Top Experiences with the Mercedes EQC 400 on my drive to the Austrian Alps
I was very excited when Mercedes Benz Austria asked me to test the new EQC 400 for a weekend, as I had been really looking forward to testing not only a new Mercedes, but also an electric car.
Driving up to the Alps in the Mercedes EQC 400 was a singularly great experience: you are simply prompted to forget it is a fully electric car. The drive through the steep winding roads allows you to relax and take in the most pleasant features of driving electric, like the instant torque of the electric motor, the quiet cabin and the smooth trepidation-free acceleration. Let’s not forget about the tech-savvy safety features like the hologram cockpit, with the navigation, the alert signal and the speedometer, indicating in real time the allowed speed limit. This feature truly allows you to keep your eyes on the road and to feel safe enough to enjoy the ride at the same time.
Let me dive deeper into and present you my Top Experiences with the fully electric Mercedes EQC 400 driving from Vienna to Leogang in the Austrian Alps:
Charging – the fast and easy way
The trip started smoothly on a wonderful sunny Saturday morning in Vienna. The previous evening, I had driven to the charging station in the Beethovenplatz Garage in the first district, which was quite exciting considering it was my first time charging an electric vehicle. Major bonus: it only took a few minutes to understand the system *compared to fuel tanking. I simply had to plug in the cable and familiarize myself with the Mercedes ME card and voila, the car started charging. As a side note, fast charging takes about 90 min (40kw/h), while normal charging will take 7-8 hours on average. Charging speed obviously depends on which charging station you select. Super-Fast charging can go up to 100kw/h which leads to a total charging time of only 40 min. During my trip from Vienna to Leogang/Salzburg I only charged at the Mondsee and Linz.
Efficient charging management
Whether at home via Wallbox, while shopping, at work or especially fast on the highway, the focus of the new EQC is on intelligently connected charging solutions geared towards the need for mobility and comfort of the customer. As a standard, the EQC comes with a water-cooled charger on board.
This makes the EQC ideal both for AC charging at home and at public charging stations. If you want to load faster, use the DC charging. The time for a full charge depends widely on the available infrastructure and country-specific vehicle equipment. Depending on the state of charge (SoC), the EQC can charge to a corresponding station with a maximum power of up to 110kW, requiring about 40 minutes of 10-80% SoC.
We drove the EQC up the 270 km route from Vienna to Mondsee and charged the car fully at the charging station of the rest stop, while enjoying a nice meal overlooking the splendid Mondsee landscape.
Battery & Thermal Management
The lithium-ion battery is a powerful energy package from Mercedes’s own production. This clever heart of the EQC supplies the vehicle with 80 kWh energy content and includes a sophisticated operating strategy, thus enabling an electric range of 445 – 471 km (NEDC).
Since the entire battery system is equipped with a liquid cooling system. In cold conditions a battery heater ensures excellent performance and efficiency when loading.
Intelligent recuperation and assistance for more range – Regenerative Braking
The EQC has five different levels of regenerative braking. The most interesting is the default setting, called Auto. In this mode, regenerative braking is constantly adjusting based on topography, traffic, stereo cameras, and radar data, enabling it to intelligently set the strength of regeneration. Mercedes believes most drivers will appreciate how well this mode operates and that they are likely to use it for the majority of their driving. For those who want stronger or weaker regeneration, there are paddles on the left and right side of the steering wheel.
The left paddle strengthens the amount of regeneration, and the right one reduces it. One pull of the right paddle from the default Auto mode puts the car in “sailing” mode. We were told this is basically the same as freewheel coasting. The other extreme is One-Pedal mode, which is activated by two pulls from the left paddle. In D mode the vehicle mimics a conventional ICE with an automatic transmission. Below is how Mercedes is describing the 5 regenerative braking modes:
- D Auto (recuperation via ECO Assist to suit the situation)
- D + (coasting)
- D (low recuperation)
- D – (medium recuperation)
- D – – (high recuperation). This makes one-pedal driving possible, because in most situations the recuperative deceleration is enough not to require operation of the brake pedal.
Performance – Driving Dynamics
The EQC has two asynchronous 150-kW motors that deliver a total of 408 hp and 760 Nm of torque. WOW! That’s good enough to propel the heavy EQC for 0-100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.
Driving the electric crossover to Leogang/Salzburg really gave us a good idea of how well it can perform when pushed, and it was definitely impressive.
The EQC is the sovereign glider, whether on the ordinary road or on the highway. It is tailored to deliver comfort, which you experience directly from leaning back in the cozy seats and you get the feeling that even on longer trips, the vehicle does not tire. For us, this is just the right mix.
The vehicle packs enough performance. The very high torque ensures that the EQC accelerates quickly, especially in the important speed range between 80 and 120 km/h. The rather heavy weight of the vehicle is not noticeable.
Even though the two engines both produce 150 kW of power, they aren’t created equally. The engine in the front has only 5 windings and is more efficient than the rear one. The front engine will do most of the work by itself unless more power is needed. When that happens, the rear engine, endowed with 7 windings and thus less efficient, is called upon to lend its power.
The cabin is extremely quiet. Mercedes spent a lot of time eliminating as much noise as possible and we could not but show our amazement with a silent awe (pun intended)!
New Stylish Design
The Mercedes EQC SUV is a stylish electric car with a flashy interior, a roomy cabin and plenty of high-tech features, which help make it seriously relaxing to drive.
You certainly won’t mistake the Mercedes EQC for any of these cars on the outside, though. Rather than looking overtly sporty or futuristic, the EQC project the image of a slinkier, more elegant version of the traditional Mercedes SUV.
To develop the best electric vehicle possible, Mercedes started from scratch. It created a new brand, the Mercedes-Benz EQ line, by developing the components needed for an electric vehicle from the ground up. More than 85 percent of the components in the Mercedes-Benz EQC are newly minted and designed in-house to Mercedes’ exigent standards. That way, you get the very high level of performance and quality you are used to getting from Mercedes.
At the front, there’s a sweeping chrome grille, which flows into two narrow headlights while at the side you’ll spot a curvier roofline and some more shapely window openings than those on the Mercedes GLC and GLE.
Interieur – Inside
Like all other Mercedes vehicles, the overall design is meant to be stylish. This is achieved through effective design choices, particularly the rose gold accents throughout.
With design cues taken from other Mercedes vehicles and a re-imagining of what the EQC could be, Mercedes developed a design that is functional, as it is stylish.
Mercedes Benz Connectivity
The experience starts with the new EQC before the ride. From the comfort of your living room or your office, you can plan the destination, enter a departure time and adjust the desired temperature inside the car. The EQC also calculates an intelligently planned route, displaying charging stops and the arrival time.
Simply programmed via MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), you can even get a push notification as soon as the loading process has started or ended.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC-specific voice control is activated via “Hey Mercedes”
The ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice-control feature understands commands spoken in plain English or German. You can easily adjust the cabin temperature, change the mood lighting and set the standard sat-nav, all without moving your hands.
Via the “Mercedes me Charge” App, you gain access to the world’s largest charging network with approx. 300,000 Charging points mapped and in Europe with over 300 different operators of public charging stations.
The Mercedes Benz EQC Infotainment system itself is very easy to use. The central display works as a touchscreen, but there is also a touchpad on the center console and some touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel, which make it easier to sift through the high-resolution menus while driving.
The EQC’s advanced driver assistance systems help relieve the stress of long drives. Just like in other Mercedes models, these enable the car to accelerate, brake and steer for you, and to keep you within your lane – providing you keep your hands on the wheel.
Conclusion – Our Verdict
If you have ever considered buying an all-electric vehicle but are indecisive when it comes down to all options, Mercedes-Benz may be just right for you. Electric vehicles are a part of a growing segment of the car market and that segment is bound to grow over time. Mercedes is taking the initiative in developing a new class of cars that is all-electric and provides that same level of quality and performance that we have been accustomed to from them.
There’s a lot to love about the Mercedes EQC. Personally, I was especially delighted by the overall design and I enjoyed both the comfort and the user experience. The Mercedes MBUX infotainment system deserves a notable mention and a big thumbs-up, as it is easy to navigate and highly intuitive.
Mercedes Austria surely set out to spoil us with the test drive of the EQC, by welcoming us for the weekend at the Alpine Naturhotel Forstguthof in Leogang. It was wonderful to discover the luxury and quality of the Forstguthof with its forest-themed romantic Spa, the swimming pond and the chaise longs and niches scattered all over a beautiful garden, that inspired me to recall fond memories of my golf-playing days. After all the grown-up activities, we also allowed the inner child to play, as we gleefully explored the mini village dedicated to children, with its lovely small zoo, many different playgrounds and all fun activities it had to offer. We definitely want to return to the Forstguthof to share our top experiences and allow ourselves to be lavished in more luxury and excellent service.
In wonderful cooperation with Mercedes Benz Austria – Werbung