Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz is stepping up its play in the electric vehicle (EV) space in the country. On Friday, the company launched its latest EV offering the EQE SUV.
Mercedes was among the first to launch a luxury EV in the country when it introduced the EQC back in 2021. That was followed by the introduction of the EQS and EQB. The EQC is no longer available for bookings though.
The latest EQE SUV is part of Mercedes' plans to introduce four new electric vehicles by 2025. Electric Vehicles already account for around 5 per cent of its total volumes in the country, according to Santosh Iyer, MD and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India.
The company introduced the EQB, a seven-seater SUV, in December last year, which got a lot of traction and gave it confidence that customers are ready for EVs, he said.
"Today, 4-5 per cent of our volumes are EVs compared to when you see 1.0-1.5 per cent in the mass market segment. It clearly shows that luxury customers are much faster when it comes to adopting EVs," Iyer noted.
The EQE 500 4MATIC launched on Friday is priced at an introductory price of Rs 1.39 crore ex-showroom. The price includes a wall box charger and installation. It will be imported into India as a CBU (completely built unit).
The SUV comes with a 90.56 kWh battery and has a claimed range of up to 550 km as per WLTP (worldwide harmonized light vehicles test procedure).
The highlight of this SUV is a 56-inch hyperscreen inside. It also gets a Burnester 3D surround sound system with 15 speakers, level 2 of ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) and nine airbags among multiple other features.
Mercedes is offering a 10-year battery warranty. The company already has installed 140 chargers and Mercedes customers will also get access to additional 150 franchisee chargers through an app.
The company says by the fourth quarter of 2023, it will allow customers of even other brands to charge their EVs at select Mercedes franchises across the country on a chargeable basis. The move Iyer said was to support the industry's transition to EVs.
Mercedes is not the only one boosting its EV portfolio. German rival Audi last month launched the Q8 e-tron SUV and Sportback in the country at prices starting at Rs 1.14 crore.
Sweden's Volvo also launched its second all-electric vehicle in India, the C40 Recharge, earlier this month.
BMW also sells three electric vehicles in India - the i7 Sedan, the iX SUV and the i4 Gran Coupe. It is reportedly planning to launch the iX1 EV later this year. BMW-owned MINI also sells the electric Mini Cooper SE.
Meanwhile, Mercedes is also revamping its retail strategy with plans to open more small boutique outlets. Iyer says it has already done this in 13 outlets across geographies.