Mercedes reveals new EQC
Mercedes has unveiled its first all-electric SUV. The EQC, which will be the first model released under Mercedes' long-promised sub-brand, EQ, is the company's first serious entry into the high-end EV market, where Tesla's industry-lead is set to be eroded by premium Europeans such as the new Jaguar I-Pace.
Mercedes has been dropping hints about the design of the EQC since 2016 and so the look, striking as it may be, doesn't come as a surprise. The front-end has a mass of perspex enclosing the lights and surrounding the grille like a sort of inverted moustache. A strip of LED daytime running lamps borders the headlights and grille along the top and the inner housings and tubes on the headlamps are finished in gloss black. There are hints of a coupe roofline and the rear-end features the now seemingly obligatory strip of LED lighting across the full width.
It's a five-seater inside and, as you might expect from Mercedes, the interior is gadget heaven. The digital displays are large, but not outlandishly so, and provide the portal to Mercedes' multimedia system, which shows all the important information for EV driving like range, charging status, nearest charging stations and a navigation system that calculates the best route based on range projections (taking into account internal and external power draining factors) and the route's proximity to charge points. Five drive modes are available to suit the mood - Sport, Eco, Max Range, Comfort and an individually adjustable setting, all of these affecting battery range to a greater or lesser degree.
A pre-climatisation feature utilising an advanced heat pump and electric heater helps the car interior get up to temperature before you set off and there's driver assistance aplenty including a function that keeps the vehicle off-centre of the lane during motorway tailbacks to allow easier passage for emergency services.
All-wheel drive is made possible by the use of two electric motors - one on each axle - putting out a combined 300kW (which is the equivalent of around 408hp). The battery has a capacity of 80kWh (double that of a Nissan Leaf), which should, according to Mercedes, give the EQC a range of over 450km putting it near-enough to the I-Pace and Tesla Model S. A fast charge at a normal EV charging point should take the battery range from 10 per cent up to 80 per cent within 40 minutes.
Various control systems determine which axle most of the power goes to in any given situation (in slippery conditions, say, where greater traction to one wheel is required). In normal conditions, however, the power goes primarily to the front wheels.
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