Mercedes-Benz reveals all-new EQC electric SUV
First example of Mercedes’ new EQ sub-brand looks like a winner
With Tesla continuously challenged from its inability to hit Model 3 build targets, Mercedes-Benz has been quietly reinventing itself with some enticing electric vehicles of its own.
Certainly Tesla has helped to pave the way by proving that electric luxury cars can be successful, and therefore benefits from a cult-like following of diehard fans, most premium buyers appreciate the stability of a heritage-rich legacy luxury brand, whether opting for an EV, plug-in hybrid or a more conventional powertrain. After all, it’s important to have confidence in your investment, and the knowledge that Mercedes-Benz can trace its roots back to the first automobile ever produced in 1885, and has been successfully building all types of vehicles for well over a hundred years is unparalleled in the industry.
Of course, choosing an established brand with strong business credentials like Mercedes-Benz means that it will still be in business for decades to come, which allows a strong resale value for your car, the ability to fulfill its warranty obligations, plenty of parts and software upgrades, dealership support for your car’s service requirements, and much more.
New EQ sub-brand combines unique identity with Mercedes confidence
With such a long and storied heritage and what might be the most enviable brand equity in the business, Mercedes would have been foolish to create a totally new electric car brand, unassociated with the three-pointed star. Still, EV buyers rightfully wear their environmental stewardship proudly and therefore want their emissions-free ride to stand out from the internal combustion crowd. What to do? Mercedes-Benz has smartly created the new EQ sub-brand, allowing a unique naming strategy and design philosophy, yet still providing customers with the confidence derived from the Mercedes badge. The first vehicle to be created under this new nameplate is the EQC 400.
The EQC 400 appears similar in shape to the current Mercedes GLC, but don’t let its looks fool you into believing it’s the same under the skin, as the new EV rides on a completely unique chassis architecture designed from the ground up to be an electric vehicle, while it also receives frontal styling that’s unlike anything ever offered by the Stuttgart-based brand.
Before delving into design, the EQC 400’s new underpinnings support an all-new powertrain that’s can only be called a radical departure from previous Mercedes-Benz models, or at least anything offered here. South of the border our American friends have benefited from the B-Class Electric Drive for the past four years, an EV that actually sourced its Lithium-ion battery pack from Tesla after using the same company’s electric motor for prototype development, but the new EQC 400 is a wholly modernized Mercedes-powered EV with an in-house developed and produced battery and drivetrain to boot.
Mercedes-Benz has a long history of plug-in cars and SUV
While we’re on the subject of past Mercedes plug-ins, the German automaker has long been electrifying versions of its C-Class, E-Class and S-Class sedans, plus two of its more popular sport utilities. The GLC 350e 4MATIC compact luxury SUV and the GLE 550e 4MATIC mid-size luxury SUV are still available in Canada, but the new EQ sub-brand will soon be the sole face of EVs for Mercedes-Benz, an automaker that actually claims its first hybrid hit the road back in 1906 (they should seriously consider bringing back that car’s “Mixte” nameplate for future M-B EQ hybrids as it’s a great moniker).
As it stands, the new EQC 400 continues to wear a big, bold, chromed Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star on its front grille and rear liftgate, not to mention each wheel cap, while making a large semicircle below its grille is a big black moustache shaped panel, formalizing the look so to speak.
The EQC 400’s frontal appearance gets slightly augmented depending on trim, the classier Electric Art version modified with a thinner moustache and a more aggressive lower apron in the sportier AMG Line, and despite being a zero-emissions vehicle with environmental stewardship high on its agenda, sporty is the predominant theme. Keep in mind this is a five-person luxury crossover SUV, yet it can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 5.0 seconds, or alternatively if attempting to go farther on a single charge can manage up to 450 kilometres of EV range on the NEDC test cycle.
Interior provides best of high-tech infotainment and top-tier luxury
You’ll be able to monitor range, performance and other parameters via two massive tablet-style 10.25-inch media displays, which are uniquely placed ahead of louvred panels that look like high-end stereo amplifier heatsinks. It’s not uncommon for an automaker to pull styling cues from audio design, and in alignment with modern tastes and sentiments the EQC maintains a minimalist approach to switchgear, with a centre stack made up of a long horizontal line of aluminized rockers that’s complemented by another row of glossy black buttons below.
That’s not to say it’s too understated, the EQC’s big centre vents wonderfully eye-catching for their unique shape as well as some oh-so stylish rose gold accenting, and while the colourful metal decorates other key points through the cabin take heed that it’s specific to the aforementioned Electric Art trim, with the AMG Line getting a decidedly sportier motif in its place. Motive power source aside, the “Electric” part of the equation gets its name from plentiful blue accent lighting, which is an appealing combination.
Speaking of colourful, the Stuttgart brand’s MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system features some EQ-specific functions such as range, charge status and energy flow information, plus a navigation system that optimizes route guidance to maximum that range via an Eco Assist feature, directs you to a charging facility when required, while the MBUX system manages charging current and departure time and more.
Additionally, the EQC gets its own Alexa-inspired personality that only needs a “Hey Mercedes” prompt to call up most any request your heart desires. For instance, if you say, “Hey Mercedes, I’m cold” it will increase the automatic climate control system’s temperature by one degree. The “Hey Mercedes” system utilizes a remote server via internet connection for most requests, and only relies solely on its onboard computer if outside help can’t be found.
Electrifying performance comes from dual-motor all-wheel drive
While performance and range was mentioned earlier, exactly how Mercedes makes all the electrics keep pace is mostly straightforward as far as modern-day EVs go. It’s a two-motor drivetrain, with the unspecified frontal unit providing the EQC’s most economical operation, meaning that it takes over motive force when cruising and/or under lighter loads. The motor in back, also unspecified, is primarily for performance, supposedly allowing for traditional Mercedes rear-biased get-up-and-go. Combined, the two make a substantial 402 horsepower and a staggering 564 lb-ft of immediate torque.
A lithium-ion battery pack is separated into two modules that contain 48 cells apiece, with the other four packs consisting of 72 cells each, resulting in a total of 384 cells and an 80-kWh capacity.
In order to move away from stoplights quickest you’ll need to set the EQC’s Dynamic Select driving mode selector from Max Range, Eco or Comfort to Sport, or Individual if you’ve got this setting optimized for performance.
No shortage of active safety features
Stopping power won’t be an issue thanks to sizeable discs at each corner and a bevy of advanced driver assistance systems such as Active Brake Assist, while a Driver Assistance Package improves the brake assist and adds Evasive Steering Assist, Pre-Safe Plus, and Exit Warning Assist to a suite of convenience and safety features like Active Distance Assist Distronic and traffic jam following.
We can expect the new EQC to arrive in Canada by 2020, but we’ll have to wait until that time draws near before we’ll get an idea about pricing, trims and market-specific features.
Until then, enjoy the videos Mercedes has provided below, and then make sure to put your name on a new EQC by contacting Mercedes-Benz Langley by phone at (604) 533-1205 or by dropping by the dealership in person at 20801 Langley Bypass, Langley.
Electric now has a Mercedes: The all-new EQC (0:48):
Electric now has a Mercedes: The all-new EQC | Trailer (1:56):
Mercedes-Benz EQC world premiere in Stockholm | Highlights (2:48):
Mercedes-Benz EQC world premiere in Stockholm | Re-Live (19:20):
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press
Photo credits: Mercedes-Benz
Copyright: Canadian Auto Press Inc.