2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC
Mercedes’ Tesla-fighting EQC has the goods to be an attractive alternative to burning gasoline
STOCKHOLM — After announcing its new EQ (Electric Intelligence) subbrand at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz picked Stockholm to launch the first of what it promises will be an electrifying lineup. It will include everything from the Smart EQ to a fullsize sedan and some sports cars; in all there will be 10 models by 2022.
The world premiere of the EQC crossover ushers in a ride with an avant-garde design that blends the look of a traditional SUV with that of a raked-roof crossover. It also has the electric wherewithal to get rid of range anxiety.
Outwardly, the look is dominated by the lighting. The LED headlights are linked by a thin light bar that traces the leading edge of the hood, and Mercedes’ three-pointed star in the grille is illuminated. At the back, it is more of the same, with the LED tail lights being linked by another thin light bar.
The cabin also turns away from what’s found in the EQC’s gas-powered siblings. While it shares the two 10.25-inch screens for the instrumentation and Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, it differs in the fact it delivers in-depth details on power consumption, range and driving habits. The instrumentation is configurable and changes colour according to what’s happening, glowing red under hard acceleration and turning ice blue when the system is recouping otherwise wasted energy.
Using the EQ Ready app, the driver can monitor the charging progress, precondition the cabin, and plan a trip. The app automatically includes any necessary charging stops, if required to complete the drive.
The key to the EQC is the new modular architecture that houses the main battery in a crash-protected safety cell. The 80 kWh lithium-ion battery consumes the entire floor, with the battery management system residing under the rear seat. The substantial battery — it tips the scales at 650 kilograms, which helps explain the EQC’s 2,245kg curb weight — delivers, according to European numbers, an impressive electric driving range of 450 kilometres.
It takes between seven and eight hours to recharge the battery from 10 per cent to full when using a 220-volt outlet. That time drops to just 40 minutes to recharge to 80 per cent when using a DC fast charger. The battery is warranted for eight years or 160,000 km (whichever comes first), although Mercedes was emphatic that this is a minimum number and most customers will see a much longer useful life.
Two asynchronous electric motors, one driving each axle, give the EQC all-wheel drive. The front motor is used to provide maximum efficiency, while the rear keys on delivering a spirited drive. The combination yields impressive performance numbers. With both motors giving their all, the system has a net output of 402 horsepower and a mighty peak torque of 564 pound-feet, the majority of which shows up for work the instant the wheels begin to turn. This means the EQC sprints from rest to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds, and it has a substantial 1,800-kg towing capacity.
To get the best out of the EQC, it has five driving programs: Comfort (the default setting), Max-range, Eco, Sport and a program that allows the driver to set the operating parameters. In Comfort, Max-range or Eco, the focus is squarely on driving distance and power conservation. To help the driver get the best from the powertrain, Eco Assist taps into the navigation system and traffic-sign recognition, and uses information from the radar and stereo cameras to prompt the driver to lift whenever appropriate, which helps to maximize the driving range. Sport mode is all about giving the driver peak performance without emphasizing driving range — within reason. To help the overall range, the driver can set the regenerative braking level by using steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and five settings. D Auto optimizes the regeneration to get the best out of the driving conditions. Then there are D+, which has very little regen, through D, D- and finally D—, which gives the EQC one-pedal driving.
The EQC rides on a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension with air springs, which gives it automatic load levelling. The show model had P235/50R20 front and P255/45R20 rear tires, although base models will have 19-inch wheels.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC promises to deliver a balanced approach to sustainable mobility; it should to be fun to drive while delivering a generous driving range. As such, it is set to become an attractive alternative to burning gasoline. It will go into production in 2019, with the first Canadian units arriving in early 2020. Pricing and full specifications will be announced closer to the launch date.
2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC.