Electric Mercedes G-Class Is Dream Come True for Schwarzenegger
(Bloomberg) -- The electric version of Mercedes-Benz’s G-Class looks set to be built in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Austrian hometown.
On Sunday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its EQG prototype, an all-electric version of the automaker’s utilitarian off-road icon. Its combustion-engine forerunner is built in Graz, by Magna International Inc., and the subcontractor’s European boss dropped a hint at the Munich car show that the electric version will be built there, too.
“We’ve built the G-Class for 41 years and we’re involved with their electric projects,” Guenther Apfalter said in an interview. “We have high hopes.”
Former California governor and action-movie actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a native of Graz, in 2018 implored former Mercedes Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche to offer an electric version of the G-Class. That dream now looks set to become reality as Daimler AG’s main division plows more than 40 billion euros ($47 billion) into electrifying its product range this decade.
Daimler is in talks to increase its battery orders as part of its plan to make its offering electric-only by the end of the decade, Chief Executive Officer Ola Kallenius said.
“We’re upping the ante and talking to our partners,” he said.
When Mercedes designed the G-Class in the late 1970s, its boxy design and all-terrain capabilities were envisioned for soldiers and explorers. It largely stayed in that niche until the SUV boom vaulted the model more into to the mainstream, gaining high-profile customers including Sylvester Stallone, Kim Kardashian and Megan Fox.
While vintage in design, the G-Class is among the most expensive cars in the Mercedes range. The AMG G63 version, for example, costs about $156,450.
Asked if Mercedes would produce a high-powered AMG version of the G-Class, Kallenius said the company has “hinted at what the drive train will be like with four individual motors close to the wheels.”
“All I can say at this point: it’ll be insane,” he said.
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