The Concept EQG just debuted at the Munich Motor Show and is a ‘near-production study’ of an all-electric version of Mercedes off-road icon, the G-Wagon.
If you’ve followed the story of the G, then you won’t be surprised by an electric G-Wagon coming soon. The current, non-electric version debuted at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. During the show, the then-chairman of Mercedes promised Arnold Schwarzenegger — on stage — that the upcoming electrification of all models would include the G-Class.
And Mercedes-Benz has kept that promise so far. The automaker unveiled the electric G-Wagon concept at the IAA Munich Motor Show in Germany this weekend.
“Wherever market conditions permit, Mercedes-Benz will be ready to go fully electric by the end of the decade,” emphasized Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Daimler AG and COO of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“With this strategic step from ‘electric first’ to ‘electric only,’ including sustainable production and the CO2-neutral life cycle of our batteries, we are accelerating the transformation to a zero-emission and software-driven future. We want to inspire our customers to switch to electric mobility with convincing products. An icon like the G-Class fulfills this task perfectly.”
Mercedes Off-Road Icon: The Details
The Mercedes G-Class debuted in 1979 and has been a pinnacle luxury off-road-capable SUV ever since, with little change to its iconic styling. Even the unmistakable solid thud of the precision-crafted doors and locks on the G-Wagon remains unchanged.
With the Concept EQG, we still get the look and feel of the traditional G-Class but with some modern touches. The round headlights remain, but now flank an illuminated panel grille versus the radiator grille (needed for cooling on the combustion-powered G).
The traditional protection strip down the side of the vehicle is now not just a rubber rub rail, but a fully illuminated styling element. Out back, we still get the look of an exposed spare wheel carrier on the rear door. But instead of a spare, the concept cleverly has a case for the charging cable. It’ll be interesting to see how many of these new elements make it to the production vehicle.
The EQG is still a body-on-frame design, with independent front suspension and a solid rear axle, just like the latest iterations of the G-Class. It “will offer unique driving characteristics” with its four electric motors (we’re guessing similar to CrabWalk mode on the Hummer EV and the Tank Turn on the Rivian R1T). The EQG will also have a “shiftable two-speed gearbox.” This means proper 4Lo gearing for serious off-road adventures.
The Concept EQG even comes with a serious roof rack, ready to haul your adventure gear. Integrated into the front of the rack is an LED off-road light. The back of the rack offers an integrated red LED light strip, which is great for visibility on dusty roads.
“We are proud of the more than 400,000 ‘G’s we have produced to date,” emphasized Dr. Emmerich Schiller, head of the Off-Road Vehicle Product Division at Mercedes-Benz AG.
“In its more than 40-year model history, the G-Class has always used the most modern and suitable drive technology at the time — from the pre-chamber naturally aspirated diesel of the early days to the AMG 4L V8 in the G 63. The electrification of this off-road legend is simply the logical next step — and an absolutely fascinating project.”
Our Electrified Off-Road Future
The only other current electric-drive 4×4 with a low range is the Jeep 4xe, which is a plug-in hybrid battery-electric vehicle (PHEV). If Mercedes decides to offer the electric Sprinter van in 4×4 trim then it would be another option meeting those criteria.
All in, the Concept EQG is a near-production-ready vision of what the latest G-Class will look like. Big torque, a low center of gravity, and no doubt some fun electronic wizardry. All that will make the four-independent-motor setup the latest capable adventure machine.
Of course, the big question marks will be range, charging speeds, and the like. But with the current speed of technology and infrastructure on those fronts, I’m not too concerned.