After Tesla launched the first luxury electric car with the Model S, it relatively quickly took over the mantle as the best-selling luxury sedan.
That didn’t sit well with Mercedes-Benz or Audi, the prior kings of the $80,000-plus luxury sedan world.
Both companies have now announced an onslaught of plug-in models. So far, Mercedes-Benz has stuck mostly to plug-in hybrids, including the 12-mile plug-in hybrid S560e, sold in California. (It also sold the barely remembered B-Class Electric Drive, and sells electric cars from Smart.)
Now the granddaddy of luxury automakers has announced its own fully electric luxury sedan, the EQ S, as reported by British car magazine Autocar.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche reportedly revealed the EQ S at a presentation of Mercedes’ tiny A-Class in Croatia, according to Bloomberg.
The company says the EQ S will be a parallel model, similar in size and luxury to the S Class, but will not be based on the same architecture.
With a low, flat battery pack under the floor electric drivetrains are ill-suited to today’s sedan chassis, the company said. Instead, the EQ S will have a long wheelbase and short overhangs and a somewhat elevated body to accommodate the battery pack.
It is expected to cost around $90,000 to start, roughly in line with the Model S. As always with luxury automakers, buyers will be able to option the cars up to well beyond that.
Mercedes was less-than-specific on the time frame, but said the car could be expected as early as 2020, but in any case by 2022. We’d expect the U.S. to be on the latter end of that time frame.
Worldwide, the EQ S is part of a 10-model push under Mercedes’s new EQ electric brand. The lineup is expected to include a mid-sized SUV, the EQ C, as well as a smaller, more affordable sedan—perhaps to compete with the Tesla Model 3—and an electric version of the A-Class to be sold outside the U.S.
Other luxury automakers, including Jaguar and Audi are also rumored to be developing electric sedans, although both companies have announced battery-powered SUVs as their first all-electric models. And Porsche is developing the Mission E sedan, similar in concept to its Panamera.
Whether these cars will garner the following that the Model S has developed is anyone’s guess. What is clear is that buyers will soon have more choices when it comes to electric luxury cars.