• Can an Electric Mercedes G-Class Live Up to its 40+ Year Legacy?

We’re going to find out, since we now have confirmation and work has begun on an Electric G-Class

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The Mercedes G-Class is the epitome of iconic vehicles – it’s big, boxy, luxurious, and capable of going just about anywhere. Sales of the G-Class, especially with the launch of the newest generation, has skyrocketed, and one is forced to wonder if it’s because people love it for its capability and iconic design, or is it because it states true to what old-school SUVs were all about – driving excessive amounts of fuel and looking boxy while it does it. Either way, we’re about to find out the answer to that question. Following confirmation that the G-Class would go electric a while back, we’ve now learned that work has officially begun an electric G-Class.

Mercedes Could Launch the Electric G-Class in the “Next Few Years.”

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Since Mercedes was forced to skip the Geneva Motor Show like everyone else, the usual round of interviews have taken place via phone instead. In a very interesting phone call between CarAdvice and Mercedes CEO, Ola Källenius. It was finally disclosed that Mercedes engineers have officially begun working on the G-Class EV. It’s currently in the early design stage, though, with sketches just now taking place, so don’t expect to see it next week, but we could see it in the “next few years.”

In the interview with Car Advice, Ola Källenius expressed just how iconic the G-Class really is:

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”The G-Wagen transcends all segments and almost the logic of the car industry, it’s like it is its own company you could say. People love this car, we had record-breaking sales of the new G last year as we rolled out the full production of the completely updated G.”

But, that’s something we all already know, and you can’t deny how iconic it is, even if you don’t like it. With confirmation of a zero-emissions G-Class stuck in the back of everyone’s mind, we’ve all be wondering when it will happen. Mr. Källenius didn’t only confirm that work is underway, but that we’ll see what an electric G-Class is capable of soon.

”Yes, the G is going to go electric, we have kicked off the concept work for this, so in a few years you’ll be able to go electric with the G as well.”

Will the Electric G-Class Offer the Same Performance As the Gas-Powered Model?

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The good thing about the G-Class is that it doesn’t have to live up to the standards a lot of EVs in the luxury segment do. It doesn’t need to be light, and it doesn’t need to be able to straighten corners at excessive speeds. It needs to be quick, and it needs to be capable of going off-road. 4WD is a requirement, no doubt, but what kind of performance will an EV -Class really offer? Thanks to more relaxed weight requirements and the size and overall design of the G-Class, Mercedes should be able to put instill it with a rather large battery and powerful electric motors.

Mercedes G-Class EV Performance

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Here in the United States, the current G-Class is offered in two different flavors. The entry-level (and only non-AMG model) is powered by an impressive, 4.0-liter, turbocharged V-8 that’s good for 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Despite a curb weight that approaches 3 ton (5,554 pounds, to be exact), the G-Class is pretty light on its feet. It can hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and tops out at an electronically limited 155 mph. It can also tow 7,000 pounds. Move up to the AMG G63, and that 4.0-liter is hand-built and massaged to deliver 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Even closer to 3 ton (5,845 pounds,) the G63 can sprint to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Unfortunately, it tops out at 149 mph, but this thing isn’t about straight-line performance anyway. With the specs in mind, this is where Mercedes has to be careful because an electric model needs to meet or exceed these long-established expectations.

I’d expect the entry-level model to deliver at least 430 horsepower, while torque (and maybe even towing capability) should be drastically improved. 800 pound-feet of near-instantaneous torque isn’t out of the question. AMG will undoubtedly have its way with the G-Class at some point, but with limited experience in the EV segment, it probably won’t come right away. If it does, you can expect to see closer to 600 horsepower and maybe even more than 1,000 pound-feet of torque. 0-60 mph times for both models will drastically improve. The entry-level model (currently the G550) would be able to best the ICE-powered AMG model to 60 mph in probably 3.5 seconds with the future AMG model capable of a two-second sprint.

The improved sprints and towing capacity are little more than side effects of electric motors – going fast is just in their nature. Tesla has proven that time and time again, but what about range?

Will the Mercedes G-Class EV Have Good Electric Range?

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If Mercedes is going to convince the world to buy the G-Class as an electric model, then it really needs to deliver a decent range. As I mentioned earlier, Mercedes has some freedom when it comes to battery size, but the beauty of the G-Class is its go-anywhere attitude (and upscale luxury, of course.) With that said, a real-world range of fewer than 350 miles could prove to be fatal. If you want to go trekking through the wild in the current G-Class, you can carry spare gas with you or have a buddy bring you some. It’s not that easy with electric cars, so an electric G-Class has to combat this type of thing from the onset. I wouldn’t expect more than 350 miles at first, but as battery technology improves, Mercedes may be able to work some magic. The only problem is that the G-Class already borders on the three-ton weight mark, and going electric could make it even heavier. That’s another thing that could drastically affect the availability of electric range.

At this point, we’re still a few years out, and anything can happen, so we’ll just have to wait and see how things go. Can an electric G-Class continue the legacy that will be bestowed upon it? I believe so, but only if Mercedes stays on its toes and doesn’t drop the ball.

Source: Car Advice

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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