As the industry moves towards an electric future, we spend a few days with the Mercedes-Benz EQC to find out what it’s like to drive an electric vehicle on the everyday commute.
Driving as an activity can be easily categorised into two groups – adventure and daily commute. We can broadly define the former as a long road trip, full of uncertainties, given the diversity of our country, and the latter as, well, the daily grind that most of us endure twice a day.
In this ‘Discovering the Electric Car’ series, we have had our share of adventure last month, wherein we took the EQC to the Kaas Plateau, so now, it’s time for us to take on the more serious task of figuring out how the EQC deals with the everyday commute.
Power with Comfort
Now, the first thing that strikes you about the EQC is its usability as a daily driver. The size of the EQC certainly helps here, making it a breeze to drive and park in the city. But, more importantly, it’s the drivetrain that shocks you, both literally and figuratively, and in a good way. The instant availability of 700Nm of torque means that every time you exercise your right foot, the EQC leaps forward like a ferocious feline. Pair this with the minimal noise of the electric powertrain, and you won’t have any difficulty realising that the EQC offers a unique driving experience.
The instant torque and power delivery of the EQC make driving in urban traffic a supremely easy task, while the 370kms of real-world range effectively addresses the issue of range anxiety.
The instant acceleration and the inherent quietness of the cabin are characteristics that an urban consumer is likely to appreciate – for the former makes the EQC feel really easy to drive in the city, and the latter ensures that you really enjoy your favourite tracks in peace and quiet of the cabin.
While we found the EQC very useful on our road trip, thanks to its 350 – 375km of real-world range on a single charge, we couldn’t help but wonder if we could use it for an entire week of commuting in Delhi, without ever needing to charge it even once. We know that range anxiety is a real issue – something that begins to build up as the battery depletes and the available range begins to shrink.
The idea was to test the EQC in a similar situation and see how it feels. So, the route we decided to follow was from Noida to our office in Delhi – a 35km round trip every day, with a mix of slow and fast roads. We deliberately chose this route, for it was perfect for us to test how the EQC fares in different conditions.
Now, the range and the duration of an EV battery depends on a number of factors, which includes the distance travelled, your driving style, and the number of additional features, such as AC and lights, used. Since we tested the EV in October, there was very little need for the air-conditioning, given the weather was already pleasant, which added to the overall range of an EV.
On the first day, when we started the test, the car displayed well over 370km of available range. A round-trip from home to the office later, the range had dropped by 40km, but the number of kilometres actually driven was only 33. It wasn’t a bad start – not at all! – but could it continue for an entire week?
We tested the EQC on the same commute every day for the next five days, by the end of which we had only consumed 150km of range – the car was still displaying a comfortable 220km of range left. So, we decided to get a bit adventurous and drove it to Cyber Hub in Gurgaon and back – a round-trip of 80km from Noida. The idea was to see how it fared and the way it would affect our weekly commute. Remember, we wanted to see if we could use the car for an entire week without charging it.
Before that adventurous trip to Cyber Hub, we had the following question in mind – will the extra kilometres or traffic affect the EQC adversely in terms of range? Well, not really, as we soon found out, for, on the highway sections of the drive, the EQC coasted with ease. Plus, the effectiveness of its brake regeneration system also added to the overall ease of the journey. Moreover, after covering 230kms in six days, we still had 140kms of range left for our Sunday commute. Being able to travel the whole week without even needing to charge even once certainly does address the concerns for range anxiety. After all, if after a week’s driving you still have over 100km of range available, where is the question of anxiety? Also helping here is an extensive set of charging points available at Mercedes India dealerships across the country – each equipped with fast chargers – which can be accessed in case you need a quick recharge midweek.
There is hardly any doubt that the suitability of an EV, given our current infrastructure, is a major concern, but, as our week with the EQC proves, if your daily commute is in and around the city and the occasional road trip to nearby cities – which is the case for most urban commuters – an EV makes a great case for itself. Plus, you always have the option to charge the car at your home or workplace or even a Mercedes India dealership. And honestly, given the prices of fossil fuels these days, not needing to pay through your nose for fuel is a very good feeling indeed.
The lack of noise inside the cabin is one of the highlights of the EQC. Pair that with the superb Burmester sound system, and you soon begin to revel in this EV during your commute.