Mercedes-Benz planning new design language for its range of EVs



Mercedes-Benz has big changes in store for its range of electric cars. Looking ahead, the battery-powered cars in its lineup will feature a less streamlined design in order to appeal to a wider group of customers, and some will ditch the naming system that uses EQ as a prefix.

Christoph Starzynski, the company’s vice president of engineering, told Top Gear that design is one of the reasons models like the EQE and the EQS haven’t sold as well as executives hoped. “We have had that comment, and we are taking this comment seriously,” he replied after Top Gear asked whether the polarizing look — which helps unlock a low drag coefficient — is a little too much for the target audience.

Starzynski added that the feedback will help shape future EVs. He pointed to the Concept CLA unveiled in 2023. “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,” he explained. Shown above, the Concept CLA features more conventional-looking proportions than the current EQ-branded models.

While the Concept CLA is clearly a preview of the upcoming third-generation CLA, the production model may not end up called something along the lines of EQCLA. Starzynski noted that the EQ name will stick around in the foreseeable future but that not every car will get it.

“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,” he told Top Gear. Interestingly, he “hinted” that the electric version of the G-Class due out in the coming years may be the first battery-powered Mercedes-Benz model of the 2020s not assigned the EQ label. That’s a little surprising, since the off-roader was previewed by a concept called EQG unveiled at the 2021 Munich auto show. We don’t know what it will be called yet.

As for the Concept CLA, its influence on the Mercedes-Benz range won’t be limited to design. It will ride on a new modular platform called MMA, and its electric drivetrain will benefit from the lessons that the brand learned while developing and testing the Vision EQXX concept.

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