Mercedes-Benz's 2020 EQC Boasts Plenty of Tech, Less-than-revolutionary Range
Mercedes-Benz has started pre-production on the first vehicle of its electric EQ model range, this one based on the GLC platform and called — what else? — the EQC. It’s a tony but not outlandish electric crossover for posh (but maybe not that posh) types who like the three-pointed star appearing on the front of their vehicle but kind of feel guilty about their carbon footprint.
Luckily, owning an electric car means never having to think about upstream emissions or other unpleasantness that took place before the assembled materials made it to your vehicle.
The EQC, according to M-B, falls under the automaker’s “Progressive Luxury” theme, promising lots of high-tech creature comforts and convenience, as well as an emission-free driving experience. However, it’s starting to become a crowded EV market out there, and some buyers might take exception with one particular aspect of this vehicle.
That would be its range.
M-B promises “up to 200 miles” of driving between charges, which would have wowed anyone just a few years ago. However, the German luxury giant already has to contend with Tesla’s Model X, which gets 237 miles between charges in base 75D form, as well as the imminent Jaguar I-Pace, which promises up to 240 miles of driving from its 90 kWh battery pack. Other challengers wait in the wings.
Perhaps the PR department was looking at other attributes when it called the model “the Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles.”
Certainly, in terms of power, the EQC is well matched to take on its cross-Channel rival. Fueled by a 80 kWh battery, the EQC’s front and rear electric motors combine for 402 hp and a maximum torque of 564 lb-ft. On paper, this beats the I-Pace’s 394 horsepower and 512 pound-feet of torque, also funneled to all four wheels, though M-B’s acceleration estimate is four-tenths of a second slower to 60 mph than the electric Brit. We’ll have to wait and see if the EQC undercuts the I-Pace’s $69,500 U.S. entry price.
One thing that’s for sure is that the EQC won’t arrive until well after U.S. buyers get their hands on the I-Pace. Full production begins next year, with deliveries in America beginning in 2020. The I-Pace lands later this year.
Capable of hooking to a 100-kW fast-charger, should you know where one is, Mercedes-Benz claims an EQC can be juiced from 10 to 80 percent capacity in about 40 minutes, which just happens to be the I-Pace’s fast-charge top-up time.
We’ve detailed the EQ concept vehicle before, but the first production vehicle to emerge from the electric lineup carries the automaker’s MBUX multimedia system, mile-wide touchscreen housing two 10.25-inch displays, five drive modes, app-based convenience functions (capable of remotely warming up the EQC on a cold morning), and a navigation system that displays the quickest and least draining route, depending on the vehicle’s charge. A steering wheel-mounted paddle allows drivers to dial up the desired amount of regenerative braking.
The safety of occupants, other drivers, and pedestrians is paramount, M-B claims, so this model offers the full gamut of available driver-assist features. In the event of a collision, M-B says the EQC’s high-voltage system shuts down automatically. Meanwhile, impact-absorbing deformation elements surround the underbody battery pack, lessening the risk of a post-collision fire.
Will the Mercedes-Benz EQC hit the U.S. market with a thud, or surprise nearly everyone with its popularity? It all depends on brand appeal, green appeal, and the public’s perception of what a useable “luxury” driving range might be.
[Images: Daimler AG]
HotPotato on Sep 08, 2018
I suspect there's a limited number of buyers in the market for a $70,000 second car. And there are vast swaths of the country where lousy charging infrastructure and range-slashing cold weather are a fact of life. But I get it, Mercedes, batteries don't grow on trees. So here's a thought. Why not build a no-compromises plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV): basically a luxury Chevy Volt SUV? If the biggest obstacle to EV production in terms of cost, scalability and environmental impact is the battery, and the biggest obstacle to EV adoption in terms of buyer acceptance is range and recharging anxiety, then why not take the approach that gives you pure-EV operation 90% of the time and a no-worries road-trip machine the other 10%...and lets the manufacturer make up to four times as many cars with the same number of battery cells? I admit that most PHEVs aren't great. Ford, the Koreans, and especially the Europeans insult buyers with half-assed PHEV models with laughable range and piddling electric power. Honda makes a two-third-assed Honda Clarity PHEV version with okay range, but like the others it still can't offer full power without kicking on the gas engine. That leaves the Chevy Volt as literally the only whole-assed PHEV on the market: the only one that operates as a pure EV even if you floor the accelerator or turn on the heater or drop your hat, and does so long enough to take care of all your errands---yet still offers full power, long range and good MPG on a road trip once gasoline is involved. So okay, maybe it's not an easy thing to pull off. And maybe it's not easy to sell your board on a bridge technology when development lead times are long and it seems like the future is closing in fast---like trying to string land-line telephone poles in Africa after the invention of the cell phone. But nobody else is doing it. This could be your opening...
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