German luxury vehicles company Mercedes-Benz, a subsidiary of Daimler AG, has unveiled the EQA, a new electric compact SUV as part of plans to take on rival US-based Tesla and offer more emission-free vehicles to consumers to meet targets in Europe and China.
The EQA, the first of several electric models Mercedes-Benz plans to launch this year, will initially have a range of 426 kilometers (265 miles), with a 500km model coming later, the premium brand carmaker said in a video presentation.
Mercedes-Benz describes the EQA as an “urban entry model” and the company’s board member Britta Seeger praised its “sustainability, versatility and fresh look.”
Spike in demand
The SUV will go on sale in Europe on February 4 at what Ms. Seeger described as “very attractive price points.”
Electric vehicle (EV) sales took off in Europe last year as carmakers scrambled to meet European Union carbon dioxide emission targets. Sales received a boost from subsidies included in economic stimulus measures rolled out in France and Germany, in particular. Sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid models rose 122 percent across the European Union (EU) through the first three quarters of 2020.
Tesla’s first mover advantage
Electric carmaker Tesla got a head start on traditional carmakers with their vast investments in fossil-fuel vehicles and has dominated global sales. The mass-market Tesla Model 3 is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, followed in distant second place by French automaker Renault’s Zoe.
Along with emission targets, carmakers face bans on fossil-fuel vehicles that can come into effect as early as 2030 in some markets.