Mercedes G-class electric revealed ahead of Beijing motor show


Mercedes has finally revealed the production-spec G-Class electric SUV. Previewed by the Concept EQG, the G-Class electric has been christened as Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology, before its debut in Beijing. As we've reported earlier, the G-Class EV will be coming to India sometime this year.

  1. G-Class electric introduces new naming style
  2. Gets subtle design tweaks over standard G-class
  3. Has four electric motors, one at each wheel

Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology: first-ever G-Class EV

Mercedes-Benz says the new G-Class electric is an “uncompromised” machine that can outperform its combustion-engined sibling when driving off-road. The lengthy moniker – G 580 with EQ Technology – represents a shift in the naming strategy for electric Mercedes vehicles, and also showcases how the G 580 was developed to be a G-Class that just happens to be battery powered.

The G 580 is virtually identical in design to the recently updated G 450d, with a subtle reworking of the engine grille and discrete EQ badges to set it apart. But there has been extensive work to maximise aerodynamic efficiency, including a new A-pillar design and a new spoiler lip on the front of the roof.

Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology: design tweaks

The G 580 also features a new aerodynamically sculpted bonnet, resulting in a drag coefficient of 0.44, down from 0.48Cd for the latest G 450d, and 0.53Cd for the previous-generation G. In another move, the optional spare wheel holder mounted on the rear boot can be replaced with a similarly-styled charging cable holder.

“The G is still the G,” said Manuel Urstoger, the head of e-drive systems for Mercedes-Benz G. “It’s not just design or sound: for us the powertrain is about offering uncompromised off-road ability.”

Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology: powertrain, performance

The G 580 uses four electric motors, with one powering each wheel of the car. Each motor produces 147hp, combining for a maximum output of 587hp, along with a mammoth 1,165Nm of torque.

The motors have been developed specially for the G 580, and each is driven by a separate 2-speed gearbox. Urstoger said that the unusual and highly complicated powertrain was developed specifically to meet the exacting specifications of the G division, and will not be used elsewhere in the line-up.

It has a 0-100kph time of less than 5 seconds and a top speed of 180kph, but the real focus is on delivering off-road performance, with Urstoger saying that the development briefs have been set to match or exceed the petrol G.

Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology: suspension, off-road gear

The G 580 retains the same independent front suspension, with a new rigid axle at the rear containing the integrated electric drive unit, and virtual rather than mechanical differential locks to offer optimised torque vectoring.

There is a shiftable low-range transmission, and Mercedes claims the G 580 offers up to 100 percent gradeability on certain surfaces and the ability to traverse side slopes of up to 35 degrees. The G 580 also features a fording depth of 850mm, which because the electric powertrain elements are all sealed, is 100mm greater than the regular G – and is only limited because of the height of the charging port.

The only off-road area where the G 580 falls short of the ICE G, Mercedes claims, is in ground clearance: the flat floor means that a small section of the centre of the floor sits slightly lower than the G 450d.

In addition, the G 580 offers three bespoke functions to aid off-road driving: a G-Turn, which allows it to rotate 720 degrees on the spot; G-Steering, which reduces the turning circle by enabling it to pivot around an individual wheel; and an off-road crawler function that can run as low as 2kph. There is also a new ‘transparent bonnet’ function that uses the front-facing cameras to project a forward view onto the infotainment screen to make tackling obstacles easier.

The G 580 sits on a modified version of the G-Class’ ladder frame chassis, although with the batteries mounted directly into the frame in specially designed packs. This also serve as a structural part of the machine, removing the need for separate cross braces.

Mercedes G 580 with EQ technology: battery and range

The 116kWh battery, shared with the EQS, can be fast-charged at speeds of up to 200kW and gives a claimed range of 470km, although as important for Mercedes, according to Urstoger, was how much off-roading that would allow. "It’s surprising how long you can drive off-road," he said, noting that the lower speeds and ability to use regen instead of brakes when descending are beneficial in this respect.

Urstoger highlighted the G 580’s performance on the Schockl mountain pass in Austria, a 5.6km pass featuring 700 metres of altitude gain at gradients of up to 60 percent that all G-Class are tested on, claiming the EV can complete the ascent and descent 14 times on a single charge.

The battery pack isn’t just used as part of the structure: a special underride guard developed to protect the battery from damage also acts as a skidplate when driving off-road. That helps offset some of the extra weight of the G 580’s batteries, although at 3,085kg it is 530kg heavier than the G 450d.

The G 580 will be offered with a special G-Roar function that offers an "emotive sound experience" in the cabin, which is virtually identical to the facelifted G 450d, with a higher level of comfort kit than on previous models.

Also see:

Mercedes-Benz G 580 with EQ Technology image gallery

New Mercedes AMG GT 63 S E Performance is the quickest AMG to date

Mercedes AMG electric super SUV in the works

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