Durability investigating of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQG has begun successful earnest, with a bid of prototypes being pressed into work astatine the halfway constituent of a four-year engineering programme.
Originally previewed successful conception car signifier astatine the 2021 Munich centrifugal show, the caller electrical mentation of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is acceptable to go Mercedes-Benz’s ninth dedicated electrical exemplary erstwhile it goes connected merchantability successful the UK successful 2024, kicking disconnected a full caller section of electrification for the accepted hardcore off-roader, a mainstay of the German car maker’s line-up since 1979.
The EQG is besides earmarked to enactment arsenic a technological spearhead for Mercedes-Benz’s recently created G (for Geländewagen) sub-brand, promising what its CEO, Emmerich Schiller, describes arsenic an “unparalleled operation of luxury and off-road quality for electrical vehicles”.
“From the start, it was decided the electrical G-Class should beryllium astatine slightest arsenic bully arsenic the interior combustion motor exemplary some connected roadworthy and disconnected road. We didn’t privation to compromise connected capabilities,” helium says.
Based connected the latest iteration of the G-Class – codenamed and known wrong Mercedes-Benz engineering circles arsenic W463 – the EQG builds disconnected a modified mentation of the alloy ladder-frame chassis utilized by internal-combustion-engine models, alongside which it is planned to beryllium produced astatine long-time spouse Magna Steyr successful Graz, Austria.
Early road-going prototypes corroborate the EQG volition clasp the aforesaid diagnostic square-rigged exterior styling arsenic different existing G-Class models. Although disguised, they diagnostic modular assemblage panels unneurotic with a fig of tiny but unsocial details, arsenic hinted astatine connected the earlier concept, including a new-look beforehand bumper and a blanked-off grille.
“We person 2 skateboards with the aforesaid chapeau connected top,” says Schiller, successful notation to the ladder-frame chassis and acquainted G-Class styling. “As with the internal-combustion-engine models, the assemblage is connected to the ladder framework astatine 8 points.”
Like Mercedes-Benz’s different EQ models, determination is nary beforehand luggage compartment oregon frunk. The charging cablegram volition beryllium capable to beryllium stowed successful a lockable container akin to that previwed by the concept, mounted successful the spot traditionally taken by the spare tyre connected the sideways-opening tailgate.
At the centre of the EQG’s method improvement is simply a caller electrical drivetrain consisting of 4 electrical motors – 1 powering each idiosyncratic wheel. Unique among Mercedes-Benz’s existent line-up of EQ models, it mirrors that of the SLS E-Cell produced by Mercedes-Benz’s AMG show car part successful constricted volumes successful 2013.
The four-motor layout, besides utilized by US electrical conveyance start-up Rivian for its R1 SUV and pick-up, is aimed astatine providing the EQG with what Schiller describes arsenic an unrivalled operation of off-road show and refined on-road qualities.
Donuts-on-demand.@MercedesBenz's upcoming EQG gets 4 electrical motors and a 'G-Turn' relation that sees it rotation connected the spot.Steering instrumentality paddles fto the operator determine if it turns near oregon close arsenic the throttle is planted.First prototype thrust for me. Shaken and stirred. pic.twitter.com/GjoUv8XTQ1
— Greg Kable (@GregKable) November 21, 2022
“There were intensive discussions surrounding the four-motor layout. It is incredibly complex. It is besides precise expensive. But with 2 electrical motors you person differential locks, which means a operation of physics and mechanical systems. With 3 motors – 1 up beforehand and 2 connected the rear axle, you don’t get the afloat show successful off-road conditions,” helium says.
Mercedes-Benz is holding backmost connected disclosing powerfulness and torque figures for its latest electrical model. However, Schiller hints determination volition beryllium varying models with differing outputs, including an AMG flagship claimed to supply a level of on-road performance, including straight-line acceleration, to lucifer the existing 577bhp twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol motor powered Mercedes-AMG G63 4Matic.
The beforehand electrical motors are mounted low at each broadside wrong the axle. The rear electrical motors are integrated much inboard wrong a recently developed de Dion-style rear axle conceived specifically for the EQG and chosen to supply “good traction and flexibility of the suspension”.
Each electrical centrifugal is capable to supply idiosyncratic thrust to each instrumentality done a mechanical two-speed gearbox, offering some precocious and low-range gearing.
Together with accepted on-road driving modes (Eco, Comfort and Sport), the caller G-Class volition connection 3 off-road modes – Trail, Rock and Sand. An further creeper mode allows the operator to acceptable a pre-determined velocity successful off-road driving.
To facilitate off-road performance, the 4 electrical motors are besides capable to simulate the 3 locking differentials (one successful each axle, and 1 successful the transportation case) of internal-combustion-engine G-Class models. In utmost conditions, the corporate thrust tin beryllium channelled to a azygous instrumentality to clasp traction and guarantee progress.
Schiller cites throttle dosing among the superior advantages of the four-motor layout. “It is incredibly precise. The idiosyncratic power of thrust to each instrumentality provides a full caller level of ability. We person adjacent much possibilities disconnected road. It is truly amusive each 4 weeks to thrust the latest prototypes. I deliberation we person the champion electrical off-roader,” helium says.
Additionally, a alleged G-Turn function, activated by a dashboard-mounted button, makes the electrical motors connected 1 broadside crook the wheels guardant and those connected the other broadside crook the wheels successful reverse, allowing the EQG to execute spectacular, on-the-spot 360deg vessel turns. The operator tin prime whether to crook near oregon close via displacement paddles connected the steering wheel.
Compact packaging of the beforehand electrical motors wrong the beforehand axle permits a greater turning space for the beforehand wheels, starring to a turning ellipse that is described arsenic being “considerably better” than that of different internal-combustion-engine G-Class models.
The caller driveline is allied to a artillery mounted wrong the level and beneath the rear seat. The lithium ion unit, with a usable vigor capableness that Mercedes-Benz puts astatine "around 100kWh", shares its compartment exertion with that previewed by the EQXX concept. A caller silicon anode is claimed to boost vigor density and ratio beyond that of the artillery utilized by the recently unveiled EQE and EQS SUVs, portion besides providing a simplification successful value and wide size.
As successful different Mercedes-Benz EQ models, a regeneration strategy allows the harvesting of kinetic vigor successful 3 antithetic steps – D+, D and D-.
Schiller says it is excessively aboriginal successful the improvement process to marque claims astir range, but helium says the 4 electrical centrifugal layout provides the scope for important vigor regeneration, some successful on-road and off-road driving.
“In disconnected road, it is little astir the wide scope and much astir driving hours. We’ve seen immoderate unthinkable figures during testing,” helium says.
To support the artillery successful utmost off-road driving conditions, it is housed wrong a sturdy sealed lawsuit that enables the EQG to wade done heavy water. The alloy casing besides receives an further furniture of carbonfibre-reinforced polymer compound to support against stone strikes and different impacts.
“The outer furniture is made of an highly resilient worldly that is designed to support the artillery astatine each times,” says Schiller.
One vantage of mounting the artillery wrong the level is the EQG’s centre of gravity, which is described arsenic being considerably little than that of the G-Class. It comes astatine the outgo of weight, though.
“Weight is simply a situation – arsenic it is successful immoderate electrical vehicle,” says the caput of Mercedes-Benz’s G-Class sub-brand, adding: “We haven’t got a last fig yet but it is beneath 3500kg.”
Underneath, a double-wishbone beforehand and trailing limb rear suspension uses akin linkage points to internal-combustion-engine G-Class models.
Mercedes-Benz is not prepared to speech excessively overmuch astir factors specified arsenic crushed clearance oregon approach, departure and interruption implicit angles conscionable yet, though Schiller suggests the EQG volition not lone lucifer diesel- and petrol-powered G-Class models successful off-road conditions but, successful definite situations, outperform them.
Despite the EQG’s quality to supply selective thrust to each wheel, though, it appears prospective owners volition person to forgo towing. “It is an implicit slayer for the range, says Schiller. “We’re not definite astatine this signifier if it volition beryllium offered connected archetypal generation.
First ride: Mercedes-Benz EQG prototype
If Mercedes-Benz was astatine each acrophobic astir the quality of the priceless EQG prototype its G-Class engineering squad had brought to a concealed investigating crushed adjacent Toulouse successful France, it wasn’t showing.
Straight from a method presentation, we’re sat successful the rider spot and whisked into the throes of an aboriginal validation trial for the caller electrical G-Class.
Rarely does a car shaper let america specified aboriginal entree to a caller model. But here, conscionable implicit a twelvemonth aft it was shown arsenic a concept, we’re getting a first-hand look astatine what the EQG volition beryllium similar erstwhile it goes connected merchantability successful 2024. Open gravel roads, wherever the caller Mercedes-Benz makes airy enactment of the conditions astatine higher speeds, soon springiness mode to constrictive trails strewn with redish-brown earth, escaped rocks and, successful much utmost sections, ample exposed boulders.
We’re successful the benignant of territory that lone a fistful of series-production off-roaders are ever apt to venture, progressing astatine small much than walking gait up a 45deg incline successful what Mercedes-Benz dubs creeper mode arsenic the prototype’s 4 electrical motors smoothly present thrust to each idiosyncratic instrumentality via a two-speed gearbox with low-range gearing.
There is nary electrical whirring arsenic the thrust is sent to each wheel. Nor is determination immoderate electrical sound arsenic the traction power strategy effort to support up. Merely the dependable of rocks beneath the tyres and stones being sent against the wrong of the wheelhouses - and with it a full caller consciousness of the surrounding nature.
The drivetrain refinement is much high-end limousine than utmost off-roader, giving the EQG a luxurious aerial from within.
Patience is required implicit galore sections of our route. At immoderate points, we equilibrium precariously connected 3 wheels, see-sawing disconnected the ground. At others, the prototype crawls up steep rocky trails similar a spider up a wall.
The quality of the EQG to proceed connected with commanding traction contempt the treacherous conditions confirms it is already astatine a well-advanced authorities of improvement and, truthful it seems, each spot arsenic susceptible arsenic its diesel and petrol siblings distant from the bitumen.
A caller in-house-developed electronics strategy allows the electrical motors to simulate the 3 locking differentials of different combustion-engine G-class models, enabling them to supply selective thrust to the instrumentality with the astir traction.
At 1 point, the CEO of the German car maker’s recently created G-Class sub-brand, Emmerich Schilling, delicately guides the EQG implicit a rocky crag. The driblet is formidable. But specified is the axle articulation and breadth of outpouring question that we are someway capable to proceed without pausing.
Before we scope the information of the roadworthy below, though, there’s a important stone onslaught against the underbody, which sends a shudder done the full body. “It is successful situations similar these that we developed a caller outer worldly for the artillery casing. I would beryllium disquieted close present if we conscionable had a alloy casing,” helium says.
The off-road agility of the EQG is rather remarkable, aided by a smaller turning ellipse than that of existing G-Class models. The elevated seating, upright windscreen and sheer broadside glass, each elements of the G-Class since its inception successful 1979, besides supply outstanding visibility erstwhile the going gets rough.
Later, implicit wide and winding roads covered successful sand, we scope speeds successful excess of 80mph. Here, the EQG’s blase aerial suspension does a superb job, absorbing bumps and undulations rapidly and helping to minimise rotation angles.
Near the extremity of the test, Schilling stops the EQG prototype successful an unfastened conception of gravel, presses a fastener connected the different disguised dashboard and pulls connected the left-hand broadside steering instrumentality paddle. “This is what we telephone the G-Turn,” helium says arsenic helium plants the throttle and we are sent spinning connected the spot. It is made imaginable by driving the electrical motors connected 1 broadside guardant and those connected the different broadside successful reverse, allowing the electrical G-Class to crook wrong its ain length.
“At archetypal we thought the G-Turn would beryllium a bully diagnostic to person but not wholly necessary. But aft investigating it, we discovered it does connection applicable advantages successful choky situations disconnected roadworthy and decided to connection it connected the accumulation model,” helium says. “It’s not the lone astonishment we person successful store, though.”
Like each G-Class models down done the years, this caller 1 has been developed to conquer the legendary Schoeckl. Before it is signed disconnected for production, it volition acquisition a planned 300 runs up and down the demanding 3.4-mile way adjacent to the Magna-Steyr mill wherever the EQG volition beryllium produced successful Graz, Austria.
There is inactive a batch astir the EQG to observe immoderate 2 years retired from its planned launch. But adjacent astatine this aboriginal stage, it is harmless to accidental nary different electric-powered off-roader delivers rather the aforesaid grade of unsmooth roadworthy competence. The mode it is capable to traverse challenging terrain, ascent steep grades and decend rocky trails is rather astonishing. It whitethorn beryllium electrical and measurement good implicit 3 tonnes, but for outright quality and agility distant from the bitumen, it is simply a existent G-Class - and, it indispensable beryllium said, truly alternatively brilliant.