Mercedes Unveils Electric Van for Growing Battery-Powered Lineup

Mercedes-Benz is giving a sneak peek of an electric van that’s among the models broadening its battery-powered range over the next year.

The electric iteration of the Mercedes T-Class, dubbed EQT, will accommodate as many as seven passengers and launch in 2022, Daimler AG’s main division said Monday. It will flank the Citan commercial van due to be introduced later this year, a version of which will be battery-electric.

The EQT “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,” Marcus Breitschwerdt, Mercedes’ van chief, said in a statement.

Mercedes Unveils Electric Van for Growing Battery-Powered Lineup

The world’s best-selling luxury-car maker plans to build eight fully-electric vehicles on three continents next year to take on Tesla Inc. and keep incumbent rivals including BMW AG at bay. The EQT will compete with vehicles such as the electric descendant of Volkswagen AG’s hippie-era Microbus that’s slated to hit showrooms in 2023.

The EQT design concept features 21-inch light-alloy wheels and sliding doors on both sides to allow access to the third row of seats. An electric longboard stored in a compartment fitted with a plexiglass lid will appeal to fans of gadgets and outdoor activities.

Mercedes’ van operations must brace for increased investor scrutiny after Daimler completes a planned spinoff of its heavy-truck operations later this year. The division has been prone to big earnings swings in recent years and will remain part of the main Mercedes car operation, which focuses on luxury vehicles that generate strong returns.

The van division’s efforts to share development costs through joint vehicle projects with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. have largely flopped. Mercedes culled the X-Class pickup that was based on the Nissan Navara due to poor sales, and customers mocked the mediocre quality of the small Citan van that shared components with Renault.

Nissan last week joined Renault in selling its small stake in Daimler, which was acquired about a decade ago to cement their collaboration.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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