All the major players of the automobile industry are ready with their challengers for the electric arena. Though cars define the primary shape and form when the word automobile gets in our minds, the last few years have all been about the terrain-tamers. It only fits that they should also take the forefront of the diverse electric “car” line-up.
German automaker Mercedes Benz has an offering that reflects the very essence of SUVs with its on-and-off-road capabilities, well-balanced independent suspension, great body-rollover and impressive torque. The only exception being the fact that the torque in this one comes from two very powerful electric-drive motors and an entire floor lined with lithium-ion batteries. They are calling it the EQC, and between styling and driving experience, it is every bit a Mercedes.
Design and Styling
One wouldn’t call it a full-sized SUV when compared with the likes of the i-Pace, the E-Tron and the Model X, despite being a Mercedes. However, considering that it is their first electric passenger vehicle going for production, it could be forgiven for leaning toward the compact side.
The EQC is also more of an adapted product. For added safety in case of a crash, the engineers have retained the engine-block and transmission-case layout using air-carrying metal tubing. This is done to ensure that before the impact gets to the cabin, there is a lot of metal hindrance for shock absorption.
Styling is purely Mercedes Benz, and though the form and shape are putting it there, the front fascia could have been visually more futuristic, considering that the EQC is all-electric.
Multi-beam LED headlamps, nineteen-inch alloy wheels certainly add to the visual appeal of the exterior, but are not surprising though, since one expects that of any Mercedes.
Interiors are both suave and rich with peppy colour combinations. Front seating is spot-on SUV, but the rear passengers might feel differently on points like comfort and ergonomics when compared to the former. Though the drive-shaft and the exhaust have been eradicated, their housing in the body-shell still exists.
The dashboard is adorned with the long spread-across information screen unit that can also be controlled from the steering-wheel-mounted, touch-sensitive buttons. As would be expected from an electric, the dashboard also gets a heads-up-display. Music flows with pleasing clarity through the Burmester HiFi surround sound system.
The electric motors are powered by an eighty-kilowatt-hour battery packed in compact construction under the floor, such that it allows for added impact-absorption to be structured in on either side of the vehicle. But power and safety are the most mainstream points on the German checklist. It is the driving experience provided by the EQC that they’re most proud of. There is practically no noise at all from the car itself. At low speeds, the motor is silent, and at high speeds, the cabin construction and damping exclude almost all of the sound made by the tyres and suspension systems such that even while off the road, the car feels nearly as quiet on it.
At nearly 2,500 kilograms, the kerb weight of the EQC is more than its other electric rivals and can be felt while driving in and out of corners, bumps, rolls and pitches. However, the engineers claim that the weight as a factor works in support of the safety arrangements in place. The car is capable of doing zero to sixty miles-an-hour in five seconds thanks to its 204 bhp producing motors. The same punch can be felt on and off tarmac owing to the excellent traction control.
Safety and Tech
Among many features are its regenerative-braking capabilities which, when combined with feedback from its camera, navigational data, periphery-sensing radars and speed-sensors, make it push its battery range. The onboard computer uses a series of in-built algorithms that calculate the feedback from the traffic, driving pattern and remaining battery capacity.
The car also communicates an optimally beneficial driving-manner for the driver through symbols on the instrument cluster. Even, the driver may think that they’re in control of the acceleration. Still, the system overrides the pressure on the pedal when its necessary to save battery-power and invokes range stretching driving.
A DC fast charger with 110kW output capacity can boost the battery charge from ten per cent to eighty in just forty minutes. The company also provides a mobile-based application that uses the navigation system to calculate the best route for long-distance travel, based on the number and sequence of vacant charging stations.
Features like the Driving assist, which is an active safety package and the Burmester sound system are separately provided and charged for. One wouldn’t mind paying, but the fact that they have to do it separately might be beneath the Mercedes affording class by a small margin.
The company has been a little too careful with their first-ever passenger electric offering, having used an existing platform for something that demanded an “off the drawing-board” treatment.
However, it makes up for most of its flaws by being characteristically Mercedes Benz, with its refined driving-experience and ease of taking the car practically anywhere on land. Funding will be obtained from various sources, including pollution cess, road tax, and other compensation charges. Besides, a state EV board shall be established for the supervision and implementation of the policy.