What is it?
Mercedes’ first all-electric passenger car, just landed in Britain. The EQC 400 is a mid-sized, five-seater SUV with four-wheel drive and more than 400 horsepower. It’ll accelerate considerably more quickly than most hot hatchbacks, offers generous room for five occupants and their luggage, and also plenty of the usual Mercedes-brand luxury-car refinements and desirability.
Which sounds like the sort of prospect that many would be ready to spend £70,000 on, doesn’t it? That the car is all-electric and runs entirely free of tailpipe emissions should, of course, still be its main selling point.
Adapted from the model platform used by the GLC SUV, the EQC can’t quite be called a ‘ground-up’ dedicated EV design, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got the right kind of mechanical make-up. It’s powered by an 85kWh lithium ion battery pack carried under the cabin floor (just where it would be in a Tesla) and 80kWh of that total capacity is made ‘usable’ by the car’s control electronics. The rival Audi E-tron, by comparison, has 95kWh of total battery capacity, but only lets you access 83.6kWh of it – and the Jaguar I-Pace’s drive battery only lets you tap into very marginally more.
The EQC is driven by a separate electric motor and planetary gearbox per axle, which combined produce up to 402bhp and 561lb ft of torque, the latter being a fair chunk more instant pulling power than either the Audi E-tron Quattro or the Jaguar I-Pace make.
In terms of size, it splits the difference between the relatively compact Jaguar and the bigger Audi almost exactly; and on kerb weight – the enduring problem associated with big drive batteries that all electric cars must strain against – it’s marginally lighter than the Audi but a good 300kg heavier than the Jaguar. Some of that weight penalty can be pinned on Mercedes’ decision to adapt an existing platform here rather than design a new one – which is precisely what Audi did, too.
If getting the maximum usable battery range for your money is your primary concern as an early adopting EV owner, meanwhile, the EQC matches the Audi exactly for claimed electric range (up to 259 miles depending on optional specification) but narrowly loses out to both the Jaguar (up to 292 miles) and Tesla’s longest-range Model X (314 miles) on the latest WLTP-certified lab test numbers. That it’s priced from just above £65,000 (before any purchase incentive) makes it a shade cheaper than both the Audi and Tesla, however.