Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off the all-new EQC electric SUV in Stockholm this week, launching the first salvo at Tesla and the quickly approaching competition from its German rivals. Slated to go on sale in the U.S. in 2020, the GLC-size crossover is powered by an 80-kWh battery, giving it a range of about 279 miles (in the notoriously optimistic New European Driving Cycle) on a full charge and a combined output of 402 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque courtesy of two electric motors located on both axles offering different outputs — good enough for 4.9-second sprints from 0-60 mph.
Mercedes promised an official U.S. range a little later, closer to the market debut of the EQC 400, which is not unusual given the market-specific certification, but it will likely be a bit south of the 279-mile NEDC figure. The rollout of the EQC this week, therefore, represented an early production look at the first mass-market electric Mercedes, in a segment that will soon see plenty of competition from up and down the autobahn.
Just like the competition, the EQC will offer several different driving modes based on the energy needs of the moment, including eco and max range. A smart coasting function dubbed eco assist will use speed limit data, sign recognition and mapping technology to seek out places where the EQC will be able to coast to save energy. The front motor is geared toward range economy, while the rear motor optimizes performance; the EQC is designed to rely on the front motor for normal cruising, shifting power continuously in real time based on the terrain, load, and needs of the moment.
“The power consumption and range of electric vehicles depends very much on the driving style,” Mercedes says. “The EQC supports its driver with five driving programs through dynamic select, each with different characteristics: comfort, eco, max range, sport and individual for an individually customizable program. In the more economical driving modes, the haptic accelerator pedal that prompts the driver to conserve power plays an important role. The driver is also able to influence the recuperation level using paddles behind the steering wheel.”
Speaking of energy, the 80-kWh battery places the EQC a little south of the competition, which will include the Jaguar i-Pace with its 90-kWh battery and Audi e-tron with its 95-kWh battery. But it’s a little too early to compare the power and ranges of these three vehicles, for obvious reasons.
Sporting familiar styling and dimensions, the EQC 400 is meant to be instantly recognizable as a Mercedes and instantly recognizable as a GLC-size model, which has been a resounding hit for the automaker, making it less a surprise that the first battery-electric Mercedes is neither a large sedan nor a sleek, droplet-shaped hatchback. As such, luxury and space are in similar supply to the GLC-Class, making it easy for those shopping for a gas or diesel-engined crossover or SUV with these features and dimensions to choose an electric vehicle instead.
“Electric now has a Mercedes — with the EQC, we are putting the first Mercedes‑Benz of our new product and technology brand EQ onto the roads,” said Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG. “EQ stands for ‘Electric Intelligence’ and represents Mercedes-Benz in its most progressive way. We are systematically using human-centered innovation by incorporating intelligent services and networked charging solutions for our customers from the very start.”