THE MERCEDES-BENZ AMONG ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The Mercedes-Benz EQC, the first Mercedes-Benz vehicle from the EQ brand, celebrates its North American premiere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. The EQC (combined power consumption: 22.2 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km, provisional details) marks the beginning of a new era of mobility at Daimler. It pioneers an avant-garde electric look, representing the design idiom of Progressive Luxury. When it comes to quality, safety and comfort, the EQC is truly a Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles, and highly convincing in the sum of its attributes. The EQC boasts dynamic performance, thanks to two electric motors at the front and rear axles with a combined output of 402 hp (300 kW). Through an ingenious operation strategy, the EQC has a preliminary range of more than 450 kilometres according to the European cycle NEDC (Canadian testing methods differ and EPA range values will be available closer to market launch). EQ also offers comprehensive services with Mercedes me connect, and makes electro mobility convenient and suitable for day-to-day motoring.
As the first Mercedes-Benz model under the new product and technology brand EQ, the Mercedes-Benz EQC is a trailblazer for design and function. Inside and out, the EQC embodies the design idiom of ‘Progressive Luxury’: the conscious clash of digital and analogue elements and the seamless merging of intuitive and physical design.
By virtue of its muscular proportions, the EQC is classed as a crossover SUV. Visually, the vehicle sits between an SUV and an SUV coupe. It features an extended roofline and window layout with a low waistline and a coupe-like roof recess at the rear.
Star car: putting on a big show with the Night Design
A striking feature at the front of the vehicle is the large black-panel surface that encloses the headlamps and grille. A large Mercedes-Benz star that illuminates at night is a standard feature that is exclusive to the North American market. For the first time, it can also be paired with the radar-controlled DISTRONIC. This results in a particularly impressive night time look. The Night Design is also unique due to the inclusion of a fibre-optic cable, which provides the finishing touch at the top of the Black Panel. It is a visual link to the characteristic Mercedes Benz daytime running lights, creating an almost uninterrupted, horizontal light band. The inner housings and tubes of the standard MULTIBEAM LED headlights are in high-gloss black. Discrete blue stripes, and blue MULTIBEAM lettering are a visual-cue that the EQC is part of the EQ family from Mercedes-Benz.
The high-quality interior of the EQC pioneers an avant-garde electro-look. An example of this is the louvered edge of the instrument panel, which resembles the cooling ribs of a hi-fi amplifier. The instrument panel is designed as part of the driver-oriented cockpit. The typical Mercedes-Benz wing profile is asymmetrical, with a “cut-out” in the driver area. This is where one of the visual highlights of the cockpit is located – a high-tech, high gloss cassette housing flat air vents with key-shaped, rose-gold coloured louvres.
Powertrain: Dynamic performance meets efficiency
The EQC features an all-new drive system development with compact electric drivetrains at each axle. These give the EQC the driving characteristics of an all-wheel drive.
To reduce power consumption and increase dynamism, the electric drivetrains are configured differently: the front electric motor is optimized for best possible efficiency in the low to medium load range, while the rear motor determines dynamism. Together, these motors generate an output of approximately 402 hp (300 kW) and a combined maximum torque of 564 lb-ft.
Mercedes-Benz engineers have taken considerable steps to reduce noise in the EQC. The power packs are isolated by rubber mounts at two points: the connection of the powerpack to its sub frame and the connection of the sub frame to the body. This isolation is supplemented with insulation measures. As a result, the interior of the EQC is extremely quiet.
The lithium-ion battery, which has an energy content of 80 kWh (NEDC), supplies the vehicle with power. As in most electric vehicles, power consumption and range is dependent on the driving style. The EQC presents the driver with five drive programs, each with different characteristics: COMFORT, ECO, MAX RANGE, SPORT and an individually adaptable program. In the more economical driving modes, the haptic accelerator pedal that prompts the driver to conserve power plays an important role. The driver is also able to influence recuperation using paddles behind the steering wheel.
The ECO Assist system gives the driver comprehensive support by prompting the driver when it is appropriate to come off the accelerator, (for example because the vehicle is approaching a speed limit), and by functions such as coasting and specific control of recuperation. To make this possible, navigation data, traffic sign recognition and information from the intelligent safety assistants (radar and stereo camera) are linked and processed.
Charging: Flexible and fast
As standard, the EQC is equipped with a water-cooled on-board charger (OBC) with a capacity of 7.4 kW, making it suitable for AC charging either at home or at public charging stations.
In the EU, drivers can charge their vehicle at a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox, which is up to three times faster than a traditional househould socket. In North America, the time advantage while charging at a Wallbox is up to eight times faster when compared to a traditional 120 V household socket.
It is faster still with DC charging – which is standard for the EQC, with a suitable market-specific plug – for example via CCS (Combined Charging Systems) in Europe and North America, CHAdeMO in Japan or GB/T in China. Depending on the SoC (state of charge), the EQC can be charged with a maximum output of up to 110 kW at an appropriate charging station and takes around 40 minutes to charge from 10 to 80 percent SoC (provisional figures).
Power consumption (NEDC)
22.2 kWh/100 km
over 450 km (Canadian testing methods differ and EPA range values will be available closer to market launch)
2 asynchronous motors, all-wheel drive
402 hp (300kW)
180 km/h (governed)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h
Battery energy content (NEDC)
Length/width (incl. mirrors)/height
4761/1884 (2096) /1624 mm
Track width (FA/RA)
Luggage compartment (depending on equipment fitted)
approx. 500 l.
Kerb weight/perm. GVW/payload (DIN)
Perm. trailer load for 12% uphill gradient
* Provisional data
The multimedia system MBUX: with EQ-specific functions
The EQC features Mercedes-Benz’s innovative multimedia system, MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). It features numerous EQ-specific functions such as the display of range, charge status and energy flow. EQ-optimized navigation, driving modes, charging current, and departure time can also be controlled and set via MBUX.
The MBUX display comes equipped with a special EQ icon where numerous EQ features can be accessed. Alternatively, the user can access the EQ menu of the MBUX system directly via a button in the lower left control panel.
MBUX Interior Assist: an even greater experience
By recognizing specific movements, MBUX Interior Assist brings added intelligence to the interior of the EQC. Thanks to innovative technology, MBUX now supports the occupants by making various comfort and MBUX functions even more intuitive. Interior Assist operates in non-contact mode and can function both in sunlight and in complete darkness.
It recognizes when a hand approaches the touchscreen on the dashboard or the touchpad on the centre console and adapts the display content accordingly on the screen. In addition, the system is able to distinguish between the driver and front passenger commands.
A special feature of Interior Assist is the personal favourites function. The driver and front passenger can both program a personal, favourite function which is initiated using a horizontally outstretched index and middle finger. With this action, any command that is controllable via MBUX can be stored for simple access. The system can also reliably detect whether it is being operated by the driver or front passenger. This means they can each assign their own favourites.
There are other functions which can be controlled intuitively. For example, in the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror. If the driver reaches over towards an unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically. This makes it easier to find any items on the seat. As soon as the person’s hand leaves this area, the light automatically switches off again.
Intelligent services: Relaxed travel from start to finish
EQ with Mercedes me provides comprehensive services for the electric mobility needs of today and tomorrow. One of the most important new services and functions that is planned for market launch of the EQC is pre-entry climate control, which ensures that the vehicle interior is at the desired temperature upon entry. It can be programmed directly via MBUX or the Mercedes me app. A sophisticated system with a heat pump and electric heater boosters pre-climatizes the interior.
Another new service is EQ optimized navigation, which bases its calculation on the fastest route and the shortest charging time and topography. Thanks to EQ-optimized navigation, Mercedes-Benz customers can easily find charging stations, and Mercedes me Charge gives them convenient access to public charging stations.
Active and passive safety: EQC-specific safety concept
The EQC is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. In the Driving Assistance package, these include new functions such as predictive speed adjustment when approaching congestion. When a traffic jam is detected, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC reduces the speed to around 100 km/h as a precaution. In heavy highway traffic, the lane guidance system keeps the vehicle off-centre to leave space for emergency services.
With respect to passive safety, the EQC also meets the highest standards: in addition to the usual, extensive program of crash tests, Mercedes-Benz has applied particularly stringent safety standards to the battery and all components carrying an electrical current. These standards exceed legal safety requirements. The vehicle structure of the EQC has been adapted to suit the special requirements of the electrical components and battery, and is configured to surpass the usual high levels of safety with mechanical protection of the battery and the high-voltage system.
The high-safety design begins with the installation position of the high-voltage battery beneath the vehicle floor. The energy storage unit is surrounded by a stable frame that can absorb energy. Deformation elements are installed between the frame and the battery, and these are able to absorb additional forces in the event of a severe side impact. A battery guard in the front area of the battery is able to prevent the energy storage unit from being penetrated by foreign objects.
Mercedes-Benz’s extensive experience with high-voltage drive systems has led to the development of a multi-stage safety concept that deploys in the event of an accident. The high-voltage system automatically shuts down, reversibly or irreversibly, according to the severity of the accident. There are also shutdown points where emergency teams can deactivate the high-voltage system manually.
Testing: Endurance tests around the world
By market launch, 200 prototypes and pre-production vehicles of the EQC will have completed tests covering several millions of kilometres across four continents (Europe, North America, Asia and Africa). The test program comprises more than 500 individual tests. Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the EQC must pass a demanding standard test program. Additionally for the EQC, there are special tests for the electric powertrain, the battery, and the interplay of all powertrain components.
Throughout the testing, experts built upon the extensive findings from their digital testing work, used to ensure both the buildability of the vehicle and for the simulation of things like crash behaviour, aerodynamics and NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). In addition, there are intensive tests on numerous test rigs at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre in Sindelfingen. The ratio between digital and real testing is roughly 35 to 65 percent.
Production: Preparations in full swing in the Bremen plant
Production of the EQC will start in 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. The preparations for this are already fully under way. The new EQC will be integrated into ongoing series production as a fully electric vehicle. The very latest in production technologies will be employed to ensure scalable production.
One decisive innovation is the battery-joining centre where the EQC undergoes a second “marriage” following the installation of the two electric power packs in the body shell. This is where the EQCs are recognized as electric models with the help of data tags attached to the body, and equipped with a battery. The body is suspended from a C-carrier and deposited on a frame. Support arms raise the battery to the vehicle’s floor from below. An employee monitors the automatic bolting process.
In parallel with this, Mercedes-Benz is ramping up production of batteries for the EQC at the expanded battery plant in Kamenz (near Dresden).
Alongside Bremen, the Sino-German production joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co. Ltd. (BBAC) is also preparing for the production start-up of the EQC for the local market.
Photo Credits: Mercedes Benz Canada