Mercedes-Benz is starting its EV lineup on the back foot, at least when it comes to the U.S. market. As Tesla, BMW, Audi and Jaguar continue to build on progress they’ve made in the world’s second-largest EV market, Mercedes told dealers it was delaying its launch of the EQC crossover a whole year, until 2021.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the first model of the automaker’s new “EQ” electric sub-brand, and dealers expected it to arrive in the first quarter of 2020. According to an Automotive News report, strong European demand is slowing Mercedes’ efforts to roll out the EQC over here.
“In a recent direction from Daimler AG, it is a strategic decision to first support the growing customer demand for the EQC in Europe,” the manufacturer said Friday. The European Union also mandated much stricter emissions requirements, stipulating a 37.5 percent cut in new vehicle emissions by 2030. If automakers don’t hit the target — by reducing a vehicle’s emissions to about 60 grams per kilometer — they face massive noncompliance fines. As European manufacturers face stricter and stricter regulations, Mercedes posits it needs to focus on growing EQC sales in the EU before a full-on U.S. launch.
A wise decision?
As the industry currently stands, U.S. regulations aren’t as demanding when it comes to emissions targets. On the other hand, there is increasing demand for full-electric vehicles all over the country. Dealers in EV-friendly states like California, in particular, face an uphill battle in the wake of a year-long setback leading up to the EQC’s launch. Not just that, but the automaker reportedly plans to launch a fleet of 10 electric models within the next two years. When the company is taking this long to just launch its first model, time will tell if it ultimately achieves that goal, at least in the U.S. market.
The competition isn’t letting up, either. Beyond the current crop of SUVs like the Tesla Model X, Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla is adding yet another crossover with the Model Y. BMW is also joining the race with the iX3 crossover. Volkswagen will soon introduce its ID. 4 crossover in the U.S. as well. When it does arrive, the Mercedes-Benz EQC is certainly in for a fight.
Mercedes’ first all-electric crossover does manage about 280 miles on a charge, according to New European Driving Cycle estimates. Its 80-kWh battery isn’t quite as large as its competitors, but it also didn’t carry as high a price tag. The company originally announced pricing at $67,900, but that may ultimately rise by the time it hits the market, if it does truly end up being delayed until 2021.