New battery-electric model will take the fight to the Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X
Mercedes-Benz has revealed the first of up to 10 new pure-electric models due before 2025 with the unveiling of its eagerly awaited EQ C.
A key rival to the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X and upcoming Audi E-tron Quattro, the new five-seat EQ C SUV is the first dedicated electric Mercedes model to enter series production. The EQ C is based around a heavily modified version of the GLC platform.
Stylistically, it leans heavily on the early Generation EQ concept of 2016. It retains the same basic shape and five-door layout of the earlier concept, albeit with altered detailing such as the front-end design. Autocar understands that the EQ C achieves a drag coefficient of less than 0.30.
At 4761mm long, 1884mm wide and 1324mm tall, the EQ C is 105mm longer and a considerable 315mm lower than the GLC, with which it shares its 2873mm wheelbase.
Inside, the new 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 in 2019. These include a newly designed dashboard with a digital instrument and infotainment panel, reworked ventilation units and a new multi-function steering wheel featuring touch pads within the horizontal spokes.
With seating for five and 79 litres more luggage space than the GLC, at a claimed 500 litres, the EQ C will count versatility as one of its strongest selling points.
The EQ C is powered by a newly developed electric drivetrain that’ll be used across the EQ range. Initially previewed in the Generation EQ concept, it consists of two electric motors – one powering the front wheels and another the rears – that enable four-wheel drive capability, depending on the driving mode.
They deliver a combined 402bhp and 564lb ft to move the EQ C’s 2425kg kerb weight. By comparison, the 395bhp Jaguar I-Pace weighs 2130kg.
Each of the EQ C’s motors is configured differently: the front one is tuned for efficiency in the low- to mid-load range, and the rear one is described as being more performance orientated, with a greater emphasis on the mid to high-load range. Rubber subframe mounts for the motors endow the EQ C with class-leading refinement, according to Mercedes-Benz.
In Sport mode, the EQ C will sprint from a standstill to 62mph in 5.1sec. Top speed is limited to 112mph. In a display of the car’s versatility, Mercedes also claims a towing capacity of 1800kg and a 515kg payload.
Energy to power the motors is supplied by an 80kWh battery. All up, the lithium ion unit weighs 650kg. With a claimed range of 280 miles on the current NEDC test cycle (which is being phased out), the EQ C can’t quite match the 336-mile NEDC claimed range of the I-Pace, which features a larger, 90kWh battery.
A standard 7.4kW onboard 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% at up to 110kW in around 40min.
The EQ C will be produced at Mercedes’ Bremen plant in Germany and a joint-venture factory in Beijing, China. UK examples will be made exclusively in Bremen.
Mercedes said it constructed more than 200 prototypes of the EQ C in a programme claimed to have covered “several million kilometres across four continents”.
So it looks like Mercedes’ first committed stab at a proper EV will weigh more than a Tesla Model S and a Jaguar I-Pace — and, with 80kWh of battery capacity, may very well not offer quite as much real-world cruising range as either.
We’d be foolish to make any judgements about it on the basis of such preliminary information, or without knowing for sure exactly how Mercedes will be pricing the car, but that’s probably not the greatest of starts for it to have got off to.
I like the sound of the car’s motor configurations, though. It certainly makes sense to me to vary either the size of the motor at each axle, or its gearing, or both, in order to optimise performance and energy efficiency throughout the speed range.
And Mercedes’ claim is promising, too: that this motor strategy will boost the car’s handling dynamism, with the bigger and more powerful motor being at the rear, and perhaps only called upon when the car is in Sport mode or being driven under high load.