The EQC is a milestone for Mercedes Benz. The oldest manufacturer that made its bones developing and manufacturing internal combustion engines has finally joined the EV game. Naturally then, the EQC, which is the first production EV with the three-pointed star, has garnered quite the hype. But, is it just that? Is it all hype and nothing to follow? Or has Mercedes, with its rather late entry to the EV segment, used its time to make the EQC perfect?
Before we head to the nerdfest that is battery tech, let us have a quick look around the EQC. The ‘Progressive’ design language makes the EQC more of a sublime and elegant EV rather than look like one that belongs in Blade Runner or Star Wars. Nothing about it is striking or sci-fi and yet, it is evidently an EV. The blue accents in the headlamps, the LED bar stretching under the bonnet, blue accents for the alloy wheels are all telltale signs of an EV. Move over to the side, and you notice hints of the GLC. And you would, because the EQC is based on the GLC which is why, it has the exact wheelbase. However, it is longer and looks a bit more coupe-ish. Over to the rear, things are a lot simpler. The massive LED bar joining the LED taillamps is the only futuristic bit and overall, the curvy design is typical Mercedes Benz.
Step inside and here too, there is none of that space ship design that you see on modern EVs. Everything looks and feels luxurious and premium. The dashboard, steering wheel and that massive infotainment touchscreen that is conjoined with the instrument cluster has now become a Merc hallmark. You also get the MBUX infotainment system that now features added information regarding the battery like charge flow and the nearest charging station. Then there are other new additions like the shade of blue for the dashboard and the string-like pattern near the fantastic Burmester speakers. The vents too are angular and look neat with a bronze finish. The steering is no different than what we’ve seen on modern Mercs what with its touch-sensitive pads and chunky dimensions.
In the back, you have a fair amount of legroom and headroom, but the massive centre tunnel makes it best for two adults only. You also wish Mercedes included a panoramic sunroof than a normal one, to help the dark cabin open up a bit more.
But all these frivolities aside, the elephant in the room is the battery tech. Does it have enough range? How fast is charging? And what all tech is on offer? So let’s get right to it.
The EQC features two asynchronous electric motors, one for the front axle and the other for the rear axle with a combined output of 408V. The battery capacity is 80kWh, and before you dismiss it just because it is in double digits, it makes over 400bhp and a hysterical 760Nm of torque. All these numbers mean the EQC, while being a green and environmentally friendly SUV, can clock 0-100kph in just 5.1secs. So if you find yourself alongside a tuned Octavia RS with its driver revving and grinning at you, do know that you can wipe that grin right off his/her face in pin-drop silence.
But when it comes to an EV, outright performance is not too high on the priority list. What matters is the battery tech and the range it offers. Without a proper EV infrastructure, range anxiety remains one of the largest concerns, and that is something the EQC has covered. Mercedes claims the EQC can do over 450km on a single charge and while that is a lab-tested figure, you can expect the EQC to do over 350km comfortably. Now it might not seem like much, but for driving in the city, it is plenty to last you almost a week.
Then we come to the recharging. Apart from a 3.4kWh standard charger that is compatible with the three-pin socket at your house, Mercedes will also install a 7.4kWh AC wallbox charger at your home or office that takes 10 hours to fully charge the battery. However, to save you the stress of figuring out if you have the right infrastructure for the wallbox charger, Mercedes will send over technicians and have it checked for you. Now its not common, but if you do not have the right space and infrastructure for the AC wallbox, Mercedes will not even allow you to book the car. And they are German, so they really won’t.
Lastly, you also have the option of DC fast charging wherein the car can be topped up at 50kWh and be up and ready in just 90 mins. Then there is the regen, which again, is highly variable. There are five modes, unlike just the three that we are used to. It is customizable between Auto, D+, D, D- and D- -. Now it all sounds confusing, but it is relatively simple.
Auto is the car figuring out how much regen it needs, D+ is a sailing mode where you have no regen unless you put your foot on the brake, D is slight regen, D- is a bit stronger and D- – is like dropping anchor on a ship. It is quite heavy and is advisable to engage it only at slow speeds or while going downhill.
Judging an EVs driving dynamics is quite insignificant. The EQC is a car that is going to be driven in the city and driven sedately, so words like understeer and body roll are unnecessary. What is important and also impressive is the ride comfort. The suspension is soft and supple and bad roads are tackled with ease. There is little vertical movement, and overall, it offers a refined and stable ride. Very much in line with what a chauffeur-driven Merc owner would want. And why not because most owners will be spending a good amount of time in the back seat being whisked away for meetings. Like I mentioned, the ride quality is excellent, but what adds to the refinement is the silent motor. Despite having two high power motors, there is none of that electric whine usually associated with EVs. You get a silent cabin in the rear, and that just adds to the luxury quotient.
And luxury it is because prices for the EQC are to be expected to be around Rs 1 crore. Now for that kind of money, you are essentially saying no to a bigger and better equipped Mercedes GLS. But the EQC is not bang for the buck. It is you taking a responsible step towards a greener future. If you can afford it, don’t hesitate before putting down the cheque. Think of all the glaciers that are melting, think of the rampant pollution and think of the last few drops of oil left under the surface of the earth. You really would be making a difference and lastly, if for nothing and nobody else, buy it for yourself because the simple fact is, the more you drive the EQC, the more you can drive your AMG.