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Mercedes launches its first electric SUV car, the EQC

The company's first modern electric vehicle offers a refinement of its S-class limousine.

There are more than 11,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Norway, a country with 5.5 million people.

That makes it a nation with the highest charging stations per capita. Pure EVs currently make up more than half the new cars registered here.

This is why Daimler chose to launch its first EQ model in Oslo. Called EQC, it is not an adaptation of any existing Mercedes model, but conforms to the popular sport utility vehicle (SUV) form.

The five-door car is similar in size to the Mercedes GLC, hence the “C” in its nomenclature. It is not what anyone would call beautiful or unique, but it is slightly sportier-looking than the GLC and, fortunately, not as awkward-looking as the GLC Coupe.

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Under the skin, the EQC is drastically different from any Mercedes GL model to date.

Bolted to the bottom of its monocoque body is a structural frame that houses 384 lithium-ion battery cells. These cells supply 350 volts and can store up to 80kWh of power. With a 7.4kW residential charger, the batteries need 11 hours to achieve full charge from 10 per cent.

Energy is channelled to two electric motors on each axle. They produce 408hp and, like all electric motors, unleash peak torque – in this case, 760Nm – from the moment they spin.

Hence, despite the EQC’s hefty 2,495kg kerb weight, acceleration from rest to 100kmh takes 5.1 seconds. It does so seamlessly, as there are no gear changes – just like any other modern EV.

In the same way, the battery pack’s location at the bottom of the chassis is a significant factor in the EQC’s excellent handling – despite its tallish SUV stance.

Weighing 652kg, the battery pack accounts for 26 per cent of the car’s total weight, acting like a ballast to keep the car on even keel. The EQC barely rolls in fast corners.

Mercedes has paid particular attention to how battery energy is consumed on the road. The driver can select a number of different driving strategies with particular emphasis on optimising the range.

Even more impressive is its refinement. The motor whine is not perceptible in the cabin and ride comfort rivals that of Mercedes’ flagship S-class.

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With air-suspension at the rear, the EQC is luxuriously comfortable. Fans of the three-pointed star will not be disappointed.

There is no firm date on the EQC’s launch in Singapore, but early 2021 has been suggested.

As for price, the car is estimated to cost around $450,000. Current owners of the S-class would be tempted to swop or perhaps add the EQC to their garage.

It has all the space, refinement and quality of the limousine, plus zero fuel consumption.

There will be other EQ models to follow, led perhaps by an EQA. We can’t wait.

 

SPECS /MERCEDES-BENZ EQC

Price: $450,000 with COE (estimated)

Motors: Twin transverse permanent magnet asynchronous

Transmission: Single-stage epicyclic reduction

Power: 408hp

Torque: 760Nm

0-100kmh: 5.1 seconds

Top speed: 180kmh (electronically limited)

Range: 445km

Agent: Cycle & Carriage

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This article was originally published in The Straits Times.