We’ll probably all be driving electric cars someday — but probably not cars like this.
The new EQS cars from Mercedes-Benz are battery-powered versions of the company’s elite S-Class sedan, and are the German automaker’s first all-electric models to be sold in the US. The top-end version, the EQS 580, comes with plenty of everything, including dual electric motors, four-wheel steering, a massive touchscreen dashboard, and a six-figure price tag of just under $120,000. So, unless the minimum wage is elevated to $100 an hour, you won’t see too many EQS models on the road.
Mercedes recently showed off its latest electric rides — the EQS 580 and the less-costly EQS 450+ — at The Shops at Chestnut Hill in Newton, as part of a nationwide test-drive tour. There were plenty of curious car shoppers on hand to take a 20-minute spin, but the price tag will winnow out more than a few prospective buyers.
Still, “it’s a very impressive vehicle,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of data and analytics at J.D. Power, the automotive research company. “The technology is very high and the battery range is outstanding” — up to 350 miles on a full charge. Besides, the EQS 450+ is actually $7,000 cheaper than Mercedes’s gasoline-powered counterpart. And if you believe in buying American, Mercedes plans to start building the EQS at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant next year.
Jominy noted that cars priced at more than $100,000 comprise just 1 percent of the US market. And high upfront cost is perhaps the biggest remaining barrier to widespread adoption of electric cars.
One other thing: Americans used to love sedans, but today, not so much. It’s no accident that the best-selling electric car these days is Tesla’s Model Y, a midsized SUV. Mercedes’s battery-powered equivalent, the EQC, was supposed to have come to the US earlier this year, but that’s been put on hold. But with its relatively modest starting price of about $69,000, the EQC could potentially make a much bigger impression than its luxurious sibling.