Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 Extended Drive To Red Rock Canyon

JAN 12 2019 BY TOM MOLOUGHNEY 41

Ride along with us in the EQC electric SUV.

Crusing down the strip in Las Vegas in the Mercedes EQC 400, it’s very possible to completely forget you’re in an electric car. The lights, outside music and inevitable slow crawl in Vegas strip traffic can remove some of the most enjoyable features of driving electric; that being the instant torque of the electric motor, the quiet cabin and smooth vibration-less acceleration.

So I was definitely pleased when Mercedes informed me we’d be leaving the lights and action of the Vegas strip, and venturing out to Red Rock Canyon for my EQC ride-along. Better yet, we were leaving before dawn, therefore, cruising around the winding canyon roads just as the sun rose.

The Mercedes EQC at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada at dawn.

Yes, I said ride-along, as Mercedes isn’t allowing any EQC press drives just yet, the sole exception being Jay Leno last week, but hey, he is Jay Leno. Luckily though, the driver was Mercedes engineer, Bastian Schult, who knows how to drive, and was more than willing to prove that. When urged, he even pushed the EQC to the point of slightly drifting around a few of the tight curves the canyon provided.

Perhaps aided by the morning dew on the road, but yes, you can drift in an EQC. In hindsight, I really wish I had a drone recording us as we carved up the winding roads of Red Rock at dawn. Schult was enjoying himself a little too much for the other Mercedes representative sitting in the back seat, who, more than once had to say, “OK, that’s enough of that,” before Schult eased off the accelerator and slowed down.

What was learned

Not a dedicated EV platform

The EQC is not a dedicated-platform EV.  It shares many components with the C-Class and GLC line. It’s going to be manufactured on the same line as the C-Class and GLC in Daimler’s plant in Bremen, Germany. Mercedes told us that by sharing the production line and components, they could easilly increase or decrease EQC production as needed to meet market demand. Europe will be first to get the EQC, with the launch planned for June 2019. The US will have to wait 7 or 8 months longer, until early 2020.

We believe the fact that the EQC doesn’t have a dedicated platform is the reason why there isn’t any storage space under the hood, and also probably part of the reason why the EQC weighs in at a porky 5,346 lbs. We were also told that the next few vehicles coming from the EQ line will be larger than the EQC, and have dedicated platforms, and be made at Mercedes’ Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant. In all, there will be 10 all-electric vehicles from Mercedes by 2022.

Range

As for range, Mercedes has been quoting 400 km, which is based on the European WLTP range test. Shult has been driving the EQC for a while now, and knows exctly what it’s capable of. He told us of a recent trip when they drove the vehicle (normal driving not hypermiling) 228 miles and had 7% battery left. He added that we’d have to wait for the official EPA range rating, but that he expects it to be about 220 miles. That seems about right if you do the math based on the 400 km WLTP rating (by the way, the “400” in the EQC 400 name, is based on the 400 km WLTP rating). On other EVs, we’ve noted that the EPA rating has been roughly 10% – 15% lower than the WLTP, and 220 is 12% lower than the 249 mi (400 km) the EQC was rated. For what it’s worth, the car estimated that it had 230 miles of range when we started out in the morning, fully charged.

Charging

The EQC is equipped with a 32-amp onboard charger, good for AC charging up to 7.4 kW. The car will come with a 120-volt portable EVSE in the US, and Mercedes will offer Level 2 charging options for purchase. As for DC Fast charging, the EQC will accept up to 110 kW, allowing the vehicle to charge from 10% to 80% in about 40 minutes. I asked why Mercedes didn’t match the Audi e-tron and provide 150 kW charging, and was told that they believe 110 kW works fine for the 80 kWh battery. If the battery was larger, then they would have possibly allowed a higher charging rate. It was further explained that Mercedes believes 10%-80% in 40 minutes is “quite good” for a 200+ mile EV in today’s market.

Driving Modes

There are four driving modes, plus an Individual customized setting. The four standard modes are: Comfort, Sport, Eco and Max Range. The car always defaults to Comfort upon startup. In Sport mode the car offers the most dynamic performance, with more power available off the line and more direct steering response. In Eco the car offers less power and is more efficient, and in Max Range, the vehicle will deliver the maximum possible range. Our Mercedes rep warned us that it’s not fun driving in Max Range, but it will get the driver most range available. Individual mode allows the driver to personalize certain driving characteristics to their liking.

Mercedes describes the driving modes as follows:

  • COMFORT: Default setting; accelerator pedal characteristic supports a comfortable driving style, but also automatically becomes more dynamic depending on the driving style.
  • ECO: Driving program focused on high efficiency and low consumption.
  • MAX RANGE: Intelligent driving program that can help the driver achieve the maximum possible range.
  • SPORT: Driving program focused on the best response for the highest driving performance.
  • INDIVIDUAL: Allows the driver to customize each individual parameter separately.

The EQC’s interior and dashboard is typical Mercedes. Beautifully laid out, and luxurious. The MBUX infotainment system looks great.

Regenerative Braking

The EQC has five different levels of regenerative braking. The most interesting is the default setting, called Auto. In this mode regenerative braking is constantly adjusting based on topography, traffic, stereo cameras, and radar data, to intelligently set the strength of regeneration. Mercedes believes most drivers will appreciate how well this mode works, and use it for the majority of their driving. For those who want stronger or weaker regeneration, there are paddles on the left and right side of the steering wheel, just like Hyundai has on the Kona Electric.

The left paddle strengthens the amount of regen, and the right one lessens it. One pull of the right paddle from the default Auto mode puts the car in “sailing” mode. We were told this is basically the same as freewheel coasting. The other extreme is One-Pedal mode which is activated by two pulls from the left paddle.  In D mode the vehicle mimics a conventional ICE with an automatic transmission. Below is how Mercedes describes the 5 regenerative braking modes:

  • D Auto (recuperation via ECO Assist to suit the situation)
  • D + (coasting)
  • D (low recuperation)
  • D – (medium recuperation)
  • D – – (high recuperation). This makes one-pedal driving possible, because in most situations the recuperative deceleration is enough not to require operation of the brake pedal.

Performance & Quiet Cabin

The EQC has two asynchronous 150-kW motors that deliver a total of 408 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque. That’s good enough to propel the heavy EQC for 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. As mentioned above, our driver really gave us a good idea of how well the electric crossover can perform when pushed, and it was definitely impressive. Hopefully, we’ll get the opportunity to drive an EQC ourselves closer to the European launch. Even though the two motors both produce 150 kW of power, they aren’t created equal. The motor in the front has only 5 windings, and is more efficient than the rear motor. The front motor will do most of the work by itself unless more power is needed. When that happens, the rear motor, that has 7 windings and is less efficient, is called upon to join in.

The cabin is extremely quiet, and is perhaps the quietest EV I’ve ever driven in, that says a lot. Mercedes spent a lot of time eliminating as much noise as possible, and it’s still not exactly where they want it to be. We were told this vehicle didn’t have the glass for the side windows that the production version will, which will be milimeters longer to close even the slightest gap that currently allows some outside noise in.

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC battery

Battery & Thermal Management

The EQC has an 80 kWh battery, which we found out during the drive is the usable capacity, not the total. The pack, the power electronics and drive motors are all liquid-cooled, and the vehicle also employs a heat-pump.

The EQC is equipped with the latest generation of a lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery serving as the energy source for both electric motors. The battery consists of 384 cells and is located in the vehicle floor, between the two axles. The battery system is modular in design, consisting of two modules with 48 cells each and four with 72 cells each. The powerful high-voltage battery has a nominal voltage of approx. 350 V and a nominal capacity of approx. 218 Ah, for an energy content of 80 kWh (according to NEDC/WLTP).

The integral overall cooling concept of the EQC, consisting of a heat pump function and two electric PTC heater boosters, not only includes the power electronics, the electric motor and the rotor, but also the battery. The entire battery system is liquid-cooled. At low temperatures a battery heater ensures outstanding performance and efficiency. – Mercedes

Conclusion

There’s a lot to like about the EQC. Personally, I like the exterior design, and I really like the interior, for both comfort and user experience. The Mercedes MBUX infotainment system is easy to navigate and intuitive. The Voice controls didn’t work very well, but I was assured that was because this was a pre-production vehicle and not made for the US market, which caused some connectivity issues.

The EQC has plenty of power and performed surprisingly well for a heavy crossover. Ride quality is what you’d expect from a Mercedes, as bumps and road irregularities disappear without notice under the vehicle. However, when called upon, the EQC can handle corners at speeds that most owners will never push it to. The cabin was exquisitely quiet and perhaps the quietest EV to date. There is plenty of cargo space behind the rear seats, (I forgot to confirm if the rear seats fold flat) and it can tow a respectable 3,968 lbs.

On the negative side, I think Mercedes dropped a ball on charging rates. In my opinion, large battery EVs like the EQC should have level 2 charging at 40-amps or 48-amps, like the Audi e-tron and Model 3, respectively. The 32-amp onboard charger will take about 11-12 hours to fully charge the EQC from empty. A 40-amp charger would cut that down to about 9 hours, and charging at 48-amps would be about 7.5 hours. However, the 110 kW DC fast rate is probably an even bigger fumble. Granted, there aren’t many cars that can charge at more than 110 kW today, but there will be in 2020 when the EQC launches in the US, and there will be quite a few charging stations that can deliver 150+ kW, courtesy of Electrify America.

While other manufacturers quoting DC fast recharging times often say, “Up to 80% in 30 minute,” Mercedes has to say “10-80% in 40 minutes.”  We realize that might not be a big deal for many Mercedes buyers, especially those new to EVs.  However, experienced EV owners understand how the extra 10 or 15 minute wait at a DC Fast charge station can be at the very least, annoying. The Audi e-tron, for example, is larger, has a bigger battery, can charge at 150 kW. Plus, the BMW iX3, another EQC competitor launching in 2020, will also support 150 kW charging. Mercedes should have offered the same 150 kW charge rate as the competition in our opinion.

That brings us to the price. Mercedes hasn’t yet announced pricing, so it’s difficult to really say how we feel about the EQC. If Mercedes can manage to keep the price at or under $75,000 we think it’s a good buy relative to the competition. The larger Audi e-tron lists at $79,500 and the smaller Jaguar I-Pace starts at $69,500. Both of which have larger batteries, but very similar ranges and standard features. Tesla dropping the Model X 75D was a belated Christmas present to Mercedes, as well as to Audi and Jaguar, because the least expensive Model X is now the 100D, which starts at $97,000.

That really opens up the market for the three European competitors (plus the BMW iX3 in 2020) to gain back some of the ground that Tesla had taken from them. Well, at least until the Model Y becomes available.

14 photos

 

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41 Comments on "Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 Extended Drive To Red Rock Canyon"

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“He told us of a recent trip when they drove the vehicle (normal driving not hypermiling) 228 miles and had 7% battery left.”

Sounds like solid real world range. In Bjorn’s latest range test video of Model 3 Performance, he got 246 miles down to 11% battery, but had EAP set to 90 km/h (56 mph) the entire way (10 C to 18 C ambient temperature). So while 220 miles might not sound impressive next to Model 3’s 310 miles, Mercedes may be conservative here.

This might not be a popular opinion here, but Tesla knows how to game the EPA efficiency test better than others, IMO. It’s much harder to duplicate EPA range numbers on a Tesla than most other EVs. Edmunds agrees.

Starts with the issue that it is really tedious to actually charge a Tesla to 100%.

Yea about as tedious as your FUD

Come on. You do actually own a Tesla (I simply believe you on this). You must know that you can look at the estimate at around 95% and it will tell you it will be done in 17 minutes. You come back 1h later and it still isn’t at 100%? That is just a joke. If the car can’t make it above 98% in a reasonable time maybe just go ahead and declare 95% to be 100% usable. Every other manufacturer does that. Of course those not achievable percentage are going to be missing from the range.
However, at least with the Model 3 there seems to be no charging speed penalty below 10%.

Tesla fans down voting this are just proving that they never even have driven and charged a Tesla.

No, eject. We have cars that made available wider charge windows, which require more taper as you near a full charge. Tesla makes more of its batteries available, to customers. That is a second reason they get more range.

Like the Chevy Volt first making only 65% of its 16 KWh available, when it first came out, the Germans will learn you can push these batteries harder without big longevity issues. Until then, and until they improve energy density, their range will be shorter. -This, to me, is why Tesla are going premium; they’re winning on the one criteria that matters most.

My point here is that they advertise a range you can’t actually use in the real world because they cripple you at the top and at the bottom end. They made it so inconvenient no one is going to use this range. So clearly it only exists to achieve favourable numbers.

And don’t worry about the German manufacturers. They use NMC not NCA so they could push their batteries even harder by default.

Also, why is the time estimate off by over 400% for the last 3% of charge? Surely they could account for the “required taper” in the estimate. Either this is flawed since years or they simply don’t want the car to display that it will take an hour or two extra to actually get it completely full. As a rational person I file this somewhere between being disingenuous and fraudulent.

As the owner of a Model S P85D and a Model X 100D, I can positively attest to eject’s inaccurate comments, here. While there is most certainly a taper for the last 3-5 miles of charge, it’s more like 15 minutes to complete the last few miles, not “1 hr later” like he has claimed. And when you are looking at 250 miles of real world range, give or take, the last 5 miles are really kind of irrelevant as a percentage. I have also found that our 2018 Model X 100D may have optimized/reduced the time for the last few miles of charge/taper, as compared to our 2015 Model S P85D. In fact, you have to be careful if you are charging at a Supercharger to make sure you are at the car when the charging is near completion (if you want to go to 100%), so you don’t incur idle fees. It happens very quickly. I will concur that we don’t get quite the Tesla promoted EPA total range, but it’s close, and I don’t baby or hypermile either car, ever. In fact, generally, the A/C is on for 9 months of the year, and I enjoy the… Read more »
Another Euro point of view

Eject, thank you for making insideev comments section a place a bit connected to reality.Last time I had a look here it was about Tesla roadster capable of flying. I mean…geez.

Definitely becoming a Tesla fanboi hangout..

Yea ok Michael S, you obviously don’t own one so you pick out a youtube video and that’s your info.

RE: “game the EPA efficiency test”

eTron and iPace have been reported near 2 miles per KWh real-world performance. Pretty sure you have to go 85-90MPH to get a Tesla down there. They emphasize energy density. Others are shooting for power density, and this is a place it shows.

Also, the “Performance” version M3, itself, is probably over-rated. In Model S, “performance” came with lower range. If you want an easier time closing in on 310 real miles, go with the RWD Model 3.

WLTP range for the Model 3 is going to be interesting since WLTP requires that you provide the range for every available hardware configuration. So you have to get them tested with all the different wheel options.

WLTP ranges for Model 3 are provided in Tesla’s European configurator. They are 530 km for TM3P (with 20 inch wheels) and 560 km for TM3 Long Range AWD (18 inch wheels).

Good read Tom m.

If you talk to these guys again ask them if the cooling plate is on the top of the cells instead of the bottom of the cells like most others do it with flat plate cooling configuration. Last time Keith and I disgust the Mercedes I think Keith mentioned it might have a top cooling plate after looking at the detailed Breakout.

Mercedes: Last years ev, sometime soon.

If Tesla is your benchmark, that’s pretty much true for all the incumbent’s efforts so far. Taycan maybe the one to break that pattern.

This vehicle looks like it will be very comparable to a Model Y. And it appears to be launching at the same time perhaps even a little sooner than the Model Y.

Another great, comprehensive review, Tom! Hopefully, when they said the next few EQ models built on EV-only platforms will be “larger,” they meant longer, and not heavier. Looking for some smaller EVs from Mercedes, including a wagon/hatch “car” (not SUV), and hopefully they will all be AWD (for balanced, more effective four-wheel magnetic/regenerative braking, plus better performance and handling).

They most likely mean larger in interior size. With an EV there is no need to have a long hood. See e.g. VW ID Neo.

I think Mercedes already said they want en EQC in every model segment.

That top photo with the sunrise is fantastic!

Yes Mercedes will releas a smaller EQB SUV and also a EQA (more luxury Golf/ID). For this cars Mercedes is developing a second BEV Plattform.
I also so some fotos from a EQS (Tesla MS competitor), but almost 2 years away.
I think the EQC is a solid SUV when you can charge at home/work.
Mercedes also build battery packaging in a lot factories around the word.

I read the EQA will also be built on a fossil platform, while the EQS will be the first built on a new electric-only platform. Others will come later, built on electric-only platforms.

Excellent article, as usual Tom!
I’m surprised by the fact that this is a shared platform with C-Class & GLC models (at, least, that’s how I interpret that they’re made on the same assembly line; simply having shared components isn’t surprising — there’s nothing about, e.g., EV shock absorbers that’s inherently different than ICE vehicle ones). I thought the whole point of the EQx naming scheme was to emphasize that these are new, BEV-only platforms?
The weight is unbelievable. This thing weighs more that a Tesla X 90D, despite being significantly smaller in every dimension, being only a compact 5- vs. full-size 7-seater, and having a lot less cargo space (and expected to have 30mi less EPA range). How did they manage this?

Bit douchy to use the WLTP range which is the inaccurate product of automaker lobbying as part of the car’s designation.

It’s deceptive and not very clever as Mercedes is just setting its customers up for disappointment.

No rating system is perfect but WLTP standards do get you achievable real world range numbers (and are somewhat close to EPA numbers). It’s a far better system than NEDC.

Great article and amazing photos!
I also think this is the first luxurious EV. If you say the ride quality is at the same standards as the look and feeling of the inside, than this car will appeal to many people. I have sat inside the I-Pace, Model X and the E-Tron also and they seem great cars, but the EQC really stood out. It has personality, something rare in cars.

personality made in China meh xd

Tesla:
“Want a sub-compact sedan for the price of a supercar? Here you go!” *presents model3*
Audi:
“We’ve heard that Tesla can get away with selling middle class cars for approx. double the price of what other manufacturers charge.
So here is your new standard Audi Q4/5, for only twice the usual price of a Q5!”
Mercedes:
“Great news, my customers. We came out with the new GLC and it’ll only cost as much as an S-class. Enjoy.”
Tesla:
“Hey, those other EVs are beating us at our own game (aka spiraling up the price)! So here you are, dear customers. Our cheapest SUV is now $100k. Let’s see how you beat that, Audi/Mecedes!”

“Quite good” isn’t good enough.

Less than Bolt range, a hood long enough to picnic upon, weighs more than a F150…

These proprietary platforms he speaks of better hurry up and get here.

Its painful to watch legendary automakers like Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi and BMW struggle with EVs.

The biggest struggle is when they will be forced to build models that compete directly with their gas products.

The mistake ice automakers are making with their first EVs is trying to make the ev look like an ice vehicle. Not realizing that the ev buyer is willing to pay a premium over the ice for the new technology and expect the design to reflect not only the premiun but a difference in ev design.

Offering an ev that looks just like the old school ice model is like making a new smart phone that looks like an old school rotery dial phone.

This low volume retrofit ev is just so that MB is in the gsme, since the are late with their dedicated ev platform.

Wow these guys are lightyears behind Tesla on battery tech and this car is not due until 2020? That is laughable

This car is not worthy of the Mercedes badge, even the Kona has better battery. 🤣

Excellent read Tom! Hopefully you’ll be doing a follow-up article once you get some seat time with it?