ON THE GRID
Meet the irst of Merc’s new all-electric production cars, the EQ C, ready to battle Jaguar’s i-Pace in 2019
IF THE Silver Arrow is the Bladerunner-style, skyscraper-high neon sign imploring us to take a look at Mercedes’ electric future, the production-ready EQ C you see here is the opening act of the show itself. Next year it will join the Jaguar i-Pace, Tesla Model X and Audi e-Tron SUV in a battle for zero-emissions crossover dominance, with the BMW iX3 not far behind – and other electric Mercs to follow.
It started life as the Concept EQ, first seen at the 2016 Paris motor show, but the production EQ C is considerably closer visually to the current GLC. Most of the show car’s blue glow has gone from the nose, replaced by a U-shaped black panel that houses the blue-streaked headlights, wrapping around a showy grille. Blue details in the alloys, a single rear light unit and no exhaust tailpipe are your only other exterior clues that this crossover is pure plug-in EV.
WHAT’S UNDER THE SKIN?
There’s an 80kWh lithium-ion battery pack, weighing in at 650kg, wired to two electric motors – one for the front and one for the rear axle for all-electric all-wheel drive – giving a range around 280 miles. Mercedes says there’s 300kW (402bhp) on tap and 564lb ft of torque, with the 0-62mph sprint done with in 5.1sec – just 0.2sec slower than the AMG GLC43 – and a top speed of 112mph (limited). That’s not
quite as punchy as the i-Pace, but the EQ C is longer and some 300kg heavier. The batteries don’t compromise the packaging; like a regular SUV, it has a 500-litre boot. And it can tow up to 1800kg.
The EQ C comes equipped for slow charging from a domestic or workplace wallbox and mid-journey fast charging to take the battery from 10 to 80 per cent full in 40 minutes. To ease range anxiety, the sat-nav plans routes taking into account charging station availability.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT INSIDE?
Most of the cockpit is familiar: button-laden wheel from the facelifted C-Class, piano-black centre console with touchpad controls from the new A-Class and a twin-screen info display shared with almost every high-spec 2018 Merc. It’s the details that count – most prominently the rose-gold air vents and a yacht-like band wrapped around the dashboard.
WHAT’S NEXT TO WEAR AN EQ BADGE? Mercedes has promised 10 all-electric models by 2022, so we’re expecting to see an EQ A crossover (an electric GLA) and chunkier EQ B from 2020, using a 60kWh battery pack for around 300 miles of range. Also in 2020 or 2021 we should see EQ E and EQ S saloons and SUVs joining the range.
Same but dierent Familiar GLC shape blends with bespoke black panelling on the nose, single light bar at the rear and lecks of blue in the headlights and on the alloy wheels. Merc says silhouette is half GLC, half GLC coupe. ‘EQ C 400’ badging hints at future variants with dierent power outputs, just like the i-Pace. Clever cockpit Familiar Merc dash gains new details including rose-gold air vents and louvredscreen housing. Energy management 80kWh battery pack and twin electric motors are good for 402bhp, 564lb ft and 0 62mph in 5.1sec. Two of the ive driving modes – Eco and Max Range – give feedback via the accelerator pedal that prompts the driver toconserve energy.