CarAdvice spoke to Daimler CEO Olla Källenius about electrification of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the G-Class taking the same outsized place in the conversation that it has in the Mercedes lineup. The automaker honcho told the outlet, "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." That makes the Gelandewagen Daimler's equivalent of the Cadillac Escalade, the primary difference being that the rest of the Mercedes lineup is just as hale as its marquee truck. Last November, the CEO announced during a speech made at the Automobilwoche Kongress, "there will be a zero-emission EV version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class." During the CarAdvice call, he updated his pronouncement by saying, "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."
There's undoubtedly some elasticity in the phrase, "in a few years." However, we'd viewed the November declaration as one of those ever-receding targets, such as when an automaker exec says "One day." Even if Källenius means five years when he says "few," knowing that engineers are engaged in concept work is already more than we'd expected.
As we mentioned in November, a battery-electric G won't be kind to the scales. When Austrian EV technology firm Kreisel converted a G 350d for Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2017, the resulting e-G weighed 6,834 pounds. The 80-kWh battery, good for 186 miles of range on the European cycle, weighed 1,124 pounds. Although an in-house effort at Mercedes should lower that number considerably, the truck will retain considerable heft. Not that it will matter to G-Class buyers; thanks to a 60% sales increase in 2019, Mercedes sold almost as many G-wagens worldwide last year as Porsche did 911s. We wonder how an electric G will be positioned, though — more of a battery-powered AMG version with a heavy city and/or performance focus, or as all the off-roader G one could want but without the emissions.
Before the electric G arrives, we'll get the EQA small hatchback, EQC crossover and EQS sedan, while the SUVs increase their electrification with more plug-in hybrids and 48-volt systems. "We are going CO2 neutral," the CEO said. "There are no ifs or buts, and now we’re just talking about how fast we can get there, the technologies, the economical impact of this."