Mercedes G-Class Electric (Electric G-Wagon): Everything we know - SUV VEHICLE

Mercedes G-Class Electric (Electric G-Wagon): Everything we know

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Update: ‘New name’ section added and ‘Mercedes G 580 design,’ ‘Powertrain’ and ‘Battery & Range’ sub-section of ‘Specifications’ and ‘Release Date’ section updated.

Since the beginning of the new millennium, we’ve seen the Mercedes G-Class getting sporty with AMG variants, pumping iron with variants like 4×4² and 6×6, wearing armor with the Guard variant, and discovering regalness with the Landaulet. Two decades in, as the world transitions to zero-emission vehicles, the Mercedes-Benz Group is unwrapping a new side of the Geländewagen, one that is clean and classy, previewed by the Mercedes EQG concept.

In October 2020, when Mercedes-Benz Group held the Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update 2020 event, it formally confirmed plans for a pure-electric G-Class. The electric G-Class that debuted at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) is a concept, but the mass-production model, to be launched this year, will closely resemble it. Here’s what we know about the German electric off-roader.

New name

Mercedes-Benz plans to stop using the EQ suffix in future EVs, beginning with the pure-electric variant of the Mercedes G-Class. The company will launch its electric off-roader simply as the Mercedes G-Class. The numerical designation of the pure electric variant in the G-Class line-up will be 580.

Mercedes G 580 design

The Mercedes G 580 will be a modified second-gen Mercedes G-Class with EV-specific styling bits and an entirely different powertrain. Key external changes on its concept version, expected to be seen on the production vehicle, include a two-tone color scheme consisting of gloss black on the top and gloss aluminum on the bottom; a black panel radiator grille featuring an illuminated star, an animated squircle pattern around the star, and an all-round illuminated band on the edges; 22-inch EV-style wheels; and an EV wallbox charger-inspired lockable box in place of the spare wheel cover.

The Mercedes G 580 electric SUV will have several differences in the bodywork from the gas-powered G-Class, Autocar reported on September 15, 2023. Dr. Emmerich Schiller has indicated that the changes on the G 580 won’t be easily noticeable and said that some of these revisions will lead to dramatic improvement in aerodynamics. Dr. Schiller is the CEO of Mercedes-Benz G and the Head of the Off-Road Vehicle Division of Mercedes-Benz.

Most of the G 580’s aerodynamic improvements will also be incorporated into the facelifted version of the gas-powered G-Class, which is currently under development. Modified windscreen pillars and a small spoiler on the channel located above the windscreen are a couple of examples of the changes.

Testing

The Mercedes-Benz G is testing the G 580 electric SUV around the world before putting it in showrooms, ensuring it performs just as expected. Prototypes are frequently sighted in Germany and Austria, where engineers are running many tests.

Recently, Mercedes spotter and YouTube channel walkoARTvideos shared a clip of a G-Class EV from near Mercedes-Benz Group’s Sindelfingen production facility in Germany. Magna Steyr, the company responsible for the upcoming EV’s production, has an engineering center less than a mile away from this site, and that’s probably where the test mule was coming from.

Video Source: YouTube/walkoARTvideos

The camouflaged prototype has a different front fascia from the G-Class, with an almost fully covered upper grille that has just two thin openings on either side of the brand logo, a different lower air intake, and curvier side air inlets. Needless to say, much of this, if not all, is trickery, and the final design is likely to be different.

Interior

Spy pictures suggest the Mercedes G 580 will have an interior that looks quite similar to the concept. They reveal a different steering wheel, which looks like the AMG Performance steering wheel with a double-spoke design and could be an optional feature in an AMG Line or the AMG variant. The climate control panel is a cleaner unit, and the design looks similar to the one in the new A-Class and new CLA, but it has different knurls. The touchpad is also new, and it looks bigger and slimmer.

Where the gas-powered G-Class has its rear differential lock switch, the G 580 electric model has a ‘G-Turn’ switch. We’ve explained that feature in the next section. The switch next to it, in the center, enables low-range gearing, useful in the ‘Creeper’ drive mode, essentially acting as low-speed cruise control for off-roading. On its left, where the gas model has its front differential lock switch, the electric model has a switch for what seems to be another party trick.

Mercedes G 580 specifications

Platform

Like the F-150 Lightning, the Mercedes G 580 electric SUV will be a conversion of an ICE model (the second-gen G-Class). Mercedes-Benz Group is repurposing in a bid to keep the development & production costs in check and, most importantly, preserve the capabilities of the iconic off-roader. This would also mean that it would not have the best features, like Mercedes cars, which were developed as EVs from the outset. So, don’t expect a frunk, a flat floor, or the Hyperscreen display on the Electric G-Wagon.

In November 2022, a few publications got to ride in early prototypes of the Mercedes G 580 electric SUV. Autocar was one of them, and Mercedes-Benz G CEO Dr. Emmerich Schiller told the British website that the electric variant of the G-Class has “two skateboards with the same hat on top.” Like on the donor model, “the body is connected to the ladder frame at eight points,” Dr. Schiller added. He also revealed that the weight of the electric G-Class is less than 3,500 kg (7,716 lbs.).

In 2024 we will launch our full-electric G-Class as well. It will continue the great story of our G-series.

Britta Seeger, BoM member – Marketing and Sales (Mercedes-Benz Cars), Mercedes-Benz Group (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive 2021)

Powertrain

The Mercedes G-Class electric was said to be available with triple-motor and quad-motor powertrain options. However, note that only the latter has been officially confirmed. According to a report MotorTrend published on March 15, 2024, the powertrain of the G 580 EV will produce 579 horsepower and 859 lb.-ft. of torque.

Quad-motor

The quad-motor electric G-Class’ setup will mimic the functionality of the G-Class’ three 100‑percent differential locks. We’re yet to know whether the EV will have conventional motors or in-wheel hub motors. “We will mount four electric motors very close to the wheels,” Mercedes-AMG CEO Michael Schiebe told journalists at the S 63 E Performance media drive, Motor Authority reported on June 22, 2023.

In-wheel hub motors could add unsprung weight to the G-Class EV at its wheels, affecting ride quality. However, Mercedes-Benz AMG has axial-flux motor technology at its disposal, courtesy of YASA, the British electric-motor specialist Mercedes-Benz Group acquired in July 2021. Axial-flux motors weigh just one-third the weight of radial-flux motors and require only one-third of the space. Mercedes-Benz Group says these motors, planned to be made in-house at the Berlin-Marienfelde factory, “will be at the heart of the forthcoming powertrain for the performance segment.”

Autocar says Mercedes-Benz has mounted the motors powering the G-Class electric’s front wheels low at each side within the front axle and integrated the rear motors further inboard within the rear axle. The rear axle is a newly developed de Dion unit designed especially for the electric G-Class.

The motors send drive to their respective wheels via a two-speed gearbox with a low-range gear ratio. The driver will be able to choose from seven drive modes, including four selections specifically for off-road usage: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Trail, Rock, Sand, and Creeper. It is possible to route all the power to a single wheel, a capability that could come in handy in tricky off-road situations. The power distribution between the wheels is “incredibly precise,” Dr. Schiller said.

Battery & Range

According to a report JESMB released on January 12, 2024, the Mercedes G 580 will be available with two battery pack options. One of these will be a new type of battery pack with a remarkably high energy density, which will require cells with a high level of silicon content, and it will not be available right from launch. The MotorTrend report dated March 15, 2024, indicates that at least one of the two battery packs will have an energy storage capacity of 116 kWh.

Sila Nanotechnologies

On April 4, 2023, Sila Nanotechnologies announced Titan Silicon, a nano-composite (NCS) anode. The company stated that graphite anodes and simple silicon compounds (Si, SiO, SiO2) for Li-ion batteries have peaked in performance. Titan Silicon is the new solution to enhance EV performance. It claims the new silicon anode can improve the range of EVs by 20%—potentially adding up to 100 miles for some models. Additionally, it can reduce the 10-80% charging time from as long as 60 minutes to just 20 minutes, decrease battery weight by 15%, and offer a 20% saving in space.

Mercedes EQG front three quarter spy shot
The Mercedes G 580 will have a battery pack consisting of high-energy density cells developed by California-based Sila Nanotechnologies. Seen here is a test prototype captured by ace German photographer Wilco Blok. Image Source: Instagram/wilcoblok

Silicon Anode battery

On May 17, 2022, Sila Nanotechnologies and Mercedes-Benz had announced that the battery of the electric G-Class will use Sila’s silicon anode chemistry. The joint statement from the companies had stated that the technology will enable a 20-40% increase in energy density, reaching more than 800 Wh/l at cell level. According to Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius (via Motortrend), the G 580 would be the most energy-dense battery in a vehicle.

The same day Sila Nanotechnologies made the announcement, Bloomberg published a report saying the Mercedes G 580 will feature Titan Silicon anodes. No surprises here, since the American next-generation battery materials company and the German automaker had already announced a tie-up for the electric off-roader’s battery.

We are making breakthroughs in advanced battery cell chemistry to deliver even higher energy density. This means packaging more energy into smaller volumes, delivering greater range on the one hand and more space on the other. High-silicon anodes play a major role in this.

Markus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer, Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: Economics of Desire on May 19, 2022)

Integration in the G-Class EV

The benefit of increased energy density would be that Mercedes-Benz won’t need large battery packs to meet range requirements. Sila Nanotechnologies’ futuristic anode will allow for storing more energy in the same space, which means increased range without adding weight.

The advanced silicon anode materials will be manufactured using 100% clean energy at Sila Nanotechnologies’ Washington state facility, with Mercedes-Benz G being the factory’s first publicly announced customer.

As a frame SUV, the G 580 will be heavy, and a battery with improved energy density would be ideal. Mercedes-Benz G is likely to ensure that the G 580 can do over 300 miles (483 km) on a single charge. The G 580 will have three stages of regenerative braking – D+, D, and D-.

A second battery pack in the works?

According to a report by JESMB published on May 4, 2023, the G-Class EV will be available with two different types of battery packs. While one variant will feature the advanced Titan Silicon anode, there is no information available regarding the type or energy storage capacity of the second battery pack. However, the second option could be a less advanced unit that can be manufactured in larger volumes and without interruptions. It might not be as energy efficient, and thus, may deliver a shorter range. However, it would allow Mercedes-Benz G to price the G 580 from a lower point.

The JESMB report also states that the battery pack of the G 580 will be built into its ladder frame. It will be protected by 3.4 mm thick steel and secured from below by carbon-fiber. There’s no word on the charging rate or time yet. The German publication has seen a prototype’s battery pack charging at 80 kW even after reaching 90 kWh capacity, though.

Towing

For those wondering about the G 580’s towing capacity, Mercedes-Benz G has bad news. According to a report Australia’s Drive released on November 23, 2022, the G 580 is unlikely to be tow-rated. Dr. Schiller said that towing would have a significant impact on the range, so the company is “not sure at this stage if it will be offered on initial generation.”

Off-roading

Schöckl-proved

Mercedes-Benz Group promises an “enormous pulling power and controllability” for the production model. It says that, like the G-Class, the G 580 will boast “a climbing capacity of up to 100 percent on suitable ground.” Towards the end of its development, the company will test it on the 1,445-meter-high Schöckl mountain in Graz, Austria. And that won’t be one but 300 times, as per the Drive report.

Källenius drove a prototype of the G 580 in Graz. He was so impressed by the G 580 prototype that he proposed that every off-road-focused Mercedes-Benz model from here on should be an EV! The brand boss was speaking at a media roundtable held on September 22, 2022; Autoblog reported this on the same day. The CEO promised that the electric G-Class will have “phenomenal performance on and off the road,” as per MotorTrend.

Reinforcements

Instead of steel, Mercedes-Benz G has used a new outer material for the battery casing of the G 580 to ensure extra safety in case of any impacts during off-roading. According to Autocar, the battery casing is a combination of steel and carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer compound.

Off-road monitor

The electric G has an Off-road Monitor that displays information about the dampers and springs when it is on a path with a lot of ups and downs, the degree of tilt when it is side-hill, and other important data when driving on an off-road course.

Regular suspension system

Like the ICE G-Class, the electric G-Class has a double-wishbone suspension at the front and a rigid axle suspension at the rear. The driver can replicate the effect of the former’s three differential locks with a new electronic system that Mercedes-Benz G has developed. The company wants to ensure that the G 580 is equally capable as the ICE variants, both on and off the road.

Tank turn or ‘G-Turn’

Video Source: YouTube/ASV Mercedes-Benz

Unlike the regular G-Class, the electric G-Class can do a tank turn, or in Mercedes-Benz G parlance, a ‘G-Turn.’ The driver can activate it using a dashboard-mounted button. When enabled, the wheels on one side spin forward and the wheels on the other side turn backward. The driver can choose the side they want the vehicle to turn through the respective paddle shifter.

Like the GLS’ Freifahrmodus (rocking mode), G-Turn will be a party trick for most customers. But, in the same way, for customers who actually take it on off-road adventures, it will offer practical advantages, allowing them to turn out of tight situations safely, Dr. Schiller said. Making a 360-degree turn on its own axis is the electric G-Class’ biggest trick. There will be at least one more surprise, but Mercedes-Benz G is saving it for later, the brand boss indicated.

Another milestone on the off-track to series production is the impressive maneuver we call ‘G-turn.’ It encompasses four electric motors, one at each wheel, plus a brand-new independent front suspension, (and) a rigid rear axle developed specifically for electric vehicles. So simply put, it allows the electric G-Class to turn on its own axis.

Markus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer, Mercedes-Benz (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: Economics of Desire on May 19, 2022)

Mercedes EQG concept side profile
The Mercedes G 580 will be “Schöckl-proved.” Image Source: Mercedes-Benz Group

Mercedes-AMG G-Class EV

An AMG high-performance variant is likely to be a part of the planned model line, though the company has not provided confirmation. According to the Drive report, Dr. Schiller has suggested that the performance would match the 577-hp AMG G 63, which takes just 4.5 seconds for a 0-60 mph sprint.

Release Date

According to a report JESMB released on March 2, 2024, the Mercedes G-Class Electric will debut by April 2024.

At the media roundtable held on September 22, 2022, Källenius had issued a more specific release date, saying that the company plans to launch the G-Class EV in mid-to-late 2024. According to the Bloomberg report from April 2023, Titan Silicon production will begin in late 2024.

Manufacturing

During the Q4 2021 results call, Källenius spoke about the G-Class brand. He referred to the SUV as the ‘Birkin handbag of Mercedes,’ as something hard to get. The CEO added that Mercedes-Benz would want to capitalize on this opportunity because this high demand can also fade away.

Long delivery times could hurt the model’s desirability. Mercedes-Benz will cautiously expand the production capacity in Graz, for the G-Class EV, which would keep the G-Class range attractive yet attainable for an extended period.

We will not go overboard with regard to expansion on the G, we have some quite exciting ideas how you can do different editions of the G that will keep that car very attractive and a lot of people that are contacting me are asking about the electric G that is due in a couple of years’ time. I think that electric G that will also add impetus to this franchise, inside our luxury side of the business.

Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group during the Q4 2021 results call, on February 24, 2022

On May 3, 2023, Kleine Zeitung reported that Mercedes-Benz Group has extended its contract for sourcing the G-Class from Magna Steyr from 2025 to 2029. The contract manufacturer is expected to hike G-Class production from an estimated 45,000 units in 2023 to 55,000 units in 2024, as per the Austrian newspaper. It will build more than 10,000 units of the G-Class EV as early as 2024. Germany, the USA, and China have the highest demand for the G-Class, and they could turn out to be the most popular markets for its electric variant, too.

TopElectricSUV says

Mercedes EQG teaser front three quarters view
Mercedes teased the G-Class EV in November 2023 (via Twitter/X), promising “sophistication and advanced electric technology” in the off-road SUV.

As car enthusiasts, we can agree that the G has stood the test of time and still stirs up a lot of emotion. It’s a true motoring icon, having faced and adapted to everything that has changed in the automotive world since 1979. Design, safety and emission regulations, customer preferences – you name it. As the world moves to electric propulsion, the ultimate luxury off-roader that Mercedes-Benz Group says is “stronger than time” will once again tackle and overcome challenges to remain available to its die-hard fans.

Also Read: Mini Mercedes G-Class Electric (Mercedes GLG?): What we know

Mercedes Electric G-Wagon FAQs

What is the Mercedes G-Class EV release date?

The Mercedes G-Class electric will be launched in the market in mid to late 2024.

Which are the competitors to the future Electric G-Wagon?

What is the expected Mercedes G 580 price?

The pure electric G-Class should start north of USD 150,000 in the U.S. market.

Featured image: Mercedes-Benz Group



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