Electrification was a cornerstone of the all-new 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but while mild-hybrids and plug-in hybrids are set to play a key role, a full electric vehicle (EV) is still some way off.
Speaking to the UK’s Autocar, Mercedes-Benz chief operating officer Markus Schafer revealed that the brand has in place enough steps to cover electric vehicle demand right now, pushing an electric equivalent of the C-Class back to at least 2024.
“We’re offering a number of electric vehicles with EQA, EQB and EQC [SUV], and in the next couple of months, the EQS and the EQE, so there’s a wide range of vehicles.” Schafer said of the current Mercedes-Benz EV range.
Under Mercedes’ current architecture plan, the newly-revealed C-Class and current-generation S-Class share a version of the same MRA modular rear-wheel drive platform.
The upcoming EQS (pictured above in pre-production form) isn’t simply an EV version of the S-Class however, underpinned by the new, electric-only MEA platform. A dedicated compact to mid-size MMA architecture is also in the works, and this will likely underpin the eventual C-Class-sized EV.
“The next platform is for compact and mixed-size vehicles from 2024, and this MMA platform is an electric-first architecture. It will be used for compact cars and it has the potential to reach into the mid-size segment as well,” Schafer hinted.
This lines up with information Mercedes-Benz released in December 2020 with a product roadmap of six EQ models set to debut before 2022. These included the small EQA and EQB SUVs, the larger EQE SUV and EQS SUV, plus an EQE sedan, all set to follow the EQS, due for release in the first half of 2021.
The EQC, as it will likely be known – distinct from the current, SUV-shaped EQC, which would likely be renamed to 'EQC SUV', as per its larger peers – will fill the growing demand for zero tailpipe emissions cars, giving Mercedes-Benz a range of vehicles between the EQA small SUV and full-size EQS sedan.
Despite the use of a ‘compact’ architecture, the inherent packaging efficiencies of an electric vehicle mean the EQC should match or surpass its internal combustion C-Class counterparts for interior space.
Full details of the EQC sedan aren’t yet known however, and with timing slated from 2024 it could be a few years yet before firm details of the EQC’s powertrain, range, and positioning come to light.