Saturday December 7, 2019

Back to the future as Mercedes goes electric

The German giant has finally taken its first meaningful step into the world of electric cars, writes Shane O'Donoghue

24th November, 2019

It is claimed that, in 1886, Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler invented the first car, the ‘Benz Patent Motor Car’. With heritage like that to call on, it should be of no surprise that Mercedes is drawing parallels between the world’s first automobile and its first serious foray into the world of electric car production.

The EQC is the German company’s new electric car, and in a none-too-subtle nod to the past, one of the high-spec launch models is called the 1886 Edition. We got to test it on Irish roads for a few days, and can confirm that there’s nothing retro about this big new electric SUV.

Built on the same platform as the Mercedes GLC, the EQC gets a large 80kWh lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors. That means all-wheel drive, while maximum power is rated at 408hp. It’s backed up by a 760Nm shove of torque from a standstill, which explains why this heavy car can still hit 100km/h from rest in just 5.1 seconds.

Fast acceleration from high-powered electric vehicles (EVs) is no longer a surprise, so Mercedes has sensibly focused on more important things in the EQC, such as refinement. The electric powertrain is silent enough, but the EQC features notably aerodynamic bodywork and even double glazing to further reduce unwanted noise. This really adds to the luxury feel, isolating the car’s occupants from the outside world. Although rear-seat space isn’t anything to write home about, the rest of the cabin is beautifully designed and built, with plenty of unique touches and, of course, the impressive widescreen ‘MBUX’ infotainment system up front.

Mercedes quotes a range of more than 400 kilometres on a full charge, which may be achievable if you stay away from the motorway speed limit, putting it on a level playing field with rivals such as the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace. Pricing starts at about €80,000.

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