Australian customers have been given a sneak peak of Mercedez-Benz’s all-electric EQC SUV, in what is being described as just the beginning of “a massive onslaught of electric vehicles” from the German car maker.
Mercedes said the Melbourne event on Tuesday night gave customers and special guests Australia’s first look at the company’s first all-electric cross-over, well ahead of the local on-sale date, which is expected later this year.
Some of that number were also invited to become the first Australians to drive the SUV, at a private test facility the following Wednesday.
The “family sized” EQC, which will also be on display at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix 2019 in Melbourne, aims to compete with the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X, and the upcoming BMW iX3,
There’s not a great deal of detail around on the specs of the luxury SUV, but reviews elsewhere in the world have been largely positive, including a 9.2/10 rating from TopSpeed.com. According to another review from CNET’s Road Show, the EQC completed a 228 mile (366km) road-trip along the California coast with a few miles of charge left to spare.
That review says that the SUV has an 80-kilowatt-hour battery pack that provides motivation for two asynchronous electric motors, one at each axle; 402 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque, which is delivered solely through the front electric motor under light loads like freeway cruising.
“It’s not going to be the car with the highest top speed … or longest range of all of them,” Mercedes engineer Bastian Schult is quoted as telling CNET’s journalist, Steven Ewing. “We want to make the best overall package. We want to make a Mercedes out of this.”
Mercedes-Benz has been a little slow to the all-electric party, but according to the company’s head of Australia-Pacific, Horst von Sanden, there is sound reasoning behind this.
“We always like to be first, but in this situation with electric cars we were not first, but for a very good reason,” he said in comments on Tuesday.
“We wanted to bring to the market the most complete solution for future mobility. I think it’s fair to say that electric now has a Mercedes!”
Some details of the car’s driving features were discussed at the event by Karl Scheible – the head of testing for the EQC program at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Stuttgart – who was credited as having “spent more time driving the EQC than almost anyone else.”
This, according to Mercedes, included testing it in temperatures of -35°C in Sweden two weeks ago, to heat testing it in California’s Death Valley, as well as testing it for speed, reliability and comfort in South Africa, Spain and Germany.
“We have driven a lot of test kilometres in the past few years, we have done a lot of 60-80 hour working weeks, and everything has been double checked, and it has been a very exciting time,” Scheible said.
“The main differences are that we have no transmission in an electric car, and maximum torque at zero kilometres per hour, so it was a big challenge to find the perfect combination between driveability and acceleration, and a compromise between sportiness and comfort, and driveability.”
Another review of the EQC – biased though it may be – was offered by von Sanden himself, who told customers that after a test drive on Tuesday, he had been “absolutely blown away” by the all-all-electric vehicle’s performance.
“I currently drive a high-performance Mercedes-AMG car and I enjoy it, but having been in the EQC, the torque, the acceleration and the smoothness of the ride was just mind-blowing,” he said.
“Mercedes-Benz has committed to launching an electric car in every model until 2022, so you can imagine this is just the beginning of a massive onslaught of electric vehicles by Mercedes-Benz.”