Mercedes' star ready to shine on EV uptake in SA market - what you should know

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• Mercedes-Benz will soon launch its family of electric vehicles in South Africa.

• To ease the transition from petrol to electric vehicles, Mercedes-EQ will add a complimentary wall box charger to each purchase.

• A total of five EV ranges will launch throughout 2022.

For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24


South Africans are not too keen on transitioning from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EVs). That much is evident just by the sheer resistance we see on internet forums, comments and opinions on articles, and the general disinterest for this undeniable future mobility option.

Not everyone feels like this, though, and are there those who warmed up to the future. Their take on it is simple: this is the direction the global automotive landscape is moving in, and we need to either keep up or stay behind. For purists and hardened petrol heads who enjoy the rumblings of a high-performance engine, information like this is blasphemous, but it's an unavoidable life we need to adopt at some point.

And whilst on the topic of adoption, this is exactly what Mercedes-Benz South Africa is doing. The German automotive giant will launch its fleet of electric vehicles in South Africa over 2022, along with several initiatives to help South Africans transition into the future. To announce the news, the team invited media representatives from respectively Gauteng and Cape Town to a venue in their area. Here, the German brand shared the news on how they will be going about expanding their portfolio to include EVs and how they see South Africa's mobility future playing out.

Welcome to the electric world of Mercedes-Benz. Welcome to Mercedes-EQ.

Mercedes-Benz EQA
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQA

Hitting the ground running

Addressing the concerns South Africans (might) have regarding EVs is one of Mercedes-Benz's big 'projects'. According to the brand's local arm, the uptake of EVs had already begun, and our country can't be left behind as the world moves forward. Despite our issues with Eskom and loadshedding that's become part of everyday life, these should not determine our approach to EVs.

Realising the very valid concerns riding on the minds of our people, Mercedes-EQ took the brave decision to take future owners by the hand. On the one hand, the brand partnered with GridCars to install several public charging stations across the country. These will include upgradeable 100kW DC chargers, as well as 22kW AC chargers, at public points.

Mercedes-EQ realises that home charging may be a problem for some customers, and has decided to add a complimentary wall box charger to every EV purchase. These 7.4kW boxes will be installed at the most convenient location for the owner. The wall box may not charge an EV at the same rate as an AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) charger, but it is more efficient than using the wall socket in your home or garage.

READ: All charged up - Audi ready to install the first 150kW ultra-fast EV charger in SA

mercedes-benz,eq
Mercedes-EQ

Though we know that a DC station charges an EV at a far quicker rate than an AC one, it is recommended that private customers who are by means should instead install an AC station at their homes. DC chargers are more expensive and better suited to public spaces where turn-around times need to be quick.

Affluent customers looking to gain more from their EV experience can also contact their nearest EQ dealer and ask for solar system installation. Your EV can be charged using off-the-grid power by drawing energy from the sun.

The newly appointed president of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Mark Raine, said: "South Africa is not without its challenges in terms of the EV landscape. However, with our customer-centric growth strategy curated towards the local market, potential customers have already shown a significant interest in our EQ range. This interest is aided by the growth in the public charging grid including national coverage on main routes, and the number of potential customers with existing renewable energy solutions (or considering these in the near future)."

mark raine,mercedes-benz,eq
The newly appointed president of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Mark Raine.

The EQ range

Mercedes-EQ is ready for its onslaught on the South African market in 2022 and will gradually feed the local car parc with its range of EVs. According to the team, this year's order for its EV models has been placed and will each range arrive in due time. The Mercedes-EQ team says they have a clear plan to introduce and feed the market with the planned models and believe that it is the right way of doing things.

A pertinent question posed to the EQ team was on the future of Mercedes-Benz's vehicle production in South Africa. The East London plant has been producing the C-Class for years, including the current all-new model. With Mercedes-Benz announcing plans to phase out ICE gradually, the Eastern Cape-based plant will have to bid to produce Mercedes' next-generation of vehicles, be it the C-Class or an EV.

READ: OPINION | ICE is dead, but the rise of EVs will open a new world of possibilities

However, Mercedes-Benz South Africa did confirm that the East London plant is an essential cog in the German automaker's production system - consistently delivering on the high-quality output requirements.

Raine shares his thoughts on the future: "Luxury has always been part of the soul of Mercedes-Benz. Going forward, the brand will see a renewed focus on luxury, making it an integral part of all products, customer interactions and digital technologies. We will reshape our product portfolio, brand communications and our sales network to deliver a true luxury experience that will be electric, digital, driven, and sustainable."

Tentative EQ launches in 2022

• EQA 250: May

• EQB 350 4M: July/August

• EQS 450+: July/August

• EQS 53: September

• EQE 43: October

Mercedes-Benz EQC
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQC
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