Mercedes Doubles Down That The New G-Class Is A Status Symbol With New Electric Version

(Gas model shown.)
(Gas model shown.)

Mercedes-Benz has spent a lot of time convincing all of us that the newest generation of the G-Class would continue its legacy as an off-roader. That’s been mostly true, as it has walloped Jeep Wranglers and the sort. But that’s not why it sells.

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The G-Class sells because it looks big, mean and expensive. Its legacy began as a military vehicle, and that projection of strength and power is what makes rich people want to pay so much money to buy it. It’s a status symbol.

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And now Mercedes is engineering an all-electric version of the new G-Class, which is both a good idea and simultaneously also completely counter to the vehicle it revealed back in January of 2018.

Here’s the confirmation of the EV, via Roadshow:

That’s a Daimler spokesperson quoting the company CEO, so an electric G-Class is happening sometime in the near future. Of course, there was the hydrogen-powered clean energy G-Force concept from 2012, but that’s not what this will be. We’re talking charged batteries and electric motors.

But it will almost be impossible for a battery-electric G-Class to meet the rugged off-roading standard of the V8-powered G-Class of today. Obviously a lot of the hardware is going to need to be different, and it may be difficult to package the same suspension and strengthening parts from the current G-Class if you’re trying to wedge in a giant battery between it all.

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Illustration for article titled Mercedes Doubles Down That The New G-Class Is A Status Symbol With New Electric Version
Illustration for article titled Mercedes Doubles Down That The New G-Class Is A Status Symbol With New Electric Version
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The Mercedes-Benz EQC—the company’s first series production electric crossover—is based on the GLC combustion crossover, and they only managed to fit in 74 kWh of battery good for a measly 200 miles in that one. The G-Class wheelbase and overall length is nearly identical to the EQC, so that’s not a great start.

But the second, more likely major issue for off-roading an EV G-Class is the overall range. Currently, the V8 G-Class has a fuel tank capacity of just over 26 gallons, and a combined estimated mileage rating of 15 MPG. Obviously a G-Class isn’t going to get a full 400 miles out of a tank if it’s spending it all off-roading but it’s still a lot of range.

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But no current electric cars, even the ones engineered specifically for maximizing range, can achieve 400 miles of range. The Long-Range Tesla Model S has an EPA-estimated range of 373 miles. It’s extremely unlikely an EV G-Class could get anywhere close to that figure with today’s technology due to Tesla’s impressive energy density and the sheer amount of real estate for batteries on the Model S platform.

Of course, I wait to be surprised. But what is more likely to happen is a ballpark estimate of around 200 miles for the electrified G-Class.

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If that’s the case, it’s the perfect vehicle for a vast majority of those who currently buy the G-Class—city-dwellers with a lot of expendable income who don’t go further than the city limit without hiring a helicopter. And this is Mercedes recognizing that, and embracing it. And so too shall we all.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

carsoffortlangley
CarsofFortLangley - Oppo Forever

Sorry if this sounds dumb, but I wonder if an electric vehicle would be hypothetically better at water crossings?

Obviously, if it all goes wrong, you’re fucked. But if the system is fully sealed, technically the vehicle no longer needs to be above water at all as it requires no air right to run right?