You are currently viewing Presentation – Mercedes EQT: the MPV plays the electric vanlife card

Presentation – Mercedes EQT: the MPV plays the electric vanlife card

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:14 mins read

Mercedes is still one of the few to believe in the minivan with the T-Class. A sign of modern times, it now becomes Mercedes EQT.

Minivans have looked sad since they were driven out by SUVs, which were more attractive, but much less practical. However, some manufacturers continue to believe in the segment, and it is the MPVs that resist the best, these converted city utilities for families: practical and versatile, they combine praise with one of the best habitability / size ratios.

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Mercedes is a major player in the segment in that it uses the technical basis of another reference within the framework of an industrial partnership: the Renault Kangoo. It was the Mercedes Citan that opened this new chapter in the brand’s history. It is called Class T in its civilian version, which can be found in the brand’s passenger car catalog. But now there is the Mercedes EQT, the fully electric version intended for families, which we were able to meet in advance.

A more techno interior

Based on an elongated Mercedes T-Class base, the EQT Concept foreshadowed the arrival of a production model with a fairly similar style. But you will have to forget this attractive face of EQ, a first in the brand’s electric range, falsely announcing: the standard Mercedes EQT prefers to join the ranks for the usual obvious financial and industrial reasons. Still, it plays the originality card less than passenger cars, which caricaturally smooth their features to improve aerodynamics: the EQT only stands out from the T-Class with a wider semi-full black grille. Here ends the tour of the vehicle since the rest is perfectly similar to the T-Class.

Unsurprisingly, the cabin does not change and we always discover a dashboard with an architecture necessarily modeled on that of the Kangoo e-Tech. But if parts remain, like the rotary air conditioning controls or the imposing drive control (where buttons could suffice), the EQT offers a more polished and less commoner presentation. In the center of the dashboard sits a 7-inch touchscreen offering access to the MBUX infotainment system with artificial intelligence.

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As on all the brand’s cars that are equipped with it, the device understands the driver’s habits and then makes suggestions automatically and thus speeds up handling. There are also Mirror Link functions for smartphones as well as voice control “ Hey Mercedes ». The MPV is also full of active driving aids, with help keeping in line and front distance control. The driver will have two Eco and Comfort driving modes and will be able to play with the three levels of energy recovery (D-/D/D+).

Mercedes EQT interior

The Marco Polo Module for electric getaways

4.50 m long and 1.82 m high, the MPV can accommodate 5 passengers on board. In this configuration, the Mercedes EQT offers a total of 4 seats with ISOFIX mountings for the installation of child seats. Access to the rear seats is via a sliding door, or from either side of the van as an option. The seat is split with a ratio of 2/3-1/3 and it is now sliding: the appearance of the battery which raises the floor has thus allowed the installation of rails according to Mercedes. However, passengers will have to raise their knees a little more, without this fundamentally sacrificing seating comfort.

But for more convenience, we will have to wait for the long-wheelbase version which will arrive in 2023. Extended from the front cell, the chassis moves the battery back under the bench seat, thus freeing up a little more space in the foot cellar. the back. With a length of 4.90 m, this version will be available with the 7 seats promised by the Mercedes EQT Concept. And this one will be able to reserve many more surprises.

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This surprise bears the name of Marco Polo, synonymous with adventure and bivouac at Mercedes. To begin with, the brand will offer the Marco Polo module in its equipment catalog from the launch of the EQT. Developed and manufactured by Brabus Automotive, this device comes in the form of a box inside which are hidden three drawers and a table. After checking all the options, users will have a mobile kitchenette, a 15 l cooling cooler and a flexible sink, with a tap connected to a 12 l water tank.

Inside the MPV there is a metal base between the two front seats to accommodate the support for the table or folding bed. Because after lowering the rear seat, the Marco Polo module can then form a high-end bed (springs are already integrated to keep the softness of a mattress) with sleeping accommodation for two people. Note that this complete kit, which also includes a table and folding chairs, is completely removable. This thus makes it possible to fully dispose of the trunk of the EQT (from 551 to 1,979 l) for daily use, for example. Also announced for the T-Class, this module has still not communicated its prices.

Mercedes EQT Marco Polo Concept: to go further

But this module should not be confused with the real Mercedes EQT Marco Polo, which will be launched in the second quarter of 2023. For the moment, it is in its form of concept car quite close to reality that we have been able to discover this van , which is nothing but a star-studded replica, literally and figuratively, of the Renault Kangoo Hippie Caviar Motel. Because here, the treatment of the cabin is even more chic, in line with the real Marco Polo in the range, which does not yet officially exist in an electric version.

The light wood elements which contrast with the dark surfaces and the warm lighting contribute to the subdued atmosphere of this interior designed, again, by Brabus Automotive. The equipment is complete, with a gas and induction hob, a sink with a clean and used water tank of 12 l each, and a 16 l refrigerator. The extendable table is on its side mounted on a motorized compartment. Once at the bottom and unfolded, the latter forms the bed for two people.

But it is the extendable roof that makes all the salt of this Marco Polo version. Because if it can accommodate an additional bed without sacrificing comfort (1.97 m against 2.0 m at the bottom), it will above all allow users to stand up at the rear, where the space under the ceiling is necessarily counted.

Of course, this is just a concept and the form could change by next year. But the spirit is there, as is the modularity which would undoubtedly be retained: the modules can be uninstalled by two in 5 minutes in order to find a civilian configuration with 5 or 7 seats. Note that on the concept, there will only be 4 places available with all the elements in place.

A 45 kWh battery only

Whether in short or long version, Marco Polo or not, the Mercedes EQT will however offer a unique mechanical configuration. And, drum roll, this is perfectly taken from the Renault Kangoo e-Tech, which has just announced its prices.

We will therefore find at the front an electric motor with a power of 122 hp (90 kW) for 245 Nm of torque. If its performance is not yet known, Mercedes already indicates that the top speed will be limited to 134 km / h. The recovery values ​​should therefore not be the most impressive, but the engine will be strong enough to tow up to 1,500 kg.

The mechanical assembly is powered by a 45 kWh battery in both cases. In the short version, the EQT announces a WLTP autonomy of 282 km with a standardized consumption of 18.9 kWh/100 km. That seems a bit fair for a car whose versatility in family use remains at the center of the specifications!

And it is not the fast peak charging power of 80 kW that will improve the balance sheet when going on vacation: according to the manufacturer, it takes 38 minutes to fill up from 10 to 80%. On the other hand, the on-board charger will make it possible to aim for a maximum power of 22 kW, authorizing a full tank in 2 h 30 on the appropriate terminal.

Who is the Mercedes EQT for?

Unlike Renault, Mercedes has therefore chosen to keep both types of engines in its range. A very different strategy from that of Stellantis, which has chosen all-electric for its MPVs, and which is paying the price in terms of sales. In any case, Mercedes’ bet would be the right one. Because if the EQT would be a good family companion on a daily basis, the figures given by its technical data sheet do not promise the versatility that its style and its interior suggest.

The marketing of the new Mercedes EQT will be launched during the month of December, with an entry ticket set at €45,410 in the Style finish. Pricing for the 7-seater and Marco Polo versions will be announced later this year.