EQC: A Mercedes Idiom for e-Mobility and Progressive Luxury
At the start of 2020, Mercedes will kick off its bold new EQ electric vehicle line in the USA with its 4-door EQC crossover SUV – the EQC 400. The vehicle has an all-new drive system featuring compact electric drivetrains at each axle, which gives it the sporty characteristics of an all-wheel drive vehicle, delivering 402 hp, 564 lb-ft of torque, and a 0 to 60mph in 4.9 seconds ability. With an 80kWh battery, a 200-mile range and the ability to fast-charge from 10 to 80 percent in 40 minutes, the EQC is the first vehicle produced under the product and technology brand “Mercedes-Benz EQ.”
By John Coulter, Current EV CMO
Mercedes says its EQC 400 “forges a striking new path in design. Grille and headlamps are combined in a sleek black-panel surface at front, an arrangement accentuated by an LED Light Band at the top. Within, an asymmetrical cockpit puts the driver in firm and intuitive control, while rose-gold accents give the electric vehicle its own clear aesthetic. Digital and physical merge seamlessly to empower whoever takes the wheel.”
“Equipped with the all-new MBUX media system, the EQC responds to the driver’s voice commands. The system helps to govern the car’s functions and it learns over time. Here, it’s been engineered with additional EQ settings to help manage the vehicle’s charge status, energy flow, range display and other features of e-driving. Along with the ECO Assist system that helps maintain maximum efficiency, the EQC is more than just an electric vehicle: It’s a bold statement about the future of driving.”
Mercedes calls its EQC “a pioneer for an avant-garde electric look while representing the design idiom of Progressive Luxury.” Its edge over the Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X will be its luxury car pedigree; an uncompromising blend of Mercedes comfort, performance, and premium-level styling that other car manufacturers try to emulate. Despite going electric, this SUV hasn’t forgotten its luxe heritage. This car isn’t a game changer, but it makes a statement that no other car is making at the moment. It provides a more luxurious space than the others. This will appeal to a large segment of SUV enthusiasts.
Why did Mercedes pick a crossover SUV to be its first pure electric vehicle? They’re a popular consumer choice at the moment. Crossovers offer the additional cargo and passenger space of an SUV without sacrificing handling, agility and visibility. Many come with all-wheel drive, larger, more comfortable seating areas and off-road capabilities.
The EQC 400 has the first two qualities, but not the third. Its 5.1″ ground clearance limits its abilities as an all-terrain vehicle. Its two best environments are the city and highway.
Now that electricity has emerged as the fuel that will propel the planet into the future, automakers are scrambling to flood the market with electric cars, trucks and, especially, SUVs and CUVs. Their popularity is undeniable; they’re currently the second-largest vehicle segment (combined). Forbes believes they could account for more than 40% of sales by 2025. More than half of the new e-Mobility cars debuting over the next two years will be Sports Utility Vehicles and Crossover Utility Vehicles.
The EQC 400’s all-wheel drive uses front and rear mounted asynchronous motors to deliver optimum efficiency. The EQC uses the front motor for light acceleration and medium speeds. For max speed, torque is switched to the rear axle motor. The EV has four powertrain, steering, and stability control modes, four basic regeneration modes for braking, and two drive programs with visual and haptic prompts to help drivers maximize efficiency and range. Or: you can just climb in the car and start driving without thinking about it.
Equipped with the all-new MBUX media system, the EQC responds to the driver’s spoken language. You can ask it about electric vehicle-specific issues like: “Where’s the closest charging station?” The system supervises the car’s functions and learns over time, based on driver habits. In the EQC, the MBUX has been programmed with EQ settings to help manage the vehicle’s charge status, energy flow, range display and other electric driving features. Four driving modes are offered: Eco, Comfort (the startup default), Sport, and Maximum Range. The MBUX interface appears on the car’s large, free-standing digital instrument panel and infotainment screen which stretches almost halfway across the dashboard area. Graphics are clean and easy to read.
The MBUX system finds charging locations along your route and can display them on the car’s screen or through a companion iOS/Android app. The system makes it easy to adjust the amount of battery time you want to allocate between charging stations, if you’re taking a longer trip. Mercedes is planning to create payment partnerships with 80% of the US and European charging stations. The scenario envisioned by Mercedes will allow drivers of EQ cars to use their vehicles as a form of payment. The charging station will “recognize” the car, let you charge, and bill your credit card. The process will be similar to ApplePay.
No prices have been announced in the USA, but based on price points of Audi E-Tron and Jaguar I-Pace models already on sale in the USA and Europe, industry experts anticipate the base model EQC 400 MSRP will be around $70,000, with fully-loaded versions hitting $80,000.
The EQC400 is a high-end, eco-conscious vehicle with a Mercedes badge. In the fast-growing luxury SUV market, it will find plenty of takers.