Mercedes-Benz EQB Debuts in Shanghai, But We’ll Have to Wait For It04/20/2021
You might have seen the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class in traffic, but you haven’t seen its electric twin. The Stuttgart-based automaker took the wraps off the EQB at the Shanghai Motor Show this week, just days after revealing the EQS starship in production form. The EQB is one of several electric Mercedes-Benz SUVs going on sale in the next couple of years, and viewed from the side it looks pretty much like its gas-engined sibling.
Due to go on sale in Europe and China later this year, the EQB will make its way stateside in 2022, targeting a group of competitors that seems to expand with each passing season.
Just like the recently-revealed EQA, the EQB trades the grille of its gas-engined sibling for a nose cone with a glass finish, as well as resculpted spectacles. You’ll certainly recognize it as the electric version from the front, even if in profile it looks almost identical to the GLB-Class. There are a few more subtle differences on the outside that communicate its electrical underpinnings, but the goal was to create an easy way for buyers to choose drivetrains once they like a particular model’s versatility and comfort. This goes for the interior as well, which tracks close to the GLB-Class, with a few EV-related details.
When it comes to the drivetrain, the EQB will be offered with all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive, at least in Europe. When it goes on sale there later this year the electric SUV will draw juice from a 66.5-kWh battery, giving it 268 hp in the 4Matic version and a range of about 260 miles in the WLTP cycle.
This WLTP range estimate definitely does not sound like it would translate to an impressive EPA figure at first glance, which is why yet another version of the EQB with a larger battery is expected to appear at some point, likely before the model is due to go on sale in the U.S. Mercedes hasn’t shared too many details about powertrain options at this point, especially market-specific ones, but after all this is merely the vehicle’s Chinese-market launch so the pertinent specs will materialize in the due time. The EQB’s appearance in Shanghai, as far as North America is concerned, is mostly just a first look at this model.
Despite the EQB’s relatively modest dimensions, this is still meant to be a three-row vehicle, though Mercedes cautions that the third row could be a tight fit. The GLB-Class hasn’t been the most convincing seven-seater in its short time on the market here, so with a battery under the floor the EQB might not be the most roomy three-row electric SUV either, even though it is going to be in a much smaller pool of competitors as well when it lands stateside in 2022. Still, with three-row capability being practically mandatory these days in just about everything, we can understand why Mercedes had to attempt this.
If you’re getting deja vu just from the news of an upcoming launch of an electric Mercedes here in the states, you’re probably thinking about the EQC. That particular model was due to appear here in early 2020, but was then delayed a year, and was then cancelled for the U.S. altogether, with Mercedes saying that it needed it more for European sales at the time.
Whatever the real case might have been with the EQC, the EQB will now play the role of the first midsize electric SUV offering from the automaker to go on sale here, setting its sights on the larger Audi e-tron and the Tesla Model X.
The biggest question remaining, aside from what the longer-range battery could offer range-wise when it gets here, is the price. The gas-engined GLB-Class starts just around the $40,000 mark, so it’s perhaps prudent to budget at least $5,000 more for the electric version, and also save some cash for options. This segment is about to balloon in size, so the competition should be pretty fierce by the time the EQB arrives stateside.
What kind of range will the EQB need to offer here to be competitive? Let us know in the comments below.
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