The Mercedes-Benz EQA will be available as a single -variant offering called EQA 250 and it is priced at €47,540.50 (Rs 42.05 lakh approx.). The EQA will hit the European market any time after March 2021. But the real question that arises is when exactly is the EQA expected to make a debut in India. Though India is a nascent electric market, it still is the 4th largest automaker in the world. And with India’s electric mobility space evolving with a tremendous pace, automakers are bound to try their hands in the market especially after the homebred budget EVs performing well in the industry.
TOI Auto takes a closer look at the windows of opportunities the EQA opens for the German automaker in India and whether or Mercedes-Benz should fast track the EQA’s arrival to the Indian market. Though the compact SUV has just been announced, it still looks promising enough and seems to have the ability to do what its elder brother was initially trying to do in India.
EQA- The next stepping-stone for EQ
The Mercedes-Benz EQA doesn’t just expand the EQ line up but is also key to shaping the juvenile EQ sub-brand. Mercedes-Benz has prioritized its ‘Electric First’ and the ‘Ambition 2039’ and begun its electric product offensive. The Mercedes-Benz EQC was the beginning of a new chapter for the German automaker but the EQA, EQB, EQS sedan, EQE and EQS SUV are all going to take the domain forward. EQA becomes a key element of this electric offensive and could increase the demand for the sub-brand in many high-volume markets.
Despite being much smaller than the EQC, the automaker has not compromised with the luxury quotient which is pretty much expected to be a standard across the EQ family. The EQA packs a 66.5 kWh battery and offers a range of 486 km (NEDC). What powers the compact SUV is a 192 PS motor that helps the front-wheel-drive car clock 0-100 kmph in 8.9 seconds. The top speed of the EQA is restricted to 160 kmph.
Making the EQ brand accessible in India
The Mercedes-Benz EQC was nowhere close to affordable and could be classified as an ultra-luxury car in India. The EQC currently enjoys an extremely niche market and the shiny price tag of Rs 99.30 lakh (ex-showroom) is enough to speak volumes about the positioning of the car. The EQA could act as a perfect bridge in the Indian market and could make luxury EV sub-brand much more accessible. Even if the EQA around Rs 50 lakh (ex-showroom), it could result in a paradigm shift in EQ’s image in India.
The luxury market degrowed to almost half the volumes against the year-ago period, however, Mercedes-Benz maintained the pole position. The Germans could reach out to their potential buyers, selling out the first batch of allocated EQC.
The EQC comes to India through CBU-route, which incurs heavy tax duties. Mercedes-Benz India commenced localisation of AMG brand in 2020 with the GLC 43 Coupe. With greater AMG localisation in the pipeline, we are hopeful Mercedes chooses the same path with EQA, making it a viable option.
Preparing the battlefield: EQ vs Tesla and Jaguar
Tesla has announced its Indian arrival and we’ll soon have the Model Y running on the Indian streets. Jaguar too is ready to enter the EV market with the I-Pace. Now Mercedes-Benz had a good window to prep itself but EQC is far beyond the reach of the average Indian consumer and it needs something much more solid to take on Tesla’s and Jaguar’s upcoming offerings. Tesla has been one of the most anticipated EV-makers and its first offering, the Model Y, could be priced somewhere around Rs 65 lakh (ex-showroom). The Jaguar I-Pace, however, will directly compete with the EQC as it is expected to be priced around Rs 1 crore (ex-showroom).
Tesla, despite being the debutant in the Indian EV market, will hold a strong advantage over Jaguar and Mercedes EQ due to a massive difference in their pricing. Until Mercedes-Benz decides to introduce the EQA in the Indian market, Tesla would’ve already gained a good piece of market share in the growing industry. Surprisingly, US-based Triton has recently announced to drive in entry-level luxury sedan under Rs 40 lakh (ex-showroom).
Most convenient charging network among the pack
Mercedes-Benz EQC enjoys the privilege of being the only EV in the segment and the price range and because of that the automaker has a very comprehensive network of charging stations in India, concentrated around metro cities. Mercedes-Benz boasts a charging network of a little over 100 outlets in a total of 48 cities around the country. While key upcoming rivals like Audi, Tesla, Jaguar may take a little more time to establish such a network, the German automaker could clearly use this as a massive advantage after introducing the EQA in the Indian market.
The Mercedes-Benz EQA will definitely face a lot of competition in the Indian market and it will have to take on much affordable luxury offerings with a conventional powertrain. The EQA could prove to be a game-changer in the Indian market and could also become the most affordable luxury EV giving the Tesla Model Y and the rest of the luxury segment a run for its money. And it is quite clear that if Mercedes-Benz aims to expand the EQ brand in India then EQC is not the sole answer, it will have to look for something that actually strikes the right chords with the Indian audience and for starters, EQA, which will almost cost the half of EQC, is not a bad option at all.
If EQC showed brand’s progressive outlook, EQA will definitely be the volume driver.