Speaking to Wheels at the reveal of its first fully electric SUV in Stockholm, chief exterior designer for the EQC, Robert Lesnik, hinted that more radical-looking EVs are on the way as Mercedes moves to fulfil its promise of 10 new battery-powered cars by the end of 2022.
“This is just the beginning of a much bigger story,” he said of the EQC. “By 2022 we’ll have many different sizes and shapes [of EVs] ... and they’ll become gradually more adventurous as they go.”
Lesnik added that Mercedes has been deliberately conservative with the EQC, the German brand deciding to opt for a familiar look in an effort to ease customers into the idea of buying an EV SUV.
“Whenever something is new, you never know,” he said. “It might work well, it might not, so we’re starting with known proportions. New things can be polarising.”
Proportionally, the EQC is almost a mirror image of the existing GLC mid-size SUV, though Mercedes says 85 percent of the EQC is all new. The pair share the same wheelbase and are built on the same production line at Mercedes’ Bremen factory. Size wise the EQC is 105mm longer, 15mm lower and 6mm narrower than the GLC.
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The key differentiator though is the simplicity of the EQC’s styling. Lines have been removed to create a cleaner, more seamless look.
Choosing an SUV as its first electric car has provided Mercedes-Benz with some key engineering advantages. Its additional ride height, for example, means the floor-mounted battery pack can be packaged more easily. That task becomes more difficult in sedan bodystyles and sportscars, with Lesnik suggesting these form factors will allow for greater design freedoms.
“With sportier cars we might see different architectures,” he said. “Because they’re lower you can’t just stick the batteries in. We have communicated there are many EQs coming. We believe this [the EQC] is the best place to start.”
One thing we can expect from all future electric Mercedes is that they’ll have a grille, unlike Tesla.
“Why do we need a grille? Because it needs a face,” said Lesnik. “Without one it looks anonymous. It looks unnatural. We believe a Mercedes always deserves a grille.”
Another carryover EQ design element will be the new light signature, which traces an almost unbroken line across the width of the car front and back.