by Jay Traugott
Those who thought Mercedes would call it a day with electric vehicles following the launch of EQC SUV were wrong. The all-new 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA is the German luxury automaker's second all-electric model that targets buyers considering the Tesla Model Y. For now, the EQA is an overseas model only but Mercedes hasn't ruled out bringing it to North America. It's likely only a matter of time because the EQA has a lot going for it, from its slick exterior and interior styling, through connectivity and driver-assist systems, to its advanced battery-electric powertrain.
The EQ range of electric vehicles will soon expand even further and the EQA is considered to be the entry-level model. But don't let that fool you; the EQA is a seriously luxury compact crossover in every way. As such, it won't come cheap.
|EQA 250 Electric Art||
Single-speed spur gear set
The EQA's general size and shape are nearly identical to that of the combustion-engined GLA. How come? Because Mercedes used the GLA's body as a design starting point but made some styling changes to give it a more futuristic look. There's a continuous light strip front and rear, while a horizontal fiber-optic strip links the daytime running lights located within the LED headlight structures. Unlike the GLA, the EQA boasts a closed grille because it lacks a conventional radiator. Also, its headlights sport a slimmer look. At the back, the LED taillights merge into a tapered light strip and the license plate has been moved to the lower bumper.
A set of 18-inch light-alloy wheels are standard (up to 20-inches are optional) in bi- or tri-color designs. Buyers can even select from rose gold-colored or blue trim. In general, the exterior design works very well because it's already been proven successful with the GLA. Its athletic appearance should also appeal to younger buyers.
The GLA's interior design carries over to the EQA too but there are some differences highlighting its battery-electric status. The MBUX infotainment system contains some EQ-specific touches such as the media display's ability to provide drivers with vital information relating to charging options, electrical consumption, and energy flow. Instead of the rev counter in the right-hand display, there's now a wattmeter. The left-hand instrument can let drivers know whether their desired destination can be reached without having to stop for charging, while the display colors change according to the driving situation. Mercedes' familiar 64-color configurable ambient lighting system is standard with the display boasting four unique themes depending on the driver's mood or to match the rest of the interior colors.
There are two standard 7-inch displays or optional 12.25-inch units. There's available open-pore walnut or black wood trim or aluminum with light longitudinal lighting. Edition 1 models come with perforated leather seats, but those who opt for the Electric Art trim get fabric seats made from recycled PET bottles. There's also an available Night Package and an AMG Line trim, though there isn't a pure AMG performance model (yet).
The EQA 250, the first of the EQA models to debut, comes powered by a single-motor electric powertrain totaling 188 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels only. Mercedes claims 0-62 mph in 8.9 seconds and top speed is a little under 100 mph. The 66.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack enables a 302-mile range on the NEDC testing cycle. A more powerful dual-motor 268 hp variant with AWD and a 310+ range is on the agenda. Charging from 10 to 100 percent requires five hours and 45 minutes using a Wallbox. A rapid charger makes life easier with an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes.
The EQA's thermal management system utilizes a heat pump that reuses heat waste from the electric drive system, thus improving efficiency and range.
Safety is also a priority for the brand, and the EQA comes standard with Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Brake Assist. The optional Driving Assistance Package tacks on several more systems including Active Distance, Active Steer, Blind Spot Assist, Evasive Steering, and Emergency lane function.
Because the 2021 Mercedes-Benz EQA is not yet coming to the US, only overseas pricing has been announced. In Germany, it will carry a starting price of €47,540, or around the same price as the long-range all-wheel drive Tesla Model Y. However, the Tesla won't be the EQA's sole rival for much longer. The Audi Q4 e-tron is expected to debut later this year along with the BMW iX1. Of the three German EVs, only the Audi has been confirmed for the US market so far.
Although it's not classified as a luxury vehicle, the new-for-2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E should also be considered a rival once it goes on sale later this year overseas. There's no doubt the 2021 EQA will find plenty of buyers in EV-loving Europe, and we hope Mercedes will decide to let America join the fun.