Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its very first full electric production SUV under a new product and technology brand which it calls EQ.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC, as it’s called, is a crossover SUV that is equipped with twin asynchronous electric motors, giving it all wheel drive. Several models will be available, but the first is the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400.
With over 408hp on tap and a mammoth 765Nm (or 564 lb-ft) of torque, it’s able to accelerate to 62mph in just 5.1 seconds.
This is despite an overall kerb weight of 5346 lbs. And around 1433 lbs of that is the battery pack alone. Perhaps more importantly, the EQC also claims an NEDC-cycle driving range of “more than” 450 kilometres off one charge. (WLTP figures are still to come.) Braked towing capacity is rated at 1800kg.
Style wise, it’s pitched as a mix of an SUV and an SUV coupé, with a sloping rear roof line. The front end features a black strip which sits underneath the grille, with an optical fibre that links the daytime running lights with each other. At night it will look very cool, and very distinctive.
The EQC rides on the same 2873mm wheelbase as its GLC sibling, but overall it’s slightly longer and narrower, measuring 4761mm in length and 1884mm in width.
The platform is Merc’s new EVA structure which is a derivative of the MRA platform that sits underneath the GLC, enabling the EQC to be built on the same production lines.
Mercedes says the EQC’s interior has an “avant-garde electro-look” and cites the ribbed edge of the instrument panel, which it says looks like “the cooling ribs of a hi-fi amplifier.” The whole interior has been designed to be quite driver focused, however it still looks distinctly like a Mercedes-Benz.
There are, of course, some cool details like the air vents which have rosé-gold colored louvers, and the dashtop which has a cutout for the instrumentation which is raised ahead of the driver.
While it’s normal at this point to tell you what’s under the hood, in truth there isn’t anything under the hood because it’s an electric vehicle (EV). Instead, let’s look at the drivetrain as a whole.
There are two drive-trains, with on at each axle. Instead of a simple 50/50 split, the front electric motor is said to be optimized for low to medium load efficiency, and the rear aids the car’s dynamics. This is so the EQC gets both the best use of power to maintain efficiency and the best drive experience.
The total system output is a generous 408hp which is enough to get it up and going with a minimum of fuss. But it should also be quite quiet.
There are rubber mounts where the power pack attaches to the car’s sub-frame and another one where the sub-frame attaches to the car’s body, creating more isolation from vibration. This is in addition to the normal sound deadening materials used by Merc for its vehicles.
Five different drive modes are available: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport and the Individual program can be adapted to your preferences.
In the most conservative modes, Mercedes says the accelerator pedal gives haptic feedback which will alert the driver that they can conserve more power by driving in a certain way. For example, back off when you approach the speed limit, when you can coast or to recuperate energy. Sat-nav info is linked to traffic sign recognition and radars and cameras to create the alerts where needed.
The paddle shifters are also used in an interesting way. Instead of being used for changing gears like in a conventional car, they’re used for altering the level of braking energy recuperation. Tap the left paddle and the level of recuperation is reduced, but tap the right and it will increase the recuperation making the EQC slow down a lot when you back off the accelerator. In the most aggressive mode you can use the generators to brake for you – one pedal driving, if you will.
Charging the EQC
The standard onboard charer is a water-cooled unit that has a capacity of 7.4 kW, so home charging is possible as standard. But there is a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox which offer charge times up to three times faster than at domestic power point.
DC charging from combined charging systems are even faster, offering a 40 minute charge to take it from 10 per cent to 80 per cent. The CCS (Combined Charging Systems) used in Europe and the USA, as well as Japan’s CHAdeMO and China’s GB/T, are all compatible.
EQC will use MBUX Infotainment
The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system which is rolling out across the brand, will be used in the EQC, but with some EV-specific features.
The SUV’s range, charge status and energy flow are all on display as well as navigation (optimsed for EQ vehicles), driving modes, charging current and departure time are able to be controlled and set using the MBUX.
The voice control has been tailored to the EQC’s needs, while the display has EQ functions grouped together on an EQ-specific tile.
The system also caters for pre-drive features like warming or cooling the cabin prior to the driver’s entry. The sat-nav is designed to look out for charge points, and calculates routes based on range available and charge times (depending on the voltage of the charger).
In addition to the regular safety equipment, like airbags, stability control, seatbelt pretensioners and crumple zones, the EQC has plenty of active safety gear in the form of driver assistance systems.
It’s a package called the Driving Assistance package, which includes predictive speed adjusting as thre car approaches a line of traffic in front.
If you’re on a freeway and there’s a build up of traffic in front, there’s a subtle adjustment where the steering moves the car to the side of the lane to allow for emergency vehicles if required.
Learning from Tesla’s mistakes with burning cars, Merc has designed the EQC to be particularly protective of electrical components, with a new subframe that sits around the motors, while the battery has been put low in the vehicle with another frame that is designed to deform and deflect impact away from the battery pack.
There’s also a guard that prevents the battery from being punctured in the event of a crash. And if the car is involved in an accident, the electrical system shuts down to prevent voltage still running through the car, and emergency services can switch off the system if need be.
EQC Price and on sale date
While the EQC 400 has been revealed now, actual production won’t kick off until 2019. Thanks to integration into the existing production lines, it should be a seamless introduction.
The EQC should go on sale next year, with deposits being taken now. But how much will it be? Judging by its competition, the EQC 400 should kick off around $80,000, with other models coming on stream in 2020.
Mercedes-Benz EQC Specifications
|CO2 emissions||0 g/km|
|Power consumption (NEDC)||22.2* kWh/100 km|
|Range (NEDC)||more than 450* km|
|Drive system||2 asynchronous motors, all-wheel drive|
|Output||300 kW (408 hp)|
|Peak torque||765 Nm|
|Top speed||180 km/h (governed)|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||5.1 s|
|Battery energy content (NEDC)||80 kWh|
|Battery weight||650 kg|
|Length/width (with mirrors)/height||4,761/1,884 (2,096)/1,624 mm|
|Track width (FA/RA)||1,625/1,615 mm|
|Boot capacity (depending on equipment)||ca. 500 l|
|Kerb weight/perm. GVW/pay load (DIN)||2,425*/2,930/505 kg|
|Trailing load max. (12 %)||1,800 kg|
You can watch the full premiere of the Mercedes-Benz EQC in the video below.