With the brand-new EQC, Mercedes begins a new chapter of electric cars in the modern era. But can the EQC, with an impressive real-world range, make a place for itself in the SUV-obsessed Indian market?
For decades now, Mercedes-Benz has been the benchmark for luxury motoring in India. What’s more, it’s considered a social symbol of success and wealth – owing a Mercedes means that you’ve made it in life. And despite the attempts of its German rivals in the past couple of decades, Mercedes still has a special place in the hearts, minds and garages of the affluent in India.
Beacon of change
Now, the automotive world is currently in a state of flux, and regulators are in a state of indecision about the fuel that should propel vehicles in future. Mercedes, though, has always been at the forefront of the technology needed to meet future requirements, and to that end they’ve launched the EQC 400 in India. This means that the Mercedes EQC 400 is the first fully-electric luxury car in the country. And that’s significant, as it’s the first product from a range of all-electric vehicles from Mercedes that will hit the global market in a very short span of time.
However, while the EQC varies from its traditional siblings in many ways, its overall design is very similar to that of the car it’s based on – the Mercedes GLC SUV. Based on the same platform as the GLC SUV, the EQC has the same profile for the most part, but with a smattering of changes, which include different detailing and unique wheels. Both the front and rear end feature bespoke styling, which distinguishes it from its ICE sibling and even the larger Mercedes SUV line-up.
Now, most elements of the EQC’s interior are similar to that of other Mercedes products, including the excellent multimedia display and centre console controls. However, the extended ‘boat-style’ dash of the EQC really catches your attention – it’s very well designed and gives the interior a premium and unique identity. Its plush seats and good interior quality, along with the unique design touches and fit-and-finish, make the interior a cornucopia of luxury and comfort.
While the EQC doesn’t have acres of rear-seat space, it can, nevertheless, comfortably seat four adults.
A lot of work is underway to improve the efficiency and refinement of electric vehicles. A similar focus has been on the aerodynamics of EVs, the results of which are quite apparent in the EQC – as its drag coefficient is pretty low at 0.27. This means that the EQC is incredibly slippery, which, of course, adds to its range on a single charge.
This ‘green’ Benz is powered by two asynchronous electric motors – one on the front axle and the other on the rear axle. The 80kWh battery is mounted low down in the chassis to ensure a low centre of gravity. However, at around 652kgs, the battery does add a fair amount to the overall weight. A unique aspect of the EQC’s electric powerplant are the orange cables, which point to the fact that the EQC uses a high-voltage system – approximately 408 Volts. In other words, it uses special cables to deal with the high-voltage electric current.
How far & fast can it go?
Of course, the first question that comes to mind with regard to an electric vehicle is its range, which is hardly surprising. On a full charge, the EQC is claimed to provide a range of over 450km, according to the NEDC test cycle. The time needed to charge the EQC from 10% to 100% varies from up to 21 hours with a portable charger, to 10 hours with an AC wall box, and 90 minutes with a 110kW DC fast charger.
In terms of the driving experience, the first thing you notice is an eerie quietness that pervades the cabin because of the lack of engine noise. The electric motors propel you in virtually utter silence, but you get used to this uncanny feeling of serenity quite quickly. With its 408bhp and 760Nm of torque, the EQC’s acceleration is instant, enough to literally pin you into your seat.
The instant torque from the electric motors and the all-wheel-drive system allow the EQC to do the 0 to 100km/h sprint in just 5.1 seconds, which is fantastically quick and, frankly, quite addictive.
During our test, we drove the EQC both on choked Delhi roads, during peak-hour traffic, and the open Delhi-Jaipur highway, and it constantly indicated a usable range of around 350kms, which is, by all means, a pretty impressive figure.
The question of price
So, if you’re looking for a luxury electric vehicle for everyday driving, the EQC ticks all the right boxes. Its size is perfect for Indian roads – although this means that there’s limited rear-seat legroom – but that apart, it’s powerful, quick, and, most importantly, offers close to 350kms of practical, everyday driving range on a single charge. The problem, of course, is going to be the price. The EQC has been priced at around $70,000 in the US, so expect it to run you over a crore in India after taking into account all the duties that an imported vehicle attracts.
And that’s the rub, isn’t it? Sure, many Indian customers would want to buy a capable, practical electric SUV like the EQC, but the lack of charging infrastructure and its exorbitant pricing, especially when compared to a similar fossil-fuel-powered vehicle, mar its potential popularity. And this means that the EQC, despite being a technological tour de force, will remain a niche product. Nevertheless, it’s still a demonstration of what Mercedes-Benz can offer to the future of automobiles.
The interior includes Mercedes’ excellent multimedia display and centre console controls.
The EQC is powerful, quick, and, most importantly, offers close to 350kms of practical, everyday driving range on a single charge.
- Mercedes-Benz EQC
Engine: Dual Asynchronous AC Motors
Battery: 80kWh Lithium-ion
Transmission: Single-Speed Automatic
Range: 450+ kms (NEDC test cycle)
Charger Types & Charge Time : 50kWh DC Fast Charger - 1h 30 mins (10-100%)
7.4kWh AC Wallbox - 10 hours (10-100%)
Home Connection 3.4kWh - 21 hours (10-100%)
X-Factor: A premium luxury SUV that is also environmentally friendly – proving that luxury and green don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
• Practical range
• Instant acceleration