Mercedes-Benz is getting in on the overlanding craze with the debut of the fully-electric Concept EQT Marco Polo1. The M-B camper van concept may not boast impressive off-road skills, but it is unique in its own right as one of the few EV camper vans we’ve seen. And, as if that wasn’t reason enough to cheer on the EQT Marco Polo1, the Mercedes-Benz EV is also making a point of its small size.
The Marco Polo1 is based on the Mercedes-Benz T-Class, which is not sold in the United States. I’m sorry to remind you of that sad fact, but the current T-Class — available with a diesel engine and manual transmission — is likely not ever coming to the U.S., which means the eventual production model of the Marco Polo1 won’t be coming here either. Mercedes-Benz fully intends to make this concept a reality, saying it plans to release something like it later next year:
“For us, the future is electric – regardless of the size or purpose of a van. The latest proof of this strategic direction is our new EQT with all-electric drive. With the Marco Polo Module, we also have a first, simple solution for the all-electric camping trip on offer in the near future. In the second half of 2023, we plan to expand our range even further with a fully-fledged and also fully-electric micro camper. The Concept EQT Marco Polo already gives a glimpse of the upcoming series production vehicle. As the name suggests, we are expanding our Marco Polo family with both products, based on the EQT,” says Klaus Rehkugler, Head of Sales Mercedes-Benz Vans.
The production version of the EV that’s due in Europe next year will not be available as a trim or EQT model, but as an add-on module available for the Mercedes-Benz EQT. Dealers will install the Marco Polo Module in the EQT, which should be available early next year.
It’s unclear what the module will come with, but the Concept EQT Marco Polo1 has a pop-up roof with a bed that’s about 1.98 m long by 0.98 m wide.There’s a slightly bigger sleeping area available by folding the rear seats, and the rear can be reconfigured in the day as a full living and cooking area. There’s a small fridge, sink and stove top. There’s even room to stand when the pop-up roof is open. There’s also a 11 l water tank at the rear.
The only caveat is that the Marco Polo1 concept EV is based on the longer-wheelbase model of the EQT, which won’t be available at first. The EV minivan — more like microvan — will be sold as a short-wheelbase model at first, but the long-wheelbase version will follow.
The shorter EQT will be 177 inches long, 73 inches wide and about 72 inches tall. That’s roughly between the size of the Ford Transit Connect cargo van (short-wheelbase) and Transit Connect passenger wagon (long-wheelbase).
In other words, the EQT will be a practical and reasonably-sized vehicle with room for up to five adults and their cargo. The “reasonable” theme keeps going with the EQT’s range, which is rumoured to be 282 km per charge; and output will be about 120 horsepower and 89 kg-ft of torque. The Mercedes-Benz EQT will start at around $US51,600 ($71,631) in Germany, taxes included, but there’s no word yet on what the short-wheelbase Marco Polo Module will cost.
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