FRANKFURT, Germany — Every automaker has given its development department a GPS unit programmed to lead the way to Electric Avenue. Mercedes-Benz plans to secure some real estate on that block with at least 10 electric models in its EQ sub-brand, all planned for sale by 2022. The first is expected to be a production version of the Generation EQ SUV previewed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. After that we might get the Concept EQA, a compact luxury hatchback with a range of up to 248 miles on the European cycle, revealed today at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Looking like an A-Class that someone spent a long, loving time sanding to a sheen, the two-door EQA sits one inch longer and has a corresponding one-inch longer wheelbase than the four-door A-Class, but is one inch narrower than the production car. Heights are nearly exact between the two compacts, but the EQA sits on 20-inch wheels. To find some bite among the smooth metal surfacing, look to the illuminated arabesques inside jet black panels front and rear and the LED-highlighted side sills. Headlights and taillights employ a "laser-activated medium" placed inside a fiber-optic cable, the angular windings of each evoking an electric motor. The wide-mouthed blue LED signature outlines the entire fascia from the headlights to the lower front lip. The "virtual radiator grille" highlights the EQA's two driving modes with either an LED "wing" motif in Sport, or red verticals mimicking a Panamerica grille when in Sport Plus.
Those two driving modes make another statement about the EQ: It's meant to be racy or even racier; no Comfort or Economy dawdling here. Daimler subsidiary Accumotive provides modular batteries in various outputs, topping out at more than 200 kilowatts. The lithium-ion cells power two electric motors, one at the front axle and another at the back, for permanent all-wheel drive. Maximum torque of more than 368 pound-feet is possible with the beefiest battery, torque distribution apportioned differently depending on whether one chooses Sport or Sport Plus. Mercedes says the EQA will run from 0 to 60 miles per hour in around 5 seconds, putting the hatchback not far behind its EQ SUV sibling. Mercedes hasn't said anything about different battery specs, but the potential 258-mile range (400 kilometers) will undoubtedly need the juiciest pack.
Daimler's deep into the prep for an entire electric ecosystem, so EQ buyers shouldn't need to fret for range. EQA recharging options include induction and wallbox, and plugging into a rapid charging station returns 62 miles of range in under 10 minutes. To save owners the hassle of joining numerous charging services, owners can pay for the use of various stations through the Mercedes me concierge service.