Just in time for the passage of President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill, German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz took a plunge into the U.S. electric vehicle market.
"The EQS is definitely a game-changer for us. It's really a turning point for the brand in the United States. It is our first dedicated electric model that we bring here into the market," said Heiko Schmidt, Mercedes-Benz Dept. Manager of EQ Brand Management.
The EQS resembles Mercedes-Benz's top-of-the-line S-class. The EQS 580 starts at $119,110. Its EPA range is 340 miles, meaning it can travel that far on a single charge. With a 516 horsepower engine, it can accelerate 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds.
The EQS 450+ is less expensive and slightly slower. It starts at about $102,000 and accelerates to 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds. Its EPA range is 350 miles.
The EQS faces stiff competition from existing electric vehicles in the market, some of which have longer ranges or higher horsepower. But Schmidt said the EQS is "the best package."
"It is the vehicle that offers the luxury, the quality, the safety, and the performance that our customers expect and certainly [for the] customers that are willing to come new into the brand," he said.
The Biden administration has an ambitious vision for electric vehicles. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates $7.5 billion toward electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
"We're going to put IBEW members and other union members to work installing a national network of charging stations along our roads and highways in our communities — over 500,000," Biden said during a media appearance on a tour of the GM plant in Detroit.
Biden also announced a goal in August that half of the vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030 will be electric.
Although Schmidt would not comment on the feasibility of the president's goals, he did say Mercedes-Benz is up to the challenge.
"We have the product offering, we have the dealer network and the partnerships to cope with these numbers. And of course, we appreciate the tailwind that we're seeing there from an infrastructure side," Schmidt said.
Updated on December 6, 2021, at 4:43 p.m. ET with a correction adding hyphens to "Mercedes-Benz."