This article is part of STYLE’s Inside Luxury column Every time I write articles about electric cars in the luxury industry, it triggers a huge controversy. Aficionados of petrol engines tell me that electric cars have no soul, that there is no sound, and that they will never be truly luxurious. I once got a death threat from a petrol enthusiast who told me I should be punished for being supportive of the electric car future. As someone who is extremely passionate about cars and owns both luxury electric and petrol vehicles, as well as a classic car, I am obviously aware of the differences between the two worlds. And both have their distinct profile. In the history of transport, there has always been controversy. When the first motor cars showed up a little more than a hundred years ago, horse-carriage fans were slamming these new vehicles as dangerous, and especially the speeds of 10 miles (16km) per hour or more where perceived as being bad for health. Seat belts, when they first appeared in the 1950s, had many critics as well. Whining about electric cars reminds me of these discussions. And the leaders of today shaped the future anyway, despite the naysayers. Why isn’t the redesigned 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL electric? The time for petrol engines is over, whether people like it or not. The numbers reveal a stark future. Tesla announced that it sold over 936,000 units in 2021, an increase of 87 per cent versus last year. Ford plans to nearly double production of its new electric F-150 pickup truck to 150,000 vehicles per year, and Porsche sells more electric Taycans than its flagship 911. According to Cleantechnica, Tesla’s US sales surpassed Lexus, Mercedes, Audi and BMW in the third quarter of 2021. It’s the first time that an electric car brand has dominated the US premium segment entirely. A wake-up call for the traditional leaders. Without a radical change, many of the incumbent brands may not be relevant for the next generation of car buyers. In contrast to the EV hype, many petrol car makers saw their numbers declining significantly. In the US market, General Motors, a company that remains extremely dependent on large gas guzzling trucks and heavy SUVs, lost its No 1 position to Toyota with its hybrid-dominated fleet, an alarming signal for companies that are still heavily invested in traditional petrol cars. The chip shortage is – of course – a welcomed and expected excuse for underperformance, but Tesla’s rapid expansion shows that consumer demand tells a different story. Consumers love electric vehicles. And once someone switches from petrol to electric, they typically never move back. It’s not far-fetched to assume that Tesla could become the largest car company in the world by the end of this decade. Why are electric vehicles the new darlings of luxury cars? It’s a combination of convenience (remember – no more gas station visits), head spinning acceleration and driving fun (ever tried to drive a Tesla and immediately afterwards even a sporty version of a high-end petrol car? If not, you should try…), zero tailpipe emissions, higher efficiency, and low maintenance (think: the absence of yearly oil changes, engine inspections, and emission tests). Range anxiety – the fear of driving an electric vehicle and running out of power – is not an issue any more in most places. Prices are already declining rapidly. The one thing luxury hotels and restaurants always get wrong Lastly, regulation has already initiated the death of the petrol engine – many places will ban new petrol cars as of 2030 or 2035. By then, it’s easy to predict that there will be much less gas stations and range anxiety will be the new normal for the owners of petrol cars, not for those of electric cars. Practically all car companies stopped their research and development on internal combustion engines. And everyone is racing to catch up with Tesla. However, it seems that often the distance is increasing rather than decreasing. All so-called “Tesla killers” flopped or did not generate any significant share so far. And therefore, in my opinion, the Mercedes EQXX is so critical for the brand , and maybe even the most important car the company has ever developed in its history. Mercedes is – in the eyes of many – the automotive equivalent of what Rolex is for watches or Louis Vuitton for trunks and handbags – a luxury brand that signals status, desirability and aspiration. The brand proudly states, “the best or nothing”. However, when it came to EVs, Mercedes started incredibly slow. Over many years, the EV portfolio consisted merely in announcements and show cars that never saw the light of day. I will never forget the Silver Arrow at the Seoul Motor show some years ago – that was so awkward, probably with the objective – to deflect from not having a competitive EV portfolio. Today, it’s a forgotten “one pony” show car. The cars that made it to the road initially disappointed and never reached significant consumer traction. Except for the recently launched Mercedes EQS, none of their brand icons are available today in an electric version, including the new AMG-SL flagship. And those electric cars that Mercedes brought on the road did not have any significant superiority in performance, they were mostly an electric alternative with some acclaimed interior tech upgrades, like the hyperscreen of the EQS. So far, Tesla’s Model S remains unrivalled in terms of performance. The new EQXX, albeit still a “concept car”, is the first serious attempt to change the game and to charge forward, so to speak. It achieves a historically low drag coefficient of just 0.17, less than a football, which is an incredible engineering marvel. Combined with highly efficient next generation electric drivetrains and other optimisations, the range exceeds for the first time for an electric car 600 miles (1,000km). It makes a trip from Paris to London and back on one charge a real-world option. The design is stunning, pre-empting the future design language of Mercedes: sleek, sexy, futuristic, yet luxurious and elegant. It is a bold statement. Is space the next frontier of luxury? Bezos, Musk and Branson seem to think so Luxury is not what companies intend; it is what consumers feel. And my research on luxury has shown that a critical driver of luxuriousness is the perception of uniqueness, of being inspirational, bold, rule-breaking and innovative. Followers are seldom perceived as a “must have”, highly desired luxury brand. Leaders are. This leaves only one request. Mercedes would be crazy not to launch this car as soon as possible beyond a concept status. It is the game-changer that the brand needed to set the tone in the category and to propel itself back into an innovation leader. And there is no alternative. The future is electric and the players of today must decide which role they want to have in this new reality. A message for head of Mercedes-Benz, Ola Källenius: now it’s time to show the world again that Mercedes is still the best or nothing – bring the EQXX on the road before others get the laurels of breaking the 1,000km barrier with cars that consumers can buy! It could be the brand’s most important car in history. I am officially placing an order. Don’t let me wait too long. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .