Mercedes-Benz to rethink divisive electric-car designs, phase-out EQ name - SUV VEHICLE

Mercedes-Benz to rethink divisive electric-car designs, phase-out EQ name


The streamlined looks of the latest Mercedes-Benz electric vehicles – designed for optimal aerodynamics and driving range – are on the way out, along with their EQ nameplates.


Mercedes-Benz will drop the ‘EQ’ prefix for future electric vehicles and focus on more appealing exterior designs, according to one of its engineering chiefs.

Speaking to UK publication Top Gear, Mercedes-Benz vice president of engineering, Christoph Starzynski, said criticism of its electric cars’ looks as bland has been taken on board, with the company now working on more pleasing future designs.

Such criticism has been levelled at vehicles including the Mercedes-Benz EQS large electric sedan, introduced globally in 2021 and in Australia in 2022.

The exterior shape of the EQS – as well as later vehicles including the EQE sedan (above) and EQE SUV (below) – prioritised aerodynamic efficiency in order to maximise battery driving range and performance, instead of outright visual appeal.

In doing so, the EQS departs from traditional sedan looks, largely blending the front end, roofline and boot into one teardrop shape – criticised as blob-like, lacking distinguishing features.

“We have had that comment, and we are taking this comment seriously,” Mr Starzynski told Top Gear.

The engineer points to the Concept CLA Class shown in November 2023 (below) as an indication of what’s to come from the German car maker.

“Looking at the [design] language in the Concept CLA, and maybe looking a little bit more in the future, I think we can definitely see there’s going to be adoptions to that.”

While it may not look significantly different, the Concept CLA Class has a strong lower front grille with the familiar leading Mercedes-Benz star badge, compared to the EQS’s ‘painted-on’ front-end design.

The Concept CLA Class also has a more defined bonnet, roofline and boot lid to appear less homogenous in profile and more like a conventional sedan.

In a break from the German car maker’s current electric-car naming procedure, Mr Starzynski also confirmed electric versions of the CLA due in 2025 – which the Concept CLA previews – will not be called ‘EQ CLA’.

Instead, they will be named ‘CLA’ – possibly with a suffix such as Electric – with the EQ prefix used to identify electric Mercedes to be phased out, likely before 2030 when the brand hopes to offer only electric models in certain countries “where market conditions allow”.

“No, it’s going to be a ‘C’,” Starzynski said, when asked if the electric version of the new CLA will wear an EQ badge.

“‘EQ’ is for us a very strong brand for electric technology, so we will definitely maintain it. Now the question is nomenclature. How do you name the cars? At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to go fully electric.

“So at the end of the day, the zipper will close and the nomenclature will happen naturally.”

It appears the German car giant will continue to use the EQ name in select marketing materials – as well as to describe mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology – but will move away from naming all of its electric vehicles ‘EQ’, followed by one or more letters.

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