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The Mercedes-Benz G 580 EQ Technology Electric SUV

Mercedes-Benz G 580
  • Mercedes introduces the G 580, an all-electric version of its iconic G-Class SUV, featuring impressive off-road capabilities and unique electric drivetrain technology.
  • Despite market challenges and varying EV adoption rates globally, Mercedes remains committed to its electrification plans, leveraging incentives and flexible strategies to navigate uncertain terrain.

Mercedes’ iconic off-road powerhouse that first debuted back in 1979 and since become an unwavering status symbol – the G-Class — has taken another significant step into electrification with its launch as an electric version in 2015. A milestone event in itself, its introduction marks more than simply another historic step; rather, this test serves as the biggest indication yet of whether or not its plans for electrification can actually meet reality.

Mercedes’ approach to electrifying its iconic SUV indicates it understands what’s at stake when electrifying it, with their first electric version of the G-Class surpassing internal combustion versions in terms of power and off-road capability – something other automakers cannot claim to achieve. What was unexpected, though, was their name choice for such an unexpected car.

Meet the Mercedes-Benz G 580 equipped with EQ Technology: it doesn’t bear its namesake designation! Instead, this all-electric Mercedes is taking an unconventional route toward its alphabetic taxonomy; not following in the footsteps of predecessor models such as EQS, EQE or EQB models that came before. Beginning with G-Class models such as this G-580 all new battery electric Mercedes cars will feature in alphabetic taxonomies starting now!

Branding-wise, that may seem drastic at first, but when taken in context it makes perfect sense: Mercedes’ electric G shares much in common with its internal combustion counterparts; so if Mercedes wanted to break from tradition by including their EV models into traditional model nomenclature it makes perfect sense to do it here.

As is typical with Gs, the G 580 features an authentic ladder frame design akin to that seen on trucks or off-roaders, along with solid axle out back (preferred by serious trail riders). Though modernized thanks to an independent front suspension setup – just as seen with its other G Class siblings.

But its appearance is nearly indistinguishable from that of Mercedes’ 2025 G-Class redesign, save for subtle tweaks such as black grille accent lighting. Other changes are hard to notice; for instance slightly rounded corners to help this SUV cut through wind more cleanly are among them, yet difficult to notice.

At first glance, it’s evident that aerodynamics isn’t Mercedes’ top priority here; off-road performance is. To meet that end goal, they created an exclusive drivetrain specifically tailored for this G-Class vehicle – placing their bet on off-roading as opposed to aerodynamics.

Off Roading

Here, things become quite distinct from their gasoline-powered G-Class siblings.

Rivian’s R1T and R1S models feature four electric motors – one per wheel – mounted inboard on their SUV chassis for driving power. Each of these motors boasts its own two-speed transmission with selectable reduction gearset that gives extra torque control in low grip situations.

A four-motor setup offers precise control of individual wheel speed, providing improved grip management than what could be accomplished through traditional locking differential setup. Plus, this affords some fun opportunities for tricks!

Mercedes calls their unique G-Turn feature the crowning achievement. Tap some buttons on the center console, hold either paddle on the steering wheel, step on the accelerator pedal and watch as your G-Class spin around on its axis!

Mercedes says this turn can take up to two complete revolutions and provide enough showboating effect, but Mercedes also suggests this maneuver may also serve to quickly exit unexpectedly terminated trails quickly as was seen earlier with Rivian.

G-Cornering, another more practical feature available on the G-Class, allows it to more efficiently traverse tight trails than competitors with locking differentials. By decreasing speed of its inner rear wheel when turning, this feature helps the car navigate tight turns more effectively than those equipped with locking differentials alone.

But none of these features are available on G-Class models powered by internal combustion engines; for those desiring these features, opting for electric is your only viable choice; plus it opens up even more capabilities!

EQ G-Class can wade through water as deep as 33.5 inches – approximately six full inches deeper than any of its rival Gs! Furthermore, it features additional ground clearance of 0.3 inches and provides for an additional degree of approach angle.

A hot EV in a tepid-demand world

Mercedes-Benz says you don’t need to worry about ruggedness with their G 580 with EQ Technology electric vehicle; metal and carbon fiber protection surround its 116kWh battery pack while also fully isolating itself from water, dirt and any other forms of contamination that might threaten it. Unfortunately though, Mercedes has yet to incorporate silicon-anode technology from Sila into this version; that will come later with its “range extended” variants in coming years according to an official spokesperson of theirs.

Mercedes may present an appealing alternative. Even with 16kWh more capacity than Tesla’s Model X, their G Electric may only go about 250 miles on one charge; that figure falls well short of 335.

Even with its shorter range, the electric G-Class seems like an impressive package that could tempt any performance enthusiast away from models with internal combustion engines. Unfortunately, its launch coincides with decreasing interest in EVs overall.

Mercedes-Benz recently scaled back its goal of becoming an all-EV manufacturer by 2030 due to challenging market conditions.

Before unveiling the G 580, Britta Seeger, Member of Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s Board of Management stated that interest in electric vehicles varies dramatically by region in Europe. Adoption has seen significant slowdown due to sudden withdrawal of incentives that had supported such vehicles, she indicated.

Seeger noted this has led to “some uncertainty” for customers of his brand and noted that discontinuing incentives “has an immediate impact.”

Mercedes has achieved promising results across Europe by applying their own incentives, according to Seeger, while in America the “lease loophole” allows many EVs from Mercedes-Benz still receiving federal incentives (currently $7,500 for lease purchases and steep discounts from dealers here) to still meet federal incentives requirements while often receiving extra discounts as a result of being leased instead of owned.

“For U.S. viewers, there are people who show significant enthusiasm; however, most remain more reserved and uncertain of taking any further steps at present.”

She notes the company remains on course with their electrification plans but declined to set specific sales goals for G 580 with EQ Technology relative to other G-Class trims with internal combustion engines. “We have full flexibility when responding to customer needs,” she stated.

Simply stated, we need to wait and see the impact the G 580 with EQ Technology has on G-Class sales as a whole – likely it should play some significant part. Even so, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume more.

Mercedes has thus far produced higher horsepower, higher price AMG-branded versions of their electric EQE and EQS models. In America, however, their AMG version of the classic G-Class outsells lower cost versions even while carrying an estimated starting price of nearly $200,000. Dealers may impose further adjustments.

Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius famously called the G-Class the Birkin bag of their product portfolio, so when they unveiled an electric version it will certainly keep up its cachet as an off-road capable ride. We shall see whether that can woo its fickle customer base.

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