Mercedes Concept EQT minivan launches all-electric micro-adventures
Mercedes-Benz plans to bring a new level of elegance to the small van segment, and this week it previewed those plans with the Concept EQT. The all-electric concept seven-seater supports a clean, comfortable commute with dual sliding doors, a panoramic roof and a fully electric EQ powertrain. It keeps that electric ride going even after parking thanks to an integrated electric longboard.
Mercedes makes clear that the near-production EQT is not only a preview of the soon-to-launch electric small van but also the first look at the new T-Class, which will be something of the V-Class of small vans, a premium but still versatile people-mover with seven seats. The T-Class will join the second-generation Citan work van in Mercedes' small van lineup, which will continue to be built in partnership with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
At a hair under 495 cm (195 in), the EQT is well longer than the current-generation Citan, which tops out at 471 cm (185 in) in extra-long guise. The EQT has the length of a midsize van, longer even than the 490-cm (193-in) standard-wheelbase Volkswagen Multivan 6.1, though that's about to change with the longer T7 Multivan. Mercedes designers take advantage of the added length in giving the EQT a longer hood and more swept windshield to escape the tiny, boxy work van look and establish the EQT as a premium MPV.
The ICE-powered T-Class models will undoubtedly wear a more conventional front grille, but the Concept EQT shares its looks with the greater EQ family, wearing the large black-panel grille area filled in with a three-pointed star pattern. The LED headlamps are connected by a swooping strip that serves as a strong border for the grille area. The tail lamps flip the signature around with a vertical orientation and upper connecting strip.
We think even the most macho of dads would feel comfortable dropping his daughters off at ballet from behind the wheel of this particular MPV, especially if painted in the same high-gloss black that looks pulled straight from a car service fleet. The new concept succeeds in bringing a more premium look to Mercedes' small van family.
Having a little concept fun with electric mobility, Mercedes equips the EQT with an electric longboard stored neatly in a purpose-built rear compartment that closes flush with the load floor. The sleek board is made from aluminum and features a star pattern. Mercedes doesn't provide any hardware or performance details for the board, but that's hardly a surprise since the same is true for the Concept EQT itself.
The EQT's seven-seat interior includes a three-seat second-row bench designed to accommodate three child seats. The two removable third-row seats are easily accessed via the left- and right-side sliding doors. A bottle-shaped panoramic roof with laser-etched star pattern bathes the interior in light.
Mercedes brings its MBUX infotainment system to the compact van segment, offering control via the freestanding central touchscreen, steering wheel touch buttons and "Hey Mercedes" voice assistant. The digital instrument cluster ties together with the infotainment screen and centralized controls by means of white Nappa leather that contrasts with the gray that dominates the remainder of the dashboard.
"The Concept EQT gives an outlook on how space and maximum variability can also be combined with stylish comfort in the small van segment. Our future T-Class is a true multi-talent, and with it we will attract new customer groups and grow sustainably," says Mercedes-Benz Vans chief Marcus Breitschwerdt.
Mercedes uses the Concept EQT as the official preview vessel, but the ICE-powered T-Class models will be the first to launch in 2022, following the premiere of the new-generation Citan commercial van, which will also have an all-electric option. The EQT will follow later down the line.
Mercedes continues to stress the T-Class's capability for sports and leisure activities and previously hinted at the possibility of new Citan-based camper products.