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South Africa's foremost electric mobility platform

  • Writer's pictureIan McLaren

Mercedes-Benz EQA arrives in South Africa

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Based on the GLA, the new model represents the entry-point into this brand’s local all-electric portfolio.

Mercedes-Benz South Africa used the occasion of the 2022 Festival of Motoring to formally introduce its portfolio of all-electric “EQ” models to market. A range that includes the EQB, EQC and flagship EQS, as its name suggests, the new EQA model represents the entry-point into the brand’s future-focused battery-electric plans.

Built on the same platform (and production line) as the current A-Class and raised-ride height GLA, the all-electric derivative features a 66.5 kWh battery mounted below the passenger compartment. At launch, the car is offered exclusively in EQA 250 guise meaning a single 140 kW electric motor positioned at the front wheels. In other markets, the EQA is sold with the option of second motor sited on the rear axle – making it all-wheel drive – as well as an EQA+ derivative that features a larger battery and subsequently more than 100 km of added range compared with the EQA 250. As it stands, Mercedes-Benz claims an operating range of up to 429 km in latter version.

“The EQA is a dynamic sports compact SUV with an exciting, progressive electro-aesthetic,” says Mark Raine, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa. “The EQA is the perfect companion for our clientele who have an active, urban lifestyle. It is the perfect entry option into the luxury electric segment.”

Able to accept a public DC charge of up to 100 kW, most South African owners will make use of a home wall box solution to complete overnight “top-up” charges. Included in the asking price of all EQ models in South Africa is an AC wall box charger that can be installed at the address of the owner’s choice.

As per the extended portfolio of EQ-badged products, the EQA features a solid black panel radiator grille with large central star. Looking suitably sleek, these cars are also distinguishable via a pair of unbroken LED light strips that link the head- and tail lamps, respectively. While an optional AMG Line adds a greater sense of presence and larger size alloy wheels, as standard the EQA is sold with a Progressive Package that includes 18-inch wheels, LED headlamps, an electric tailgate and ambient lighting.

With a cabin than broadly mimics that of the existing GLA package, highlights of the battery-electric derivative's interior include the brand’s impressive MBUX infotainment system incorporated into twin 10-inch display screen, including the vehicle’s instrumentation.

It's interesting to note that this is another new all-electric model available in SA that shares its platform with combustion engine cousins, rather than being a from-the-ground-up project. In the current EQ range, only the flagship EQS is built on bespoke battery-electric architecture.

Priced from R1 169 500, the new Mercedes-Benz EQA arrives in South Africa to face relatively stiff competition in the form of the already available Volvo XC40 P6 Recharge and soon-to-be-launched BMW iX1. While the single-motor (front-wheel drive) XC40 P6 has a particularly potent twin-motor P8 sibling available at R1 260 000, it’s the entry-level car selling for R1 075 000 that’s likely to offer the Mercedes the biggest headache when comparing like-for-like specification – including performance and operating range. The market will also be patiently waiting for official pricing confirmation on the BMW iX1. The all-wheel drive xDrive30 derivative that’s confirmed for introduction here in the coming months features a 64.7 kWh battery, with its maker claiming an operating range of up to 438 km. Considering that its larger iX3 M Sport sibling is already available for R1 290 000, chances are the iX1 will be priced closer to the entry-level Volvo than the EQA.

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