Australians purchasing electric cars are being rewarded with higher-grade entertainment technology featuring as standard in their vehicles, writes JENNIFER DUDLEY-NICHOLSON.
ELECTRIC cars are winning a bigger share of in-cabin entertainment and technology in an effort to meet growing expectations from buyers.
The trend has been highlighted by Mercedes-Benz launching two electric SUVs in Australia, both equipped with a 15-speaker sound system supporting Apple’s Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos technology.
The partnership between the car brand and the tech giant represents the first time Apple’s music technology has featured outside one of its own products.
It also follows arrivals and announcements for several high-end and fully featured electric vehicles for Australia, including models from Polestar, BYD, Audi, BMW and Porsche.
Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman Jerry Stamoulis said the luxury car brand’s newest electric SUV, the EQE 300, would feature the surround-sound technology as standard because it was what electric vehicle buyers anticipated.
“We’re seeing that there’s a higher expectation with electric cars,” he said.
“If you compare an electric vehicle to one of our petrol equivalents, you’ll see a higher grade of standard specifications in Australia.”
Apple Spatial Audio will be available to drivers who subscribe to its Music service and the feature will launch one year after the companies announced their partnership.
The car’s 15 speakers, which include a bass actuator, will deliver 710 watts of audio.
The $134,900 Mercedes SUV will also feature a 12.8-inch touchscreen, voice assistant, companion app, interior LED lighting and semi-autonomous driving modes such as Active Lane Keeping and Brake Assist.
The vehicle and its seven-seat sibling, the EQS SUV, can also be upgraded to feature the MBUX Hyperscreen – a touch-sensitive display that stretches from behind the steering wheel to offer controls to the front-seat passenger on the other side of the vehicle.
Other technology recently promised for electric vehicles include a back-seat touchscreen in the redesigned Tesla Model 3 to give passengers access to climate controls, a 5G connection, head-up display and voice assistant in the upcoming Polestar 3 SUV, and a 12-speaker sound system and voice controls in the BYD Seal that is due to launch in the country in late-2023.
Electric vehicles represented eight per cent of new car sales in Australia during September, up from 2.7 per cent during the same month in 2022, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
Australians have purchased more than 65,000 battery electric cars during 2023 – a rise of 202 per cent compared to 2022.
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Ian Meikle, editor