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Mercedes-Benz unveils EQA electric crossover with less than 300 miles of range

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The compact SUV will go on sale in 2021, but only in Europe for now

Images: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz threw back the curtain on the EQA crossover, its latest electric vehicle as part of a slate of new EVs that are being planned for the coming years. The compact SUV will have a range of less than 300 miles, a 66.5kWh battery pack, and a net list price of €39,950 ($48,442).

The EQA, which is based on the German automaker’s GLA-class of SUVs, is scheduled to go into production this year in Europe, but likely won’t make it to the US anytime soon. That said, a spokesperson for Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, said the EQA is still being considered for the US market.

American car buyers would do better waiting for the EQB electric crossover, which will be closely related to the boxier GLB-class vehicle. The EQB is also scheduled to go into production later this year. Meanwhile, the EQS and EQE models will be the first EVs built on Mercedes’ new modular electric vehicle platform.

The EQA is built on the same vehicle platform as the $68,000 EQC SUV, which was supposed to start shipping in the US at the start of 2020 but was pushed to 2021. And like with the EQC, Mercedes is relying on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) to make a range estimate of 486 kilometers (300 miles) for the EQA.

That’s unfortunate because the NEDC standard is widely considered to be outdated and is in the process of being replaced with the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) that is supposed to be a bit more stringent. The US Environmental Protection Agency performs its own testing to set range estimates for electric cars, which tended to be lower than the NEDC and are considered to be closer to real-world performance. If and when the EQA comes to the US, it’s very likely that its EPA-estimated range will be less than 300 miles.

The EQA, which is launching as “EQA 250,” will have a 66.5kWh battery pack, which is slightly above average for the EVs on the road today. Tesla’s biggest battery is 100kWh, available in the Model S and Model X, which is one of the biggest batteries currently available.

The EQA will start in Germany at €47,540.50. Mercedes says it plans to release additional variants of the crossover, including an all-wheel drive version with an additional electric powertrain that increases the power output to 200kW or more, while also offering a version with a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) based on the WLTP standard.

Interested buyers will have some options when it comes to the EQA’s interior. They can either choose two 7-inch displays for both the instrument cluster and main infotainment screen, or a widescreen variant with two 10.25-inch displays. It won’t have Mercedes-Benz’s recently revealed, mammoth, pillar-to-pillar, 56-inch touchscreen that will debut in the upcoming EQS luxury electric sedan.

The EQA will come standard with the automaker’s second-generation MBUX infotainment system that eschews physical buttons in favor of a completely digital (and voice-controlled) in-car user experience.

Mercedes-Benz sees the EQA as an “entry point” into the automaker’s growing family of electric vehicles. More modestly priced than the EQC SUV, the new crossover is sure to find its fair share of interested buyers. The question is whether the German automaker can compete for EV-curious shoppers when Volkswagen, Tesla, BMW, and others appear to be progressing at a faster pace.