The switch from the internal-combustion engine to the electric motor is not something the German auto industry was particularly keen on. Granted, there have been a number of EV concept cars and prototypes, but the main effort was invested in perfecting conventional powertrains.
Now comes the first indication that times may be changing. Although it’s still not clear whether a comprehensive switch is feasible or even desirable, if it happens, Germany will be prepared. At Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s EQ sub-brand has been created for the purpose of developing and marketing a lineup of fully electric cars. The first one is the Mercedes-Benz EQC, unveiled today at an event in Stockholm.
Built at the same Daimler plant in Bremen, Germany, the new model shares many interior features with the GLC as well. But unlike the current GLC, this cockpit is fitted with the new MBUX user interface, an industry-leading system that includes cutting-edge infotainment and telematics functions, housed within two 10.3-inch display screens. Rose-gold accents on parts of the interior including the stitching and the slats in the HVAC vents are an exclusive EQ touch
We’ve ridden in a late prototype and were duly impressed by the quietness and straight-line performance of the new model. The EQC400’s powertrain, fed by an 80.0-kWh Accumotive lithium-ion battery pack, consists of two induction motors, one coupled to the front axle and one to the rear. Total output is 402 horsepower delivered to all four wheels. (Coincidentally, that is exactly the same as the iconic W140-series 600SEL that launched in 1990.) With 564 lb-ft of torque available at launch, it accelerates even faster than that V-12 S-class of yore: Zero to 60 mph is said to take just 4.9 seconds. Top speed, on the other hand, is far less impressive, with the EQC electronically governed at 112 mph. Five driving modes are offered: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport, and Individual. There also are five levels of regenerative braking, selectable via steering-wheel paddles, the most aggressive of which allows for one-pedal driving.
Mercedes-Benz claims a range of up to 200 miles. Using the standard DC fast charging, refilling the battery from 10 to 80 percent will take an estimated 40 minutes. Of course, the range comes with a penalty: The batteries alone weigh a whopping 1433 pounds. Total weight of the vehicle is estimated to be around 5350 pounds. The EQC400 moniker hints that there may be further versions to come, whether more powerful or less.