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An All-Electric Mercedes-Benz SUV

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India still barely has an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Multi-story apartments – even those at high-end housing companies – don’t have charging points for electric vehicles, and you’ll be lucky to find charging options on major highways and highways. That hasn’t stopped Mercedes-Benz from launching the all-new EQC 400 4MATIC in India. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the EQC is its engine. Or rather, the fact that he doesn’t. Instead, you get two asynchronous electric motors (one for the front and rear axles), powered by an 80 kWh lithium-ion battery. The electric motors have a total power of 300 kW (408 hp) and a torque of 765 Nm. Impressive, right? Maybe getting rid of that internal combustion engine wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

“With the EQC, Mercedes-Benz’s first fully electric SUV, we are flipping the switch. Electric propulsion is a major element of the mobility of the future. We are therefore investing over € 10 billion in expanding our portfolio of EQ models and over € 1 billion in global battery production, ”said Dieter Zetsche during the unveiling of the EQC, in 2018. Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the time, was fully committed to electric power and is said to have largely pushed the development of electric vehicles at Mercedes-Benz.

Now, electric or not, the EQC drives like a modern Mercedes-Benz car should; you don’t need to shut it down just because it doesn’t have an IC motor. With its curb weight of 2,425 kilograms (about 500 kilograms more than the regular GLC, on which it is based), the EQC is certainly not light. And yet, its two electric motors are capable of taking it from zero to 100 km / h in 5.1 seconds, then to an electronically limited top speed of 180 km / h. The range is even more impressive: drive the EQC sensibly and you will get a range of up to 450 km on a full charge. And speaking of a full charge, the EQC can be charged via an ordinary household electrical outlet, although going from zero to full takes a little over 20 hours. Do you want faster? It will cost you, but Mercedes can install a 7.4kW wallbox charger in your home, which will reduce the charging time to 10 hours much more acceptable. To reduce power consumption – an important factor for electric vehicles – the front and rear electric transmissions are configured differently. The electric motor at the front is optimized for low-speed efficiency, while the motor at the rear supports higher load conditions; for example, when you want to accelerate strongly or perform an overtaking maneuver. Governed by the car’s on-board computers, the two electric motors work in tandem to give you the best range, dynamic performance and optimum efficiency. In addition, the driver can choose between five driving modes (comfort, eco, maximum range, sport and one that is individually customizable), each one optimized for a different set of requirements.

Besides high performance levels, Mercedes-Benz has also worked hard to reduce or eliminate noise and vibration. Twin electric motors are isolated via rubber mounts at the point where the power supply unit connects to the subframe, and also where the subframe connects to the body. This, along with other regular soundproofing measures taken on Mercedes cars, ensures that the interior of the EQC remains very quiet, even when the vehicle is in full swing. While the EQC is based on the Mercedes GLC, it has its own visual identity. With a massive black grille up front, redesigned headlamps, and a fiber-optic light bar running across the top of the front grille, connecting the headlights on either side, the EQC has a unique face. The LEDstrip taillights at the rear are a sleek design and give the vehicle a very modern and contemporary feel. The EQC rides on 20-inch alloy wheels, which feature understated blue accents exclusive to the EQC. Inside, it’s luxury like Mercedes does best; generously proportioned seats, high quality materials, impeccable fit and finish and, of course, the inevitable 10.25-inch color touchscreen for infotainment and the fully digital instrument console. It’s the little details that make the EQC’s cabin a little special. Silk-like Sunnyvale fabric on the dash, copper-finished AC vents, and denim blue leather wrap around the doors, for example. There are some drawbacks, however. In the rear, the passenger in the middle seat has to contend with a high transmission tunnel. This, in an electric vehicle? Why? (The legacy of the GLC, no doubt, but we wish Mercedes had done something about it.)

The one area where the EQC is unable to compete with its IC-powered competitors is ride and handling. With 650 pounds of Li-ion battery hanging low between its front and rear wheels, the EQC’s suspension has to work really hard to cope, and it shows. Despite all the advanced electronics that help it, the EQC can show understeer in tight corners. Driving, too, can be a bit jittery and never feels completely tuned, especially over rough terrain. Also, you need to be careful when crossing large speed bumps, to avoid scratching the battery. SUV or not, the EQC isn’t exactly meant to go full blast on really bad roads, and you can probably forget about driving off-road if you want your EQC to last. The EQC is a competent and luxurious SUV that will easily handle whatever city and highway use you can offer it, although it is best to avoid rough roads. For those who live in apartments, charging can be a challenge to find a conveniently located charging point. Installing a Mercedes ‘wallbox’ charger can only be an option for those who live in an independent townhouse (as opposed to an apartment) and without one of these more than 20 hours for a full charge can be a problem for some.

Nonetheless, we have to remember that electric mobility is in its early days in India and early adopters need to be prepared for some challenges. At an estimated ex-showroom price of Rs 1 crore, the EQC certainly won’t be cheap. In fact, all things considered, it probably won’t be very good value for the money. That said, green is the new cool. And if you’re committed to reducing your carbon footprint and want to show that you really, really care about the planet, you might consider putting EQC on your shopping list.

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