Few will remember, but the original EQA was a conceptual electric hatchback revealed in September 2017. Mercedes had a change of heart and decided to repurpose the moniker for a crossover introduced in January 2021. It's December 2022 and the three-pointed star appears to be planning another body style change. Our spies have caught a heavily camouflaged prototype of an electric saloon being driven around the company’s R&D centre in Stuttgart.
It's worth noting Mercedes may have already provided an early preview of this car. Back in May, the "The Economics of Desire" strategy update included a shadowy teaser image depicting the side profile of a new entry-level model. The silhouette presented by chief designer Gorden Wagener does seem to match this early prototype, albeit the thick disguise and provisional lights leave a lot to the imagination.
Next-generation Mercedes EQA spy photos
Slotting below the already confirmed electric C-Class Saloon, the new EQA will be an entirely different car than the crossover available today. We're not just talking about the body style change, but also the platform since it will use a dedicated EV architecture rather than an adaptation of underpinnings originally intended for ICE cars. Dubbed Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA), the platform is set to premiere in 2024.
Lessons learned while developing the Vision EQXX concept will be put to good use, so expect a lot of aero trickery to boost efficiency. The MMA architecture was originally announced in 2020 and will underpin compact and midsize cars. Per an announcement made earlier this year, the Rastatt (Germany) and Kecskemét (Hungary) factories have been tasked to produce this new wave of models from 2024. Mercedes will cut down on the number of compact cars from seven to four, with the surviving ones getting a technological boost.
Mercedes entry-level car teaser
Christoph Starzynski, Mercedes-Benz vice president of development for electric drive, told us earlier this year MMA won't be electric-only, but rather electric-first. He went on to say the platform is being developed to also accommodate combustion engines, "and the compromise will rest on the ICE side, not the EV side." As we've seen on the Vision EQXX, next-gen EVs could get active aero and its air-cooled battery's unique anode chemistry for higher density.
The MMA-based cars will utilise a new infotainment system developed in-house to cut down costs. It's called MB.OS and we'll see it first in the EVs before arriving in combustion-engined models around the middle of the decade. It looks as though the new hardware and software Mercedes is working on will premiere with this car, a compact saloon that appears to be lacking an ICE.
Between now and 2024, expect a lot more spy shots.