FRANKFURT — Mercedes-Benz will make an electric vehicle in every segment for its EQ subbrand and all will be sold in the U.S.
Each EQ entry will follow the design language that Mercedes has set out in its EQ concept vehicles, said Wilko Stark, vice president of strategy for Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars. The EQ entries — 10 of them by the end of 2022 — will have body styling distinct from the existing Mercedes entries in their segments.
"When you have 10, the portfolio is pretty much covered," said Stark, who also is head of Daimler's CASE strategy, which covers the automaker's approach to connectivity, autonomous driving, shared use and electric drive systems.
At the Frankfurt auto show, Mercedes unveiled the EQA, an EV concept for the compact car segment. The company's first EQ production vehicle, the EQC compact crossover, will launch in 2019.
Daimler has said it expects between 15 and 25 percent of its global sales to be EVs in 2025. It's difficult to predict where demand will fall in that band, globally and in the U.S., Stark said, because it highly depends on regulation, infrastructure and other factors.
"There's a lot of things we cannot directly influence," Stark said. "I can't give you any predictions. Nobody knows today. We are waiting [for] when the market is ready. And we are flexible. If there's a strong demand, we are going to deliver, as simple as that."
The 10 EVs are part of 50 electrified vehicles planned by 2022. Those 50 also include plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles and vehicles with 48-volt electrical systems.
Mercedes is launching its 48-volt M256 inline six-cylinder engine this year in the re-engineered S-class sedan in some markets outside the U.S. But for the U.S., the S-class sedan is getting a new V-6 engine without a 48-volt system.
The 48-volt technology is expected to debut in the U.S. in the redesigned CLS in 2018. It will follow in the E class and S class. It also will be in the next generation of the automaker's compact cars coming in a year or two, Stark said.
"In the long run, the 48-voltage system is coming anyway in each lineup," he said. "It will be standard." Stark expects proliferation across the Mercedes lineup to be complete by 2025.