Mercedes EQT Marco Polo electric RV previews multi micro-camper future
Mercedes-Benz is pushing further into the motorhome market with a new "micro-camper" lineup. Next month, it will reveal the all-electric Concept EQT Marco Polo camper, sliding the Marco Polo nameplate down to its smallest van series and creating the first electric Marco Polo to boot. The concept will be a near-production preview of a factory EQT camper van slated to officially join the Marco Polo family in 2023 alongside a soon-to-be-available micro-Marco camper-in-a-box kit. So Mercedes will jump into the smallest segment of the camper van market with both feet, serving up ultra-efficient micro-camping in multiple multifunctional forms.
Mercedes has been building up toward a small van-based Marco Polo micro-camper for years, showing a simple concept camper based on the first-generation Citan back in 2016. It touched upon the possibility again when it teased upcoming motorhome and van plans in early 2021 and followed up later that year by showing the new Citan as a micro-camper at the 2021 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, just days after the van's reveal. It highlighted a second Citan camper at the Swiss Caravan Salon two months later.
At this year's Caravan Salon, Mercedes brought a T-Class passenger van with an all-new Marco Polo Module scheduled to launch by the end of the year. And soon it will make a full-blown factory camper van out of the all-electric EQT, adding a small van to the renowned Marco Polo family of luxurious camper vans currently based solely on midsize V-Class and Vito vans.
Instead of a single micro-camper, we get an instant T-camper family. Each version will be designed to serve as both an everyday passenger vehicle and a recreational tiny camper, with only a relatively quick, simple and painless process separating one form from the other. The cost-efficient multipurpose vehicles will then serve as a gateway into the Mercedes brand, and in the case of the EQT models, into the EQ family of electrics.
You might have mistaken the photo that tops the article as a first look at the Concept EQT Marco Polo. We did, right up until we zoomed in on the sign to the left, which helps clear up that the van is a standard V-Class Marco Polo waiting for its little brother to come and pitch camp in the campsite next door. Besides leaving out a legit teaser photo, Mercedes hasn't offered any information as to how the Concept EQT Marco Polo will be laid out. So we don't know a whole lot about it just yet.
It is worth noting that all members of the current Marco Polo family have pop-up sleeper roofs, and the Marco Polo pictured in the photo up top has its roof proudly popped. Hopefully, the EQT will follow in that pop-up roof tradition, allowing for plenty of headroom and sleeping space for four+ people. A pop-top would help distinguish the factory camper van from the Marco Polo Module setup, which packs an indoor bed and available outdoor kitchen below the factory hard roof.
It also remains to be seen if Mercedes will attempt to fit any type of kitchen into the EQT camper van, be it a slide-out exterior unit or an interior setup, or if it makes the EQT Marco Polo a simpler sleeper van in line with the Marco Polo Activity and Horizon. A basic sleeper layout might work better within the small van's dimensions, but it's certainly not impossible to squeeze some form of kitchen into a compact van, as the Marco Polo Module and latest Volkswagen Caddy camper both prove.
The Marco Polo Module, which will fit the EQT as well as the ICE T-Class, is a tall trunk-mounted camper box manufactured by Brabus. As shown in Düsseldorf, the box has Brabus' signature all-black look, complete with Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star badging.
The basic Module kit includes a sliding bed frame that packs behind the rear seats during the ride and extends forward over top the folded seats at camp. It creates a 79 x 45-in (200 x 115-cm) bed complete with an elastic-disc spring platform and 3.9-in (10-cm) fold-out mattress.
The Marco Polo Module also comes standard with black-out window blinds, a ventilation screen with insect mesh, and hanging interior organizers. The slide-out kitchen is available optionally and packages together a series of soft-close drawers housing a simple sink plumbed to a 12-L water canister, a 15-L fridge box and a portable single-burner gas stove. The kitchen package also includes drawer space for utensils and cookware and a matching indoor/outdoor table and two-chair set.
Mercedes plans to put the Marco Polo Module up for order before year's end and said in Düsseldorf it would release pricing at order launch. If that doesn't happen before the Concept EQT Marco Polo debut, we suspect it will happen during.
Unlike the T-Class, which went on sale in May, the EQT van is still under development so we do not know the final specs. In fact, Mercedes did not even hint at preliminary powertrain or performance numbers during the Concept EQT's 2021 premiere. All we do know is that the concept had a seven-seat layout within a 195-in-long (495-cm) footprint. Expect Mercedes to shine some light on additional EQT details during the Concept EQT Marco Polo premiere.
Mercedes will hold the Concept EQT Marco Polo debut on Friday, December 2 ahead of a planned production debut in the second half of 2023. We'll publish more details once they're available.
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