Mercedes-Benz Reveals the ‘Concept EQT' Electric Minivan
【Summary】Mercedes Benz revealed the Concept EQT on Monday, its first premium electric vehicle in the compact van segment. With the popularity of SUVs and crossovers at an all time high, minivans remain a popular category. The Concept EQT is aimed at active families and fans of sports or outdoor recreational activities. It will join the Mercedes EQ lineup of EVs, which includes the fully-electric EQC sedan and EQS SUV.
Mercedes Benz revealed the Concept EQT on Monday, its first premium electric vehicle in the compact van segment. With the popularity of SUVs and crossovers at an all time high, minivans remain a popular category. However, there are no fully-electric minivans on the market as of yet.
The Concept EQT is aimed at active families and fans of sports or outdoor recreational activities. The EQT compact van will join the Mercedes EQ lineup of EVs, which includes the fully-electric EQS sedan and EQC SUV.
The Concept EQT is essentially an electric passenger version of the T-Class Mercedes Benz Citan cargo van, which is actually a rebadged version of the Kangoo commercial van from French automaker Renault.
Although it appears compact on the outside, the EQT has a large interior for such a small footprint. The EQT offers space for up to seven passengers along with space for luggage and other gear. The van's design blends comfort, functionality, connectivity and safety that's typical of the Mercedes brand.
"We are expanding our portfolio in the small van segment with the forthcoming T-Class. It will appeal to families and all those private customers, whatever their age, who enjoy leisure activities and need a lot of space and maximum variability without forgoing comfort and style," said Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "We are consistently implementing our claim to leadership in electromobility and will also be offering a fully electric model in this segment in the future."
The Concept EQT was unveiled in its near-series-production. However, Mercedes Benz did not reveal any technical specs of the electric van at this time, such as battery size, power and range.
The Concept EQT's front grill is the same as the rest of the Mercedes-EQ family, with a prominent Mercedes Benz star in the center. There is also a light strip which connects the LED headlamps with the rear lights.
The EQT will feature the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system. The AI-powered system can be conveniently operated from a free-standing central touchscreen display, touch control buttons on the steering wheel, or with voice commands using the phrase "Hey Mercedes."
The AI-powered MBUX has the ability to learn driver and passenger preferences. For example, if a driver regularly calls a certain person on Fridays on the commute home, the system will suggest their telephone number on the display on this day of the week. The MBUX is used in conjunction with the "Mercedes me" app and includes live traffic information and over-the-air updates.
In conjunction with Mercedes me connect, EV specific navigation services and functions will be offered, such as a map of nearby charging stations, range and optimized route planning, which takes into account the current state of charge, weather and live traffic.
The center touch screen display provides easy access to the EQT's charging and battery status. Info includes charging current, time remaining to charge the battery, energy flow and range calculations.
Among the van's features is an electric skateboard that's integrated into the load compartment. It's stored in a compartment in the load compartment floor. The cover is made of gloss black plexiglass with an aluminium trim.
The seating arrangements in the EQT are versatile, just like many other popular minivans. In the second row, three child seats can be fitted next to each other. The seats are upholstered in white nappa leather.
If more space is required, the third-row seats can be folded flat or removed completely, leaving sufficient space for a stroller, a transport box for large dogs, or sports equipment.
The electric skateboard is a unique feature. It's housed under a compartment in the back.
The Concept EQT features sliding doors on both sides with large openings, so that both seats in the third row can be reached more easily. A semi-closed compartment is located above the instrument cluster for easy access to storage items or important documents.
A panoramic glass roof floods the interior with light, which provides passengers a feeling of spaciousness.
"The Concept EQT gives an outlook on how space and maximum variability can also be combined with stylish comfort in the small van segment. Our future T-Class is a true multi-talent and with it we will attract new customer groups and grow sustainably," said Breitschwerdt.
So far, there have been no fully-electric compact vans introduced by automakers. Instead automakers have developed battery powered SUV and crossovers, since its one of the most popular categories in the auto industry. Although there are plenty of gas-powered or hybrid minivans on the road, none are offered as a fully-electric version.
Initially Mercedes Benz will deliver the EQT as an electric cargo version of the Citan commercial van. The electric EQT passenger version will follow in 2022.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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