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Electric car – First impression: Mercedes EQC 400

There are two ways to look at the Mercedes electric car: brilliant – or slightly less flattering.

Mercedes is in a somewhat difficult period in Norway. They have a lot of good models, but Norwegians flock to rechargeable cars.

And while electric car & # 39; s sales have fallen, the new EU testing methods have made Mercedes stop its best-selling rechargeable hybrids pending new models.

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After the first four months of the year, Mercedes has given half the cars & # 39; s to customers than after the first four in 2018.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

But now the initiative that Mercedes hopes – and can be counted on – will begin to change the trend: the company is currently launching its first real electric car internationally for several hundred journalists in Oslo.

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The initiative for electric cars for Mercedes is called EQ. By 2022, Mercedes will have seven of its own electric cars, as well as three electric smart cars.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

Start more SUV

The first is the EQC, which for all practical purposes is an electric version of the GLC of the SUV. Mercedes claims that 80 percent of the car has been replaced, but the most basic construction is identical on the two cars.

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There are marginal changes in the length and width of the car, but nothing of significance.

So basically comparable are the cars that Mercedes has not been able to make at the front of a separate luggage compartment – something that almost all other electric car competitors have. More about this later.

This is what the EQC looks like when you disconnect most things that are not related to the actual powertrain. Note the "grid" around where the gearbox should actually be.
Photo: Magnus Blaker

The big difference is that the engine and the powertrain of the car have been replaced. The EQC is equipped with two 150 kW (204 hp) engines, which theoretically deliver 408 hp.

This places the car in the same class as i-Pace, and slightly stronger than Audi e-Tron.

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Although the two engines are equally strong, the Mercedes engineers say they are still very different:

Mercedes says the front engine is designed for efficiency and the rear engine is too powerful. This means that the car usually pulls on the front wheels at normal long distances, while the rear wheels contribute the most during acceleration.

Mercedes currently only reports the net capacity of the battery, which is 80 kWh. Gross capacity is in the order of 4-5 percent larger.
Photo: Magnus Blaker

Pretty large battery

The battery has a net capacity of 80 kWh, and Mercedes claims that it must remain "417 km" according to the WLTP standard – depending on which equipment variant you choose. There is nothing more than e-Tron, which has a larger battery.

During our limited launch while driving, in unusually bad corn weather, we were not close to reaching the given figures.

The car even thought when we picked it up that the range was about 320 km.

During a somewhat active test drive we had an average consumption of more than 37 kWh / 100 km – while on a quieter journey from Jevnaker to Oslo we used around 25 kWh / 100 km.

We did not go for the maximum range, but 37.3 kWh per 100 km is not immediately impressive during a 90-minute period.

In fact, the car's own system meant that we had more than 74 kWh / 100 km for a short period after a cold start. This may indicate that small-scale driving on winter roads can be quite an energy-intensive affair.

Charging is done with a capacity of up to 110 kW with fast charging and fairly low 7.4 kW with normal charge (more about this later).

Photo: Magnus Blaker

Experienced as a normal (heavy) Mercedes

Mercedes has chosen to make a large number that their electric car is just an electric car, by distinguishing it in a separate brand. But when you're behind the wheel, it's a real Mercedes experience that you come across.

Everything inside works just as accurately as you would expect from another Mercedes.

The only real difference is that the levers on the handlebars do not allow you to switch, but instead change the amount of brake regeneration that you want when you release the gas. You have everything from nothing (D +) to ankle pedal (D–), where Mercedes claims that they can pick up up to 180 kW by releasing the gas.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

The EQC has 408 horsepower to take off, but doesn't feel as nimble as i-Pace – it offers more uninterrupted pushing. Mercedes has done everything to ensure that this is the comfortable car that you expect from a normal Mercedes without an AMG brand.

The car has almost magically a good suspension over the very worst of the Norwegian ferry offers – and is therefore a very comfortable car to go on tour with.

The fact that Mercedes seats are among the best on the market helps with this.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

The Germans also seem to have done a phenomenal task of limiting noise.

However, if you start using the forces of the car in turns, you will notice that the car moves a lot. EQC weighs 2495 kg – 360 kg more than i-Pace – and this is very well marked when you try to play.

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More weight and a lot of performance naturally have a big advantage: the car can tow trailers up to 1800 kg – it is more than a ton more than in-Pace.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

Mercedes interior with a dispute

The interior is far away identical to that of other Mercedes models, perhaps with the exception that they seem to have replaced some leather in the dashboard with a type of fabric that one would expect to find in an all-weather jacket.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

That means that everything is clear, delicate, functional and generally a nice place to be.

The car is equipped with the latest Mercedes infotainment, originally launched with a new A-class. It contains a very nice GPS with great graphics – as well as the new "Hey, Mercedes" wake-up command, which still doesn't understand a joke when turning off an address navigation system.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

The car also has Burmester sound systems, there is plenty of room for grown-ups in the rear seats – and in the trunk there is only 50 liters less space than in a regular GLC. 550 liters in total.

The best or cousins?

Based on the competitive situation, the EQC appears to be a reasonably attractive car, and it is also aggressively priced compared to its competitors.

But if we want to put ourselves in the critical corner, it's a bit of a challenge for the car.

Mercedes has embraced the motto "Das Beste oder nichts" for years: things have to be done as well as possible, or you can't be.

This kind of motto means something. Most would agree that a BMW that does not drive would have been a bomb attack – they live by the motto "Ultimate Driving Machine".

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With the EQC it is a treacherous feeling that that motto has been put away for a moment.

The EQC does not seem to be a car that follows the best – it looks like a car that will be competitive. It seems to be one compromise.

Mercedes has opted for a common standard charger for the car worldwide. That is why you need a maximum of 7.4 kW.
Photo: Magnus Blaker

We can start with the car, which has an 80 kWh battery, only has a standard charger of 7.4 kWh. When we asked the company why they had not opted for a faster solution, the first was that it was a question of packing – that a larger charger took up more space.

But in the end it turned out that an 11 kW charger would have been better in almost every way possible, partly because it immediately gives 400 V, but that they had chosen to go for the same charging solution throughout the world, and in China they had to 7 have 4 kW.

"The charger will be upgraded in future model years," said EQC lead developer Michael Kelz to Nettavisen during the launch, without wanting to take the time.

For comparison, Tesla Model 3 has 11 kW, Model S and X has 16.5 kW and cheap car Renault Zoe 22 kW.

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It does not bear the sign of stretching to the best.

The terrain of electric cars & # 39; s

Electric cars have totally different design requirements than cars with internal combustion engines. The way today's cars are designed is largely the result of building a car around a large engine and gearbox.

All the experience that major car manufacturers have is based on the way they have been producing cars for decades.

Front luggage compartment on Model S and Model 3.
Photo: Magnus Blaker

Tesla has had a different starting point where they started from the bottom of the hill, and have chosen to build their cars from the bottom to take advantage of the benefits that electric motor and batteries can offer.

The big advantage is that they have room for a large suitcase at the front, because you don't need a large engine block there. The disadvantage is that completely new thinking is very expensive – and the company loses a lot of money.

The fact that EQC is based on a traditional GLC means that development costs remain low.

The bottom solution is very safe and trusted. You know this won't be a failure.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

The challenge is that Mercedes has not made use of the possibility to build electric cars in other ways. They have therefore failed to pack the car optimally & # 39; & # 39 ;.

The way in which the security systems are built around the engine of a GLC does not even make Mercedes suitable for a mini boat in the front. This means that you must have the charging cable in the rear of the trunk.

The car also has parts of the tunnel for the gearbox and drive shaft. It gives less space – especially in the back seat.

Is it to live with? Definitely, again it does not bear the sign of stretching to the best.

Have thought about costs

Mercedes has also decided to avoid the air suspension they use in other GL models, which they freely admit to keep costs down.

We have already said that despite this almost magically good suspension on a bad road, the car has dynamic characteristics at the rear – and a ground clearance that will disappoint many.

Mercedes therefore controls the SUV concept itself to the extent that they can.

Photo: Magnus Blaker

Again, it is to live with – but air suspension would offer the opportunity for greater ground clearance and better handling when you first pull up. At least it should have been an option.

All in all there is a lot that indicates that Mercedes did not follow its own motto about "Das Beste", but more "Gut Genug". If you are the best on an electric car, you really have to build an electric car all by yourself. They didn't do that.

Does it make EQC a bad car? By no means! We estimate that customers will be happy. But it is easy to see the possibilities for improvement.

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