India's all-electric SUV space is getting exciting with Hyundai Kona already available in the market and MG ZS EV and Tata Nexon EV slated to be commercially rolled out soon
The all-electric SUV space in the country is poised to offer exciting times ahead with the country’s largest luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz India announcing its foray in the nascent Indian electric vehicle space with the unveiling of the EQ brand – its electric vehicle (EV) arm – in India. It may be pertinent to mention here that the Indian all-electric SUV space got activated last year with Hyundai Motor India rolling out the electric SUV Kona. MG Motor India is also set to commercially launch its ZS EV and with Tata Motors also primed to commercially roll out the Nexon EV after its recent unveiling, the latest move of Mercedes-Benz India to hop on the EV bandwagon is only going to crank up competition within the all-electric SUV space in the country.
Under the EQ brand, Mercedes-Benz India currently has one EV product globally – EQC which has attracted large-scale acceptance across the globe, especially in countries like China, Australia and many pockets of Europe. The German luxury carmaker is girding up its loins to roll out the EQC for the Indian market in April this year. “We are committed towards carbon neutrality and we are leveraging our core strengths of being a luxury carmaker with a strong focus on sustainability. There is a significant amount of government push for EVs and the EQ EV brand will look to create an ecosystem that puts in place a reliable and at the same time exciting electric mobility. The EQC is an innovative and sporty car and will address the cleaner mobility needs of Indian consumers, said Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India.
The EQC comes with a dual motor setup - one motor for the front axle and one for the rear axle. The motors of the newest offering from Mercedes-Benz India stable are powered by an 80 kWh lithium-ion battery, that helps the motors produce a combined 300 kW (402 bhp) of peak power and 765 Nm of peak torque. The Mercedes-Benz EQC will offer a range of around 400 km - interestingly, Hyundai Kona Electric offers a range of 451 (ARAI-rated) while MG ZS EV and Tata Nexon EV claim to offer a range of 340 km and more than 300 km respectively.
Schwenk choose the occasion of unveiling the EQ EV brand by underpinning its roadmap. “We intend to have at least ten pure EVs by 2022. Sales of EVs will increase to 15-25 % of the total unit sales by 2025 depending on availability of charging infrastructure, regulatory framework and customer preferences.”
This might be testing times for the Indian automotive industry given the protracted sales slowdown, but not for Mercedes-Benz India – it has emerged as the country’s best-selling luxury carmaker for the 5th consecutive year, selling 13,786 units in 2019, which of course, is still a,9.9 % decrease over record sales of 15,538 units in 2018. The company rode high on the back of the festive season and the roll-out of three new models launched the period – the Mercedes-Benz G 350d, V-class Elite and the GLC facelift, which precisely explains why it achieved its highest-ever Q4 sales performance in 2019 selling 3871 units, a 3.3 % growth over the year-ago period and a 15.41 % increase over sales performance of Q3 2019. “We all know 2019 has not been an easy one for all vehicle manufacturers, but we have managed to drive positive sentiments with the E-class sedan leading the way emerging as the brand’s highest-selling model,” he said.
Mercedes-Benz India has no such challenges on the BS 6 transition front, as it has all its products BS 6-compliant well ahead of the April, 2020 timeline. “We are the first carmaker to roll out our first BS 6-compliant vehicle S-Class more than two years ahead of the government deadline and this has been possible owing to our meticulous planning, quips Schwenk, who had taken charge as Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India in November 2018.
Clearly, Indian EV SUV lovers have much to look forward to in the coming months and years!