheel to retain traction and ensure progress.

Additionally, a so-called G-Turn function, activated by a dashboard-mounted button, makes the electric motors on one side turn the wheels forward and those on the opposite side turn the wheels in reverse, allowing the EQG to perform on-the-spot 360deg tank turns. The driver can select whether to turn left or right via shift paddles on the steering wheel.

Compact packaging of the front electric motors within the front axle permits a greater turning angle for the front wheels, leading to a turning circle that is described as being “considerably better” than that of other internal combustion-engined G-Class.

Mercedes-Benz EQG: battery

The new driveline is allied to a battery mounted within the floor and beneath the rear seat. The lithium-ion unit, with a usable energy capacity that Mercedes-Benz puts at "around 100kWh", shares its cell technology with the EQXX concept. A new silicon anode is claimed to boost energy density and efficiency beyond that of the battery used by the newly unveiled EQE and EQS SUVs, while also providing a reduction in weight and overall size.

As in other Mercedes-Benz EQ models, a regeneration system allows the harvesting of kinetic energy in three different steps – D+, D and D-.

To protect the battery in extreme off-road driving conditions, it is housed within a sturdy sealed case that enables the EQG to wade through deep water. The steel casing also receives an additional layer of carbon fibre-reinforced polymer compound to protect against rock strikes and other impacts.

One advantage of mounting the battery within the floor is that the EQG’s centre of gravity is considerably lower than that of the G-Class, although there is the weight compromise. Underneath, a double-wishbone front and trailing arm rear suspension uses similar linkage points to internal combustion-engined G-Class models.

Mercedes-Benz is not prepared to talk too much about factors such as ground clearance or approach, departure and break over angles just yet, although they suggest the EQG will not only match diesel- and petrol-powered G-Class models in off-road conditions, but, in certain situations, outperform them.

Also See:

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Mercedes AMG One sets new Nurburgring lap record of 6min 35.183sec

Mercedes-Benz GLB, EQB SUV India launch on December 2

from Autocar India

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