Mercedes-Benz engineers have been spotted with a prototype for an electric version of the GLB-Class. The new EV is confirmed as the EQB and will be available sometime in 2021.

Although the prototype looks like the regular GLB, the sealed-off grille and lack of exhaust pipes confirm it as an EV. Earlier test mules were also seen with fully covered underbodies.

The GLB is based on the same MFA2 (Mercedes Front-drive Architecture) as the recently launched A-Class. The EQB will feature a battery-electric version of the platform. The platform will also underpin an EQA electric hatch previewed in concept form in 2017. The first dedicated EV platform from Mercedes will debut in the EQS sedan, also due around 2021.

As for the powertrain, expect an electric motor at each axle and around 60 kilowatt-hours of battery capacity for more than 200 miles of range initially. More powertrain options could be added down the line. Trademark filings made by Mercedes with the United States Patent and Trademark Office hint at EQB200, EQB250, EQB320, EQB350 and EQB360 grades.

Mercedes' first volume EV is the GLC-based EQC due in local showrooms in the first half 2020. The EQA is expected to appear around the same time, though a U.S. launch for the electric hatch may not happen due to crossovers being more popular here. Therefore we're more likely to receive the EQB to satisfy local buyers looking for a compact EV from Mercedes.

Many automakers in the luxury space are working on electric compact crossovers. Volvo will launch an electric XC40 on October 16 and Lexus is thought to be working on an electric version of its UX. France's DS has also just introduced the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. Soon we'll be able to add Mercedes' EQB to the list.