2020 Mercedes Benz EQC charging 900x600 ・ Photo by Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz has just flipped the “on” switch for its newest sub-brand, EQ, with the unveiling of the Mercedes-Benz EQC all-electric crossover. The automaker is positioning the EQC as “the Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles,” as it joins the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace in what is expected to become a growing segment.
Slated to go on sale in the United States in 2020, Mercedes-Benz says the EQC represents “Progressive Luxury.” There is no doubt that its designers wanted to make sure that prospective buyers know it is a Mercedes-Benz. An indication of that is the traditional Mercedes-Benz grille affixed to the black-panel nose. At night, however, the design becomes less conventional with a virtually uninterrupted LED light band extending across the front end of the vehicle.
The EQC’s engineering uses leading-edge technology to support a driving experience worthy of the Mercedes-Benz name. The crossover features an all-new propulsion system using compact electric “drivetrains” — motor and transmission components — at each axle. To reduce power consumption when maximum power is unneeded, the front electric motor drivetrain is optimized for best efficiency in most everyday driving situations, while the rear motor drivetrain adds torque when needed. Instances that would prompt engagement of the rear drive system include sharp acceleration and low-traction/bad-weather situations. The combined power of the front and rear electric drivetrains is 402 horsepower and an astounding 564 pound-feet of torque.
An 80 kWh lithium-ion battery supplies the vehicle with power, but there’s more to it than that. To squeeze the maximum miles out of the available juice, the EQC has five driving modes that tutor and nurture the driver: Comfort, Sport, Individual, Eco and Max Range (the last not to be confused with a minor Marvel action hero.) The Individual program enables the driver to customize the responses. In Eco and Max Range, the haptic-enabled accelerator pedal prompts the driver to conserve power through vibration. Paddles situated behind the steering wheel don’t shift gears but instead influence the aggressiveness of the regenerative brakes.
When approaching a road section with a lower speed limit, the Eco Assist system prompts the driver to lift off the accelerator. To enable this, navigation data, traffic sign recognition and information from radar and stereo camera are linked and processed. The system also decides when it is appropriate to coast, and it controls the battery recuperation level, making it more stringent than in other modes. Mercedes-Benz reports the EQC’s maximum range on a charge could be as high as 279 miles. Electric vehicles are typically quiet, but some emit an unpleasant whine. Mercedes-Benz engineers addressed that and other noise issues by isolating the powerpack with rubber mounts where it connects to its subframe and where the subframe connects to the body. The vehicle also uses a sound-deadening material to assure a quiet cabin interior.
As to the brand, EQ was chosen as the name because it symbolizes “electric intelligence” akin to a person’s IQ, or intelligence quotient. The linking to intelligence will extend beyond the two letters of the sub-brand as well. It seeks to initiate dialogue with visionaries, business people and opinion leaders in the “EQ Community,” so look for your invitation in the mail.