Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC: All-Electric SUV For The Upscale MassesSeptember 13, 2018
The Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC was recently revealed by the German luxury vehicle manufacturer. Following closely on the heels of the battery electric Jaguar I-PACE, the Mercedes-Benz EQC is now the second competitor that will be going after Tesla’s upscale customers. How does the EQC stack up to Tesla, the American upstart that has handily been outselling the Mercedes-Benz S-Class on a regular basis? Let’s take a look.
First, an explanation of the name. EQ stands for “Electric Intelligence.” Sort of like IQ, get it?
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is the first of a planned family of all-electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. In terms of size, the EQC appears to be similar to the GLC SUV. It has the identical wheelbase, nearly the same width and height, but is four inches longer overall, with a roofline that splits the difference between a boxy SUV and an SUV Coupe with a sloping roof.
Designed To Look The Same…But Different
Even though the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC does not need a radiator, it nevertheless has a huge, not particularly attractive grille in front, one that certainly looks like an intake for cooling air. If Tesla is fine with eliminating the grille on an electric car, why can’t Mercedes-Benz follow suit?
In the center of that very large grille is a really large three-pointed star, just to leave no doubt about what you are driving. A black panel runs under the grille and connects the headlights, while an LED band runs across the top of the grille, connecting the running lamps in a horizontal line of light at night. It will look right at home in Las Vegas.
From the windshield back, the Mercedes-Benz EQC looks like every other SUV on the road. If this is what the future is supposed to look like, then why keep bringing up the past? Mercedes-Benz seems to be afraid of moving its styling forward as quickly as it is moving its technology.
Inside The Mercedes-Benz EQC
The interior of the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC is dominated by a single digital instrument panel, divided into two 10.25” displays. This looks great, sitting atop the dash like a super-wide iPad. But there is a total absence of any hooding over this panel, making it very likely that it will wash out in direct sunlight, rendering it impossible to read.
A touchpad in the center console provides additional control of vehicle functions. Metal fins in the dashboard design were ironically inspired by the cooling fins of a vacuum-tube hi-fi amplifier. The rectangular air vents have unique key-shaped, rose-gold colored louvres. Two different interior design themes will be available: Electric Art and a sportier AMG Line. A Burmester premium audio system will be available.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC is powered by two electric motors, with one located on each axle to provide all-wheel drive capability. Total power output is 402 horsepower, which is about 10 percent less than the dual-motor Tesla Model 3’s 450 horsepower. Zero to 60 mph in the EQC takes 4.9 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph. Drivers can choose from five selectable driving modes: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport and Individual.
What About Charging?
The Mercedes-Benz EQC’s 80-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will provide up to 200 miles of range, based on the US testing regime. This is fine for local use, with nightly top-ups from a home charger. Unfortunately for those who would like to use their EQCs for longer trips, this amount of range is right on the line between acceptable and inadequate. In a market where the Chevrolet Bolt gets 238 miles of range, and the Tesla Model 3 gets between 220 and 310 miles, the EQC may not be suitable for those who plan to use it as their only vehicle.
The other obstacle to taking long trips in the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC is the available charging infrastructure, or lack of it. The EQC comes standard with a water-cooled onboard charger with a capacity of 7.4 kW. This allows the EQC to charge at DC fast chargers, which can provide a battery charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in about 40 minutes.
This is a good thing, but the hard part can be finding an appropriate, convenient, and available charger of this type along the route of your trip. If you drive a Tesla, the Tesla-only Supercharger network has already been built out across the US, and it can provide most of your charging needs during a trip, hassle-free. With other brands, you are at the mercy of whatever charging network is in the vicinity. This issue remains the largest obstacle to the popular acceptance of electric vehicles.
Technology Tailored To An Electric Vehicle
The Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC features the innovative multimedia system named the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX). It offers electric vehicle-specific functions such as range, charge status and energy usage. MBUX also provides navigation and driving modes that can optimize your range, based on your destination.
The system can also monitor and control the EQC’s charging functions, based on the amount of power needed to reach your destination. MBUX will locate charging stations along your route, if needed. It can even be set to pre-heat or pre-cool the vehicle, before you enter and while it is still plugged in, to conserve the battery’s range.
Mercedes-Benz EQC Is Coming In 2019
In mid-2019, the Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC will be the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle to be launched globally under the EQ brand, most likely as a 2020 model. Production will start sometime in 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, Germany. Production of the EQC will ramp up slowly, to assure the quality of this first mass-produced all-electric vehicle from the German luxury carmaker. Pricing will be announced closer to launch. The EQC will be followed by other Mercedes-Benz vehicles built on the same architecture.
Should You Lease A Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC?
If you would like to sample the battery electric lifestyle, leasing a Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC is a great way to do it. Battery technology is moving forward rapidly, so leasing lets you have the latest technology now, and also allows you to keep up with what’s new and improved in a few years’ time. It’s a win-win! There may also be some advantageous lease deals out there, as more and more new electric cars are released in the marketplace. And let’s not forget the benefits of having a warranty on such a complex piece of equipment, for the full term of the lease!
Just remember to budget for a home charger and installation, so you can have the convenience of leaving home every day with a full charge. If you don’t own a home, check out your local charging options to be sure that you can live with what’s available.