Mercedes-Benz is now working to expand its family of electric vehicles into the Marco Polo camper line. It opened 2022 with an equipped EQV van and closes the year with the new EQT Marco Polo Concept. The pop-up mini-camper concept accommodates and accommodates four people, offers a full indoor dining lounge, prepares meals on a kitchen space with two indoor/outdoor stoves, and converts back to an everyday MPV in minutes . It’s a unique, capable van that will soon offer eco-conscious adventurers a way to run on pure electricity and enjoy a cozy mountain microhome at every stop along the way.
Mercedes’ unveiling on Friday wasn’t just for the EQT Marco Polo Concept, but for the production EQT van in general, first previewed by the EQT Concept in 2021. The electric compact van will be available at launch with a 90 kW ( 121 kW). -hp) front axle motor and 45 kWh battery at a base price of €49,000 (approx. $51,625). Mercedes estimates WLTP range at 175 miles (282 km) and says drivers will be able to charge the battery from 10 to 80 percent in just 38 minutes using a DC fast charger.
The EQT Marco Polo Concept shows that the new EQT will certainly be comfortable in the role of modular camper/everyday van. Mercedes makes it clear from the start that the concept is a preview of a motorhome currently in development and headed for series production. It plans to introduce the production version in the second half of 2023, which sounds like a debut at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon if ever we heard one.
The Marco Polo concept is based on a future long-wheelbase EQT variant. Mercedes doesn’t list the dimensions of the long-wheelbase van, which will be officially introduced in 2023, but specifies the regular-wheelbase EQT at 450 cm long, 186 cm wide and 182 cm tall (177 x 73 x 72 inches). It increases the height of the van concept with a roof that opens up the legroom in the living area of the caravan. The roof also houses a 197 x 97 cm (77.5 x 38 in) disc spring bed, ready to sleep one or two people.
Below, Mercedes configures a smart caravan layout that makes the most of the small space. The dining area is pushed to the rear of the van, starting with a longitudinal two-seater bench on the driver’s side, opposite an electrically adjustable height-adjustable folding table. A second two-seater bench is placed transversely behind the front passenger seat, creating a disconnected L-shaped dining area.
The interior of the split kitchen concept is directly behind the driver’s seat, offering a small sink with 12 l fresh and waste water tanks and a 16 l fridge box. The single place induction hob is built into a drawer under the driver’s side seat, leaving a small open space behind the sink when closed, perhaps for ingress and egress through the driver’s side sliding door.
Not wanting the hypothetical EQT Marco Polo caravans to go without the old reliable standard of two cooking burners, Mercedes augments the induction cooker with a separate portable single-burner gas stove that stores on an external slide-out in the back of the dining bench. . It can be used on its own as an outdoor hatchback cooking option or as an extra burner in conjunction with the indoor induction cooktop – assuming there’s a pair of cooks or a chef who doesn’t mind shuffling back and forth.
When we first saw the EQT Marco Polo Concept’s looks, we thought Mercedes had done away with the rear passenger seats to make way for its cozy caravan lounge. But the dining cushions on the passenger side are actually attached to the backs of the folding rear seats. Fold them into travel position and the Marco Polo Concept can drive four people camping.
The EQT Marco Polo also sleeps four people — lower the rear table, add a few cushions and you get a second, larger double bed measuring 200 x 115 cm (79 x 45 inches). An opaque window tinting system eliminates the need for curtains, darkening the rear windows at the push of a button.
Going on a camping trip in an EQT Marco Polo would undoubtedly require separating the things you could do without from the must-haves, but Mercedes adds as much storage space as possible. As well as keeping the loading aisle clear at the back, it installs a pot/pan drawer under the induction hob and integrates extra storage under the bench seats and inside the table base.
Unlike the larger Marco Polo V-Class camper, the Concept Marco Polo has a modular design with fully removable caravan equipment. Mercedes says two people can remove the camper modules and return the EQT to everyday MPV form in about five minutes. The concept measures less than 2m (6.6ft) tall even with the roof up, making it easy to garage. If the production version allows owners to swap in extra seats, it will be a very capable small passenger van/mini-camper.
Adding to the van’s modularity is a portable battery that serves as an on-board leisure battery and can be removed from under the seat. It runs electrical equipment around the camper and can be charged using the roof-mounted solar panel or an electrical outlet outside the vehicle.
For those who don’t need a vertical roof or prefer a short-wheelbase EQT, Mercedes will offer a simpler EQT Marco Polo camper option even sooner. The Marco Polo module is a fully removable camper kit with a folding bed and available hatchback kitchen that will be available on both the ICE T-Class and the electric EQT. The module was first shown at this year’s Düsseldorf Caravan Show and we took a closer look at it last month. Mercedes has not announced pricing, but points out that the Marco Polo module will be available to order in the near future.