New electric Mercedes G-Class is dream come true for Schwarzenegger

06 September 2021 - 15:48 By bloomberg.com, William Wilkes and Elisabeth Behrmann
Mercedes-Benz's Concept EQG is an all-electric version of the much-loved G-Class.
Mercedes-Benz's Concept EQG is an all-electric version of the much-loved G-Class.
Image: Daimler

The electric version of Mercedes-Benz’s G-Class looks set to be built in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s alpine hometown.

On Sunday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its EQG prototype, an all-electric version of the automaker’s utilitarian off-road icon. Its combustion-engine forerunner is built in Graz, Austria, by Magna International Inc, and the subcontractor’s European boss dropped a hint at the Munich car show that the electric version will be built there, too. 

“We’ve built the G-Class for 41 years and we’re involved with their electric projects,” Guenther Apfalter said in an interview. “We have high hopes.”

Former California governor and action-movie actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a native of Graz, in 2018 implored former Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche to offer an electric version of the G-Class. That dream now looks set to become reality as Daimler AG’s main division plows more than 40bn (roughly R669,589,260,000) into electrifying its product range this decade.

When Mercedes designed the G-Class in the late 1970s, its boxy design and all-terrain capabilities were envisioned for soldiers and explorers. It largely stayed in that niche until the SUV boom vaulted the model more into to the mainstream, gaining high-profile customers including Sylvester Stallone, Kim Kardashian and Megan Fox.

While vintage in design, the G-Class is among the most expensive cars in the Mercedes range. The AMG G63 version, for example, costs about $156,450 (roughly R2,228,877)

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