Mercedes Embarrasses Itself with New Model Y Competitor, “EQA”

It’s funny. For years, TSLA-Qanon has been assuring us that “the competition is coming”, and once it arrives legacy incumbents will wipe the floor with Tesla. Well, the competition is finally starting to arrive –– and it’s embarrassing.

That’s right –– German luxury giant Mercedes-Benz has a new “urban entry model” EV, a compact SUV they’re calling the EQA. This follows Daimler’s historical tradition of naming Mercedes-Benz product lines by throwing refrigerator magnet letters at their cars to see what sticks.

Here’s what Automotive News had to say about this critical new product line, and what it means from Daimler:

Mercedes-Benz hopes to rekindle interest in its slow-selling full-electric vehicles with the EQA, which will compete with battery-powered compact cars such as the Tesla Model Y and VW ID3.

Mercedes describes the EQA as an “urban entry model” targeted toward young, urban customers.

Marketing and sales chief Britta Seeger touted its “sustainability, versatility and fresh look.”

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Mercedes-Benz EVs are selling slow? How weird. Everyone loves Mercedes… they invented the car! If legacy automakers are about to take over the EV market, why can’t Mercedes-Benz manage to sell any?

The EQA can accelerate from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds and has a top speed of 160 kph (99 mph).

The small utility vehicle is being launched as the EQA 250 with a range of 426 km (265 miles) under the WLTP test standard. Output is rated at 140 kilowatts or 188 hp.

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Ooooooooof. So that’s why.

Let’s compare with the Model Y’s specs. The Model Y has a 0 – 60 time of 5.3 seconds, 4.8 seconds, or 3.5 seconds. Compared to those numbers, the EQA is sloooooow. Model Y is almost 2x – 3x faster. Man, somebody better race these two EVs. That would make a pretty funny YouTube video.

Top speed on the Model Y is 135 mph – 155 mph. That’s 35% to 55% faster than the EQA. WLTP range is 275 – 365 miles –– another train-wreck of a comparison for Mercedes. But hey, it’s not all bad: At least you get to visit a car dealership to buy it. Who doesn’t love spending the whole day there? They have free coffee!

The EQA 250 will go on sale in Europe on Feb. 4, with prices starting at 47,541 euros ($56,300) in Germany, excluding government EV incentives.

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Model Y starts at $42,000 in the United States for a car with slightly more range. Only a total moron would buy the EQA instead. And just wait until you see the Model Y coming out of Gigafactory Berlin, with 4680 cells, the structural battery pack, and the all new ColorLab paint shop. Daimler never stood a chance.

Mercedes did not disclose when the EV will go on sale in other markets such as the U.S. “We are concentrating our focus initially on Europe,” a spokesman said.

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Translation: We’re not going to waste time shipping this EV to the U.S. because we can’t produce it profitably and know that Tesla would eat our lunch with a much better product. Rather than embarrassing ourselves in front of the world’s largest capital market, we decided it was better to just give up for now.

The EQA is based on the GLA gasoline-powered crossover.

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If you see a converted gas car platform, you know they blew it. Repurposing the platform of a polluting car will never be as good as an EV designed from the ground up to be a great EV. There’s just no chance. Any automaker that’s interested in surviving this decade needs to start taking EVs seriously. This is not the time to start pinching pennies by reusing what you already have.

“The EQA proves that, by using a tried and tested architecture, it is possible to achieve an excellent compromise between performance, costs and time to market,” Mercedes-Benz Cars operations chief Markus Schaefer said in a statement on Wednesday. […]

Mercedes modified the underpinnings of the GLA to reduce upfront investments and save time compared to building an electric hatchback from scratch. It’s a trade-off that often comes at the expense of battery range and cost efficiency in production.

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Translation: The performance sucks, it’s at least 10,000 euros too expensive, and we can’t produce it profitably, but at least reusing the GLA platform allowed us to bring it to market before filing for bankruptcy.

The EQA joins Mercedes’s other full-electric vehicles — the EQC midsize crossover and the EQV minivan, which had 2020 global sales of 20,000 and 1,700, respectively.

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That’s so weird, are electric mini-vans not cool anymore?

EV sales took off in Europe last year as carmakers scrambled to meet European Union CO2 emissions targets. Sales received a boost from subsidies included in economic stimulus measures rolled out in France and Germany, in particular.

The first generation of Mercedes’s lower-priced EVs likely will drag on profitability until the company develops EV-specific underpinnings and battery prices drop further, said Michael Dean, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

Still, the company’s mass-market EV push will help it meet emissions rules in Europe and China, he said.

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There it is. This isn’t about building the best possible product. It’s not about competing. It’s about selling enough electric vehicles to avoid billions of dollars in fines for exceeding emissions targets under European and Chinese law. Despite the marketing push, this is just the latest in a long line of legacy auto compliance cars.

Well, good luck to Daimler, Mercedes-Benz, and the rest of legacy auto. The competition is still coming, and should arrive any time now. Right?

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