With good reason, the Mercedes EQC is widely regarded as the company’s first electric vehicle since it’s available all over the world. Previous efforts such as the B-Class Electric Drive and the SLS AMG Electric Drive were limited-run affairs, not to mention hugely expensive in the case of the latter. A far more affordable global EV is on its way considering the three-pointed star will unveil the EQA later this year.

We’ve spotted a near-production prototype with less camouflage than ever before as it only had a thin disguise at the front and rear. The side profile is almost entirely exposed to remind us all the EQA will essentially be an electric version of the second-generation GLA. Only the front and rear end designs will go through changes to bring them in line with the “EQ” family.

Even though Mercedes has released its fair share of teasers with the electric compact crossover, its technical specifications remain shrouded in mystery. The 2017 EQA concept had dual electric motors for a combined output of 268 bhp and an instant torque of 368 pound-feet (499 Newton-metres), but that was a three-door hatchback. Some three years later and a switch to a more popular body style could come along with other changes to the technical specifications over the showcar and its quoted 249-mile range.

The EQA will serve as the brand’s entry point into the electric car family, outside of the Smart brand co-owned by Mercedes parent company Daimler and its Chinese partner Geely. Confirmed to debut later this year, the EQA will be followed shortly by its boxy counterpart, the EQB. The latter will do away with the GLB’s combustion engine to make room for electric motors and batteries.

Gallery: 2021 Mercedes EQA new spy photos

The EQA, EQB, and EQC won’t remain the only electric SUVs in Mercedes’ portfolio since a zero-emissions G-Class has been confirmed, although it won’t come out anytime soon. These high-riding models will be part of an expanded EVs family set to include electric counterparts of the C-Class, E-Class, and the S-Class, the latter of which will be officially revealed as the EQS in the following months.