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Mercedes-Benz revealed first pure electric EQ C

From:Greg Kable 2018-09-05 13:07:44

Mercedes-Benz has revealed the first of up to 10 new pure electric models currently under development at its engineering headquarters in Germany and planned for sale before the end of 2025 with the unveiling of its eagerly-awaited EQ C at a media event held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Key rival to the newly-introduced Jaguar I-Pace, soon-to-be-revealed Audi e-tron Quattro and an upcoming production version of the BMW iX3 concept, the new five-seat SUV is the first electric-powered Mercedes-Benz model to be placed into series production, following on from limited volume B-class Electric Drive and SLS Electric Drive.

According to Mercedes-Benz, it boasts a combined 300kW and claimed 450 km range in initial EQ C 400 guise, as pictured here.

The four-wheel drive EQ C, which will also compete against the Tesla Model X, is based around the existing GLC – alongside which it will be produced, although such are the changes to its platform to accommodate a new electric drivetrain, battery and safety measures for added absorption of crash forces in the event of a severe side impact that Mercedes-Benz describes its high-strength steel and aluminium body structure, which is known under the internal codename MEA1, as being “largely bespoke”.

Stylistically, the new Mercedes-Benz model leans heavily on the early Generation EQ concept first revealed at the Paris motor show in 2016.

Although not quite as contemporary in appearance, the definitive production car, set for Chinese deliveries in 2019 before a start to local Chinese production in 2020, retains the same basic shape and five-door layout of the earlier concept, albeit with altered detailing in a choice of two different lines.   

Key design elements include a uniquely styled signature look front end set to be adopted on all dedicated EQ models. It features a conventional grille in place of the distinctive black panel treatment used on the concept, although the shape of the headlamps, which receive Multibeam LED projectors,  and other cues, including the smooth surfaced bumper treatment, have been retained in a move that provides the new model with an instantly more modern appearance than any existing Mercedes-Benz SUV model.

Mercedes-Benz has spent a lot of time refining the aerodynamic qualities of the EQ C. While official figures are yet to be revealed, Drive understands it achieves a drag co-efficient of under 0.30 thanks in part to its minimal ground clearance, which makes it more of a crossover than a fully fledged SUV, and wind-cheating wheel design.

At 4761mm in length, 1884mm in width and 1324mm in height, the EQ C is 105mm longer, 6mm narrower and a considerable 315mm lower than the GLC, with which it shares its 2873mm wheelbase.

This makes it 79mm longer, 127mm narrower and 241mm lower than the Jaguar I-Pace.

Inside, the new Mercedes-Benz model uses an upgraded version of the GLC’s cabin, parts of which are set to appear on a facelifted version of the mid-range SUV due out in 2019, including a newly design dashboard featuring digital instrument and infotainment panel, reworked ventilation units and new multi-function steering wheel featuring touch pads within the horizontal spokes.

With seating for five and some 79 litres more luggage space than the GLC at a claimed 500-litres, versatility will be one of the EQ C’s strongest selling points, according to Mercedes-Benz. 

The first dedicated electric powered EQ model also comes equipped with many of Mercedes-Benz’s latest driver assistant systems, including the new MBUX operating system and a new predictive speed adjustment function integrated into the Distronic cruise control that is programmed to regulate the EQ C’s speed when approaching a traffic jam based on information from the navigation.

The EQ C is powered by a newly developed electric drivetrain also planned to power other new models from the newly formed Mercedes-Benz sub-brand, including a forthcoming entry-level EQ A hatchback and EQ S sedan flagship, in varying configurations.

Initially previewed in the Generation EQ concept, it consists of two electric motors – one mounted up front powering the front wheels and another at the rear driving the rear wheels – that provide it with four-wheel drive capability, depending on the chosen driving mode. Together, they deliver a combined output of 300kW and solid 765Nm of torque.

With a kerb weight of 2425kg, this endows the first dedicated EQ model with respective weight-to-power and weight-to-torque ratios of 8.1kg per kW and 3.2kg per Nm.

By comparison, the 2133kg Jaguar I-Pace offers a combined 290kW and 696Nm from its two electric motors.

Each of the EQ C’s motors is configured differently: the one up front is tuned specifically for efficiency in the low-to-mid load range, while that at the rear is described as being more performance orientated with a greater emphasis on the mid-to-high load range.

The asynchronous motors are attached to each sub-frame on two sturdy rubber mounts in a measure Mercedes-Benz claims provides its latest electric powered model with class-leading levels of refinement and resistance to drivetrain vibration.

There are five different driving modes: Comfort, Eco, Max Range, Sport and Individual, while paddles behind the steering wheel also allow the driver to vary the amount of energy being recuperated during braking and coasting.

In Sport mode, Mercedes-Benz says the EQ C will accelerate from 0-to-100km/h in 5.1sec. Top speed is limited to 180km/h. In a display of its versatility, the German car maker also claims a towing capacity of 1800kg and 515kg payload for the new electric-powered SUV.

Energy to power the motors is drawn from an 80kWh battery assembled by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler’s Deutsche Accumotive subsidiary in Germany. All up, the lithium-ion unit weighs 650kg, or almost 27 per cent of the EQ C’s total kerb weight.

With a claimed range of 280 miles on the soon-to-be-superseded NEDC test cycle, the EQ C can’t quite match the 336 miles of the I-Pace, which features a larger 90kWh battery, under the same test conditions.

A standard 7.4kW on-board charger enables AC charging via either regular mains or high-voltage public charging stations. Under DC charging, the EQ C’s battery can be charged from 10-to-80 per cent at up to 110kW in around 40mins, according to Mercedes-Benz’s own figures.

The EQ C will be produced at both Mercedes-Benz’s Bremen plant in northern Germany and a joint venture factory operated with Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation in Beijing in China, although UK models are planned to hail exclusively from the former.

During the development of its new electric model, Mercedes-Benz says it constructed over 200 prototypes and pre-production examples of the EQ C in a program claimed to have covered “several million kilometers across four continents”.    


Editor:Greg Kable