Mercedes-Benz has launched the EQ electric sub-brand in the country and that's a huge step for the car maker. The year of 2020 looks to have taken off at an electric pace because MG plans to launch the ZS EV very soon and Tata Motors too is looking to launch the Nexon EV as well. Mercedes-Benz then wants to up the ante when it comes to bringing in a luxury electric car. Mercedes-Benz has big plans globally with the EQ brand and it has already launched its first all-electric SUV the EQC in international markets. In fact, by 2022, Mercedes-Benz is aiming for complete electrification of its entire model line-up, especially in developed markets with a total of 130 variants. These variants will include 48-volt on-board electrical system with EQ Boost to plug-in-hybrids to all-electric vehicles with battery or fuel cell. Mercedes-Benz believes that the unit sales of BEVs or battery electric vehicles are set to increase to 15-25 per cent of total unit sales by 2025, depending on individual customer preferences and the development of the public infrastructure.
Speaking with carandbike, Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, said, "We believe electric has a big future. Sooner or later all manufacturers have to do something if they want to be credibly available in the market. We were pondering for several months on how to do it and when to do it and we feel, right now is a good moment. On the one hand some government policies are supportive in electric vehicles. There's a momentum building up."
Now, you might think that Mercedes-Benz does not have a plan yet to bring electric cars to India. And you might talk through experience that neither of its competitors in the country have forayed into this EV venture yet. Audi showcased the e-tron and promised a launch soon, BMW only has an hybrid and though we see the i3 electric on our roads it hasn't really launched yet in the country and Jaguar too has promised to bring in the IPace but a timeline has not been set. However, there's big news coming from Mercedes-Benz as the company's EQ sub-brand will launch the EQC all-electric SUV in India by April 2020 and that's big news!
Schwenk said, "In April we will officially launch the EQC but today we are just showcasing the product before we do the actual launch with the price and everything. The EQC is an innovative and sporty car. The EQC will target a small market and it will give us the opportunity to learn how to establish the brand and the vehicles so we well take it at a measured pace in the beginning"
The measured pace basically means that Mercedes-Benz will target just a few metro cities with the EQC. Of course, you are wondering about what happens to the charging infrastructure and Schwenk has an answer to that too. "For us to push for electric charging infrastructure, we do not have the scale to do it. We cannot set up charging infrastructure. We will provide a reasonable start up configuration for customers. We will see what we can do with the dealer support."
The EQC will be a value addition to the company's portfolio and yes it still hasn't started testing the car at length in India. The next few months we will see the EQC being tested in the country so as to provide the company with all the relevant data ahead of its launch in the country.
The EQC has a very familiar font end with a large grille and a twin slat AMG-esque design. The grille itself is shrouded with a black surround that flows into the LED headlamps. The LED daytime running lights in the headlamp itself are complemented with a LED lighting strip just over the front grille.
The interior on the new Mercedes -Benz EQC is a very familiar one too. The infotainment and instrument cluster are identical to what you get on the likes of an E-Class while the central console has a similar feel too. Of course, there are some changes, including some design elements that ape cooling vents on an electric motor and new AC vents too.
The EQC is powered by a dual motor setup, which includes one motor for the front axle and one for the rear. This makes the EQC an all-wheel-drive SUV or as Mercedes likes to call it, a 4Matic. The EQC's motors are powered by an 80 kWh lithium-ion battery, that helps the motors produce a combined 300 kW (402 bhp) of peak power and 765 Nm of peak torque. The new EQC gets an all-electric range of around 400 km with a quick charge option on the SUV too.