Mercedes-Benz EQC is a monumental EV debut
Mercedes-Benz EQC is a big, burly SUV and the brand’s first pure electric, mass production vehicle, but is already joined by a growing, variously sized, electric family
We’re a little late to explore Mercedes-Benz’s first attempt at a pure electric, mass production vehicle. The new Mercedes-Benz EQC is a big, burly SUV, roughly equivalent in size and price to the current GLE model. This in turn is the modern-day evolution of Mercedes’ debut SUV, the ML, which launched all the way back in 1997. For a time, the EQC stood alone as the only pure electric car in the company’s line-up (alongside several plug-in hybrid models), the first of ten planned EVs in the EQ series that are set to be launched in the next couple of years. The big hitter, the EQS, is also with us, an impressive electric reimagination of Mercedes’ flagship S-Class saloon. There’s also the smaller EQA, EQB, EQE and EQV, implying that the company is hellbent on following its long-standing system of similarly styled but slightly differently sized cars.
Like all car makers, it’s starting its EV journey at the top of the market; as battery tech and margins improve, you can expect electric Mercedes to get smaller and smaller.
The EQS is an American-scale SUV – that is to say, it is absolutely massive. The exterior design has a slippery, slightly soap-bar like character that appears to have had some of its detailing worn away. Gone are the instant visual signifiers that scream ‘Mercedes’, even the three-pointed star looks slightly lost in the glass-encircled grille.
The company was an early master of the art of consistent, corporate design. Mercedes imbued its entire fleet of vehicles with a set of scalable visual values that ensured even the smallest cars in its range shared DNA with their more refined stablemates. In the past two decades, the arrival of SUVs and crossovers has muddied the clear waters of car design and its simple hierarchies. These days, small cars still ape their elder siblings, but the imitation is paler and the flattery less sincere.
The EQC’s unassuming exterior is countered by a very stylish cabin design, dominated by a dashboard-wide screen that feels sufficiently futuristic. Refinement is top notch, although there’s no disguising the weight of the batteries over bumps and rough roads. At a shade under 260 miles, the range is best described as adequate, although fast-charge compatibility with the expanding IONITY network will ease the inevitable range anxiety (many owners will doubtless have access to their own charge box).
In the meantime, you get the satisfying feeling of boosting driving efficiency through the paddle-mounted regeneration function – click to increase the amount of kinetic energy the brakes pump back into the batteries. There’s also an array of sensor-driven systems that will automatically eke out as much battery life as possible, sifting through data from satnav, radar systems and speed limit info and making the necessary invisible adjustments.
For the time being, switching to electric is still a consumer choice, but it won’t be for very much longer. More affordable EVs are appearing all the time, although in the world of Mercedes, even its smallest electric cars tend to have premium prices. Mercedes is a strong player in mass-market luxury, and its broad sweep of EVs should retain the prestige (and price) the marque has always commanded.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC might be full of advanced technology, but it still commands attention like a traditional brawny SUV, not a mobility pioneer. §