When Mercedes-Benz first started talking up their electrified cars and promised a sub-brand called EQ, everyone at Roadshow thought for sure these cars would be labeled Mercedes-EQ. This would follow the template of the high-performance Mercedes-AMG cars, like the GT, and the high-luxury Mercedes-Maybach models, like the S600. However, that wasn't the case. Instead the company's new all-electric SUV is called the Mercedes-Benz EQC, not the Mercedes-EQ C.
That distinction may sound academic, and in isolation it is, but the reasoning points to an interesting future. When I asked Joerg Heinermann, marketing chief for Mercedes-Benz EQ, about this minor detail, he confirmed the nomenclature allows for high-performance, Mercedes-AMG cars to also bear the EQ name. The most luxurious Mercedes-Maybach models will, too. "We do not exclude a combination of sub-brands," he said. "The different sub-brands are to indicate specifics, but not to say that one excludes another."
Mercedes-Benz chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche echoed that point, saying: "It's very simple: when a Mercedes has an electric drive it's an EQ." He then went even further, saying that the EQ brand may actually made itself unnecessary -- or perhaps even trump the core brand. "When it's the point that are 100 percent electric," he said, "we could drop our sub-brand, or take it to the top and [move] the others below." Everything EQ? It could happen sooner than you think, with both Zetsche and Heinermann stating that they believe between 15 and 25 percent of all cars sold under the Mercedes banner will be EVs by 2025.
We won't have to wait long to see the first of these crossover models. Dr. Zetsche pointed to the upcoming Mercedes-AMG Project One as a first example. That next-gen hypercar's powerplant was dubbed "EQ Power+" but don't be surprised if we see the EQ branding a little more prominently before that car heads to market in 2019.
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