Mercedes-Benz EQC: Simply electrifying
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It’s no surprise that Norway’s capital was the launch choice for Mercedes-Benz’s first all-electric vehicle, the EQC, as EVs rule in this Scandinavian country.
Driving around Oslo, you can lose count of Teslas within half an hour, while a carpark structure by the airport has a level that has 600 chargers on it.
And new figures go to prove why Norway is a world leader in this segment with 58 per cent of all new cars sold in March being fully electric.
With the EQC going on sale in Europe mid-year, it will join Tesla’s Model X, Jaguar’s I-Pace and Audi’s E-tron on the roads in Olso.
The EQC is expected to preview in dealerships in New Zealand around December, with the price to be announced closer to the date.
It is the first vehicle to be launched by Mercedes under the EQ brand, which stands for Electric Intelligence.
It is being built at the Bremen factory in Germany alongside the GLC and C-Class range, so if there is a huge demand for the EQC then production at the plant can focus on it.
The EQC carries over only the platform and suspension from the GLC with 85 per cent all-new including a coupe-style body and LED outline lights around the front grille and rear boot that give a futuristic look.
The EQC will come as one variant, the 400 4Matic, with AMG-line pack of seats and alloys as extras.
It also has MBUX and “hey Mercedes” systems, the same as are now found in the A-Class and GLE.
The EQC has two electric motors on the front and rear axles, both producing 150kW of power each, and a maximum torque of 760Nm.
The front engine is optimised for low to medium load range, while the rear one is for dynamic performance.
There are five driving modes: comfort, eco, max range, sport and individual plus 4Matic as standard.
Mercedes says charging at a wall box or AC charging stations is 11 hours while DC quick charge is about 40 minutes.
Most owners will buy a wall box and just top up overnight.
Mercedes claims it has a range of between 445 to 471km but those are ideal conditions whereas every day use — air conditioning, the stereo and comfort driving mode — would see that around the 400km mark.
For example, my test EQC had 69 per cent of battery left with a range of 260km, whereas my colleague in the EQC next to me had 70 per cent battery left and 210km range.
Someone before him must have had it in sport mode, heating on full due to snow the previous day, and the stereo blaring.
And when it comes to the interior, Mercedes has worked magic to make it stand out from GLC: there is futuristic dash with minimal controls and stylish materials.
Mercedes has worked on creating a quiet cabin thanks to the two powerpacks being isolated by rubber mounts at two points — where the motors connects to the subframe, and where the subframe connects to the body.
It works remarkable with slight wind noise heard at high speed and at low speed in max range mode you could hear the slight, what I like to call sci-fi, whirr of the battery.
During my two-day drive programme, the ECQ encountered 80km/h country so I put it in comfort mode, the low-speed Oslo city driving plus small-town speed limit of 40km/h plus 0-100km/h testing at a private airfield out of Oslo.
Handling at speed and around the pretty, sedate Norway country roads was easy for the EQC, mimicking the GLC, but what I was most impressed with was the regenerative braking system in max range mode.
Using the steering wheel paddles you can activate D- (semi-regenerative) or D- — mode (intensive mode).
The latter applies the brake lights to alert the vehicle behind you that are braking hard.
This type of steering in an EV is called one-pedal driving, and helps keep the battery charge longer.
The EQC has a cabin payload of 445kg (while the GLC is 665kg) and has a factory-fitted tow bar that allows towing of 1800kg.