Stuttgart - Mercedes-Benz is moving into the electrification fast lane with a new range of EQ-badged battery-powered vehicles, and what you see here is the first member of that family.

The EQC is set for international release around the middle of 2019, and although local timing has yet to be finalised, Mercedes Benz South Africa is aiming to introduce it in 2020.

The new SUV is built on a modified version of the GLC’s platform, also sharing its 2873mm wheelbase, but the styling and drivetrain are a whole new ballgame for the brand, with the EQC ushering in a totally new design language that will be applied to the brand’s electric vehicles.

The SUV features electric drivetrains on the front and rear axles for all-wheel-drive capability, and performance is in the upper league with claimed system outputs of 300kW and 765Nm, and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.1 seconds.

But the big question these days is distance between charges and here the EQC’s 80kWh lithium-ion battery is said to offer a range of over 450km when measured on the NEDC cycle, which may not be all that realistic however.

There are five driving modes in the form of Max Range, Eco, Comfort and Individual, the more economical of those offering haptic accelerator pedal feedback that encourages power conservation. The vehicle also makes use of navigation and traffic sign data to work out the most efficient route and the best strategy for coasting and energy recuperation.

The EQC can be charged from a conventional AC home socket, however there is a Wallbox option that’s said to be three times faster, and capable of charging from 10 to 80 percent in around 40 minutes.

The cabin design sees an evolution of the wide floating screen layout first introduced in the A-Class, which does away with a traditional instrument cowl, and there are some unique touches like ribbed edges inspired by the cooling ribs of an amplifier and key-shaped air vents with rosé-gold coloured louvres.

As with the new A, the command centre is the MBUX infotainment system with natural language recognition and numerous EQ-specific functions such as the display of range, charge status and energy flow. 

“With the EQC – the first fully electric SUV from Mercedes-Benz – we are flipping the switch,” says Daimler AG Chairman. 

“Electric drive is a major component in the mobility of the future. We are therefore investing more than ten billion euros (R178bn) in the expansion of our EQ model portfolio, and more than one billion euros in global battery production.”

IOL Motoring