The EQC is Mercedes’ first mainstream attempt at an electric car and the German giant is very serious about going electric. Batteries are key to building an electric car as they have a massive influence on range and performance. Most companies buy their batteries in, but Mercedes has decided that it wants control over this key component and has backed its plan with over one billion euros to develop battery manufacturing sites on three continents.
So the EQC is carrying some weight on its shoulders, and indeed everywhere else, thanks to an 80 kWh battery pack which weighs a little over 600 Kg. If that is a touch smaller than you were expecting it’s worth noting that Mercedes quote the usable battery capacity whereas most companies quote gross battery.
In keeping with the SUV looks you get all-wheel drive thanks to an electric motor for each axle. Their combined output is over 400 bhp but it is the 561 lb ft of torque that really defines the experience. In low to medium load situations the front motor does all the work, so most of the time the EQC is front-wheel drive which is intended to boost efficiency and therefore range.
Speaking of which, despite all of the talk of advanced batteries and efficient motors, the Mercedes can’t quite do the numbers. It will still crack 200 miles but you will have to stop sooner in the EQC than direct rivals. At least when you do stop it is capable of Ultra Charging with a peak of 110 kW, so when supporting Ultra Chargers are more common a 10% – 80% charge will take around 40 minutes.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that you will really want to get back on the road. Traditionally Mercedes SUVs are dependable and faithful and other adjectives that mean not great to drive. The EQC is cut from a different cloth. Whilst it would be over egging it to say it is genuinely involving, there is enough about the way the Merc goes about it business to allow you to have a bit of fun. Key to this is good body control, excellent weight distribution and the clever dual axle motors that help to get the EQC turned in even allow for a little bit of adjustability. It also helps that you can select five different levels of recuperation from Auto, Coasting, Low, Medium and High which allows you to get a level of brake regeneration that you’re comfortable with to support spirited driving.
Alongside plaudits to the chassis team, we have to say the stylist have done a great job too. The exterior is exactly what a road-orientated Mercedes SUV should look like and the interior integrates the massive 10.25 inch digital instrument display and the 10.25 inch digital media display far more successfully than earlier attempts. It all looks great and is a little easier to use than we expected. Despite the good looks it is also practical with 500 litres of boot space with the seats up and just over 1,000 litres with the seats down.
The EQC looks great, drives well, and is full of clever technology. Where it falls a little short is range, however it still achieves over 200 miles and supports Ultra Charging so if this isn’t a deal breaker for you it’s well worth booking a test drive. You might be pleasantly surprised.