Next-gen Mercedes EQA, EQB will use cheaper, less powerful batteries

Mercedes introduced the EQA and EQB as electric conversions of the GLA and GLB earlier this year, but the company is already talking about the next-generation models. In an attempt to keep its entry-level EVs at attainable prices amid increasingly more expensive nickel-based batteries, the German luxury brand will have no other way but to resort to lesser battery packs.

The reveal was made by company CEO Ola Kallenius this week during an interview in Atlanta. Mercedes’ head honcho is confident people shopping for an EQA or the boxy, seven-seat EQB are willing to accept a shorter range since these zero-emissions crossovers are mainly used around town, therefore not needing sophisticated batteries that provide an extended range.

The larger and more expensive electric cars from Mercedes, such as the newly released EQS fullsize sedan, will stick to nickel-based battery. With the largest pack, it has enough juice for 350 miles (563 kilometers) per EPA or 478 miles (770 km) according to the WLTP standard applicable in Europe.

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Arriving in 2024 and 2025, the next-generation EQA and EQB, the electric crossovers could switch to lithium iron phosphate batteries. Ola Kallenius said Mercedes is currently “looking at” this technology for the two compact EVs to avoid nickel and cobalt in lithium-ion batteries as supplies of both are constrained, thus driving up the prices.

While it’s a bit disappointing to hear about a high-end marque such as Mercedes having to resort to using downgraded batteries, continuing with nickel would make the EQA and EQB too expensive for the segment in which they compete. It’s understandable why it will be going down this road, especially since nickel is known to be prone to fire, so the engineers want to avoid this additional problem.

As a final note, Mercedes is plotting a veritable EV onslaught to follow an EV-heavy 2021 as the EQA and EQB SUVs were followed by the EQE and EQS sedans. The EQE SUV and EQS SUV are coming next year, complete with a Maybach version of the latter, with a fully electric G-Class due in 2024.

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Source: Automotive News

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