Mercedes unveils electric EQC SUV 05 | 09 | 2018

    MERCEDES HAS LAUNCHED its first purely electric model, the EQC, as it aims to take the battle to Tesla, Jaguar and Audi in the battle for supremacy. Going head-to-head with the likes of the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace and forthcoming Audi e-tron, the EQC will make its public debut at next month’s Paris Motor Show and launch a new pure electric range. (Related: Porsche electric Mission E to be badged Taycan)

    Set to be built at Mercedes’ Bremen plant in Germany and a joint-venture factory in Beijing, China, UK versions will be made exclusively in Bremen. Though prices have yet to be confirmed, expect the EQC to start around £67,500, similar to the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace. First deliveries are expected in the UK late summer 2019, but Mercedes is not expected to start taking orders for the new model until spring next year. (Related: Audi confirms three EVs by 2020)

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    The EQC is powered by a newly developed electric drivetrain that willl be used across the EQ range. It consists of two electric motors  — one powering the front wheels and another the rears  — that enable four-wheel drive capability, depending on the driving mode. (Related: Jaguar launches all-electric I-Pace)

    Combined they deliver 402bhp and 564lb/ft to move the EQC’s 2425kg kerb weight. By comparison, the 395bhp Jaguar I-Pace weighs 2130kg. In Sport mode, the EQC will cover 0-62mph in 5.1sec. Top speed is limited to 112mph.

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    Energy to power the motors is supplied by an 80kWh battery. In total, the lithium ion unit weighs 650kg, and gives the EQC a range of around 450km, or 280 miles, on the forthcoming, tougher WLTP test cycle. That doesn’t quite match the 336-mile NEDC and 292-mile WLTP claimed range of the I-Pace, which features a larger, 90kWh battery. That should translate to around 200 miles of real-world range.

    It’s also fitted with an onboard 7.4kW charger for AC charging, and all EQCs will get DC charging as standard; Mercedes claims this faster configuration will allow the car to be taken from 10% to 80% of charge in around 40 minutes.

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    Like most of its rivals, the EQC is based on a bespoke pure-electric, scalable platform that will ultimately support a family of models. Slightly longer in length than the I-Pace, the EQC measures 4.7-metres and is a true five-seater. Interestingly, its wheelbase is around 11cm shorter than the Jag’s, at 2873mm. It’s also 1884mm wide and 1324mm tall, making the EQC 105mm longer and a considerable 315mm lower than the GLC, with which it shares its 2873mm wheelbase.

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    The styling — well, certainly the exterior — is likely to divide opinion. It looks more conventional than, say, the I-Pace or Model X, but from certain angles it looks bland. There’s a grille at the front, but it has a solid black section that runs between the headlight units, along the lower edge of the bumper.

    As a sop to its electric powertrain — and as a means of highlighting its electric powertrain — the panel also has a line of optical fibre at the top joining the daytime running lights. The fibre is designed to emit light.

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    From the side, theatre’s no denying the EQC’s profile mirrors much of the current small Mercedes SUV, the GLC, while at the rear there are hints of the A-Class, plus there’s a tail-light design that runs across the hatchback panel. Hints of the car’s eco-focus are also highlights by the EQC’s slab-bladed alloy wheels.

    Inside, the cabin is dominated by MBUX — the dashboard layout that was introduced on the recent A-Class — which combines a fully-digital instrument cluster with an ultra-wide infotainment display in what looks like a single, slim panel running across the top of the facia.

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    In addition to incorporating eco-optimised navigation — which calculates the fastest route including charging time, as well as specific voice control commands that are unique to the EQ — smartphone connectivity will be offered via the ‘Mercedes me’ app. This will allow the owner to check charge levels and pre-set the vehicle’s climate control so it is cooled or heated prior to use.

    Another app will be available to assist with charging the EQC. According to Mercedes, it’ll  give access to stations from a variety of providers, including those in other countries, and offer an integrated payment function.

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    As for stowage, the EQC can carry 500 litres of goodies in its boot; but that’s around 70 litres less than the I-Pace’s.

    “With the EQC – the first fully electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz – we are flipping the switch,” Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said. “Electric drive is a major component in the mobility of the future. We are therefore investing more than ten billion euros in the expansion of our EQ model portfolio, and more than one billion euros in global battery production.”

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    Related: Mercedes confirms X-Class V6 pick-up

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    Jim McGill

     

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