Tighter rules, environmental developments and rising buyer demand are forcing automobile makers to get severe in the case of their electrical automobile methods. And Mercedes is the newest producer to launch a brand new all-electric mannequin.
The brand new EQC is a premium electrical SUV that provides a variety of simply over 200 miles, which places it firmly in the identical class as one other not too long ago launched mannequin, the Audi e-tron, which we’re testing it towards right here.
Wanting on the two fashions facet by facet, it’s clear that these premium producers have made the choice that the upmarket SUV class is the very best place to start their new EV product offensives, as a result of the economies of scale aren’t but in place for smaller fashions to be worthwhile.
Nevertheless, clients who need to spend a giant chunk of money on an upmarket SUV gained’t be happy with these EVs except these newcomers are a minimum of pretty much as good, if not higher than, their combustion-engined equivalents. Patrons will probably be on the lookout for usable vary and powerful efficiency, plus all the newest in-car tech and good practicality, too.
Right here we see which of those premium EVs finest strains up with these expectations.
|Mannequin:||Mercedes EQC 400 4MATIC AMG Line Premium Plus|
|Engine:||Twin electrical motors/85kW battery, 402bhp|
|Take a look at financial system:||2.7 miles/kWh|
|Annual street tax:||£310|
The Mercedes EQC is carefully matched with the e-tron, as a result of they each have the identical energy output and the same useable battery capability. The 2 fashions are shut on value as nicely; in AMG Line Premium Plus type, the EQC prices £74,610.
Design & engineering
The EQC has an 85kWh battery on board, and 80kWh of it’s usable (this helps lengthen its life), whereas the e-tron has a 95kWh battery with a usable capability of 84kWh, so that they’re nearer in actuality than it’d look on paper.
Each additionally use a dual-motor format, with one on every axle, which mix to supply these vehicles with 402bhp and four-wheel drive. Nevertheless, one space the place the Mercedes outshines its rival is torque, because it has 760Nm out there, whereas the Audi has 664Nm.
One other similarity is that the lithium-ion battery is sandwiched within the ground, so the centre of gravity is stored low. However these vehicles are nonetheless heavy. The EQC weighs 2,495kg and the e-tron is 2,490kg, so that they’re a lot weightier than a traditional SUV of this measurement.
The EQC is predicated on comparable structure to the Mercedes GLC, quite than utilizing a bespoke EV platform. However that doesn’t put it at a drawback right here as a result of the e-tron is predicated on a toolkit of components utilized in different Audi fashions, too.
Mercedes claims 259 miles of vary (WLTP), so greater than the Audi’s 239 miles. But the e-tron is ready to use 150kW speedy chargers, whereas the EQC is simply outfitted for a 110kW most. At these charging charges, a 10-80 per cent increase – assume mid-journey pit-stop – takes 35 minutes within the EQC and 25 minutes within the Audi. At residence, charging with a wallbox will take 12 hours and 45 minutes for the Mercedes, however 13 hours 30 minutes for the Audi.
The EQC’s cabin isn’t too completely different from the remainder of the Mercedes line-up. There are neat touches, such because the metallic grille that runs throughout the sprint, and the MBUX infotainment system is superb. However there are a number of cheaper-feeling supplies, similar to on the centre console, that look misplaced in a automobile of this value. The Audi’s inside feels of a barely larger high quality.
The EQC examined right here additionally contains a head-up show, 360-degree parking cameras, 21-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, augmented actuality sat-nav instructions on the 2 12.Three-inch infotainment show screens and wi-fi smartphone charging.
One of many first stuff you discover when driving most EVs is how speedy they’re from a standing begin, as a result of the motors don’t want time to construct up torque like a combustion engine does. The EQC follows that pattern, and whereas it feels similar to the e-tron for acceleration, it was truly barely quicker.
It took simply 5.2 seconds to go from Zero-60mph and 1.5 seconds from 30-50mph, each occasions Zero.2 seconds faster than the Audi. Nevertheless, the EQC was a bit of behind its rival from 30-70mph and 50-70mph, at four.four and a pair of.9 seconds respectively, as a result of the e-tron is barely punchier at larger speeds.
Energy supply is just about similar, due to the character of electrical motors; the EQC has a bit extra torque, nevertheless it’s deployed in the identical method. There’s little distinction in efficiency.There are extra similarities within the driving expertise, nevertheless, as a result of these vehicles supply little driver involvement, and the steering is pretty lifeless in each as nicely.
The EQC is simply as snug because the Audi, though the e-tron offers with lumpy surfaces at low pace barely higher than the Mercedes. Nevertheless, it settles down at larger speeds, and variations on smaller wheels than our check automobile’s 21-inch rims are seemingly to be extra composed round city.
Adaptive dampers imply you may change how agency the trip is, however there’s not an enormous distinction between the modes. It does an excellent job of hiding the automobile’s kerbweight in corners due to the low centre of gravity, however finally weight wins out; you’re all the time conscious of the momentum the EQC carries, which dulls its responses.However this isn’t a driver’s automobile, so the consolation and refinement are far more essential.
The EQC isn’t small, and its 500-litre boot is spacious, nevertheless it loses out on room subsequent to its rival. The rear seats supply sufficient legroom for adults, however the Audi is larger. The Mercedes’ actual drawback is headroom, which is sort of poor. Tall passengers will discover their head touches the roof, regardless of a cut-out within the headlining that creates additional house above the rear seats.
It feels a lot darker and extra cramped at the back of the EQC, too. Whereas there’s about as a lot centre console storage within the Mercedes, it’s nicely designed and simpler to entry within the Audi.
In AMG Line Premium Plus type, the EQC is full of security package. Adaptive cruise, autonomous braking, blind-spot and lane-keep help and a 360-degree digicam all function. Our automobile was additionally fitted with the £1,695 Driving Help Pack, including energetic blind-spot help, steering help and a pedestrian warning operate.
Each EVs will value far much less to run than a petroleum or diesel automobile of the identical value and energy output. The EQC returned 2.7 miles per kWh, so its 80kWh usable battery offers a most vary of 216 miles. At £10 for a full cost, primarily based on an electrical energy value of 12.5p per kWh, it’ll value four.6p per mile, or simply £556 for 12,000 miles of driving.
The Audi was barely much less environment friendly, at 2.Three miles per kWh, so it prices extra to run – 5.4p per mile, or £652 for 12,000 miles – and its usable battery capability of 85kWh leads to a variety of 193 miles.
“These EVs are premium fashions that value greater than £40,000, so that they aren’t free to tax. You’ll pay the £320-a-year VED surcharge for the primary 5 years, then nothing after that.”
|Mannequin:||Audi e-tron 55 quattro|
|Engine:||Twin electrical motors/95kW battery, 402bhp|
|Take a look at financial system:||2.Three miles/kWh|
|Annual street tax:||£310|
The Audi e-tron is £2,300 cheaper (£72,310) than our EQC check automobile in AMG Line Premium Plus trim. However if you would like the identical quantity of kit, you’ll want so as to add extras to the Audi.
Design & engineering
Simply because the EQC makes use of components shared with Mercedes’ GLC, the e-tron is predicated on Audi’s MLB structure. It’s been closely tailored to accommodate the batteries below the ground, and an electrical motor on every axle, however the e-tron does share components with the the German model’s Q5 and Q7 SUVs.
The motors ship a complete of 402bhp and 664Nm of torque, and as with the Mercedes, the e-tron has a single-speed computerized gearbox. Each vehicles additionally function an adjustable regenerative braking set-up, which might be managed utilizing paddles on the wheel. In contrast to altering gear in a petroleum or diesel automobile, these controls are used to extend or lower the quantity of braking regen whenever you raise off the throttle pedal.
With capability for 150kW charging, the e-tron might be topped up from 10-80 per cent in simply 25 minutes, which may be very helpful. Nevertheless, it has a shorter vary than its check rival (each WLTP and our personal figures point out round 20 miles much less) and takes longer than the EQC to cost to 100 per cent at residence.
Air suspension is normal right here, and within the e-tron you may select completely different modes to change the trip top and damping stiffness. In addition they alter the steering weight and throttle response.
There’s a hi-tech really feel within the cabin, though no extra so than in every other Audi with the newest three-screen infotainment set-up. This is a wonderful system, although, and is mixed with numerous high-quality supplies, a easy however elegant design and very good construct high quality. This all means the inside is a little more befitting the excessive price ticket than the EQC’s.
Customary package is excellent, with the trio of screens, sat-nav, smartphone connectivity and a 360-degree digicam all fitted as normal. You additionally get 20-inch alloy wheels, local weather and adaptive cruise management, heated leather-based seats, LED lights and keyless go.
With the e-tron weighing the same quantity however providing much less torque than the EQC, it’s just a bit slower off the mark; it wanted 5.four seconds to go from Zero-60mph in our checks, whereas the Mercedes took 5.2 seconds.
However at larger speeds the Audi took some floor again from the Mercedes, taking simply 2.6 seconds to go from 50-70mph, which was Zero.Three seconds quicker than the EQC’s 2.9-second time. Nonetheless, these numbers don’t imply an excessive amount of in regular driving circumstances, and each are very quick vehicles. In a straight line they’ll outperform some sports activities vehicles and almost all sizzling hatchbacks, and can shock many EV newcomers.
They actually wouldn’t sustain on a twisty street, although, as a result of their hefty kerbweights and numb steering imply they’re lower than a lot in bends. Intelligent torque vectoring adjusts the place the Audi’s energy is delivered whereas cornering, which helps increase agility, however the steering is so numb and lightweight that it’s not a lot enjoyable to drive.
The Mercedes is a bit more satisfying as a result of its management weights are higher, however neither automobile provides a fantastic driver connection. Each are significantly better when pushed in a relaxed method.
The Audi’s 21-inch wheels are vulnerable to trigger discomfort over potholes at decrease pace, however the EQC additionally suffers from this on the identical measurement of wheels. The e-tron doesn’t shuffle round as a lot over roads with numerous smaller bumps, nevertheless it’s barely much less refined and composed at larger speeds than the Mercedes. The variations between them on this regard are fairly small, although, and total each are snug, enjoyable and refined, particularly as their robust efficiency permits for easy overtakes, and it’s straightforward to rise up to hurry with no gears.
The e-tron is far more spacious inside than the EQC, particularly for passengers within the rear, the place there’s extra leg and headroom. The Audi additionally has a much bigger boot than the Mercedes, at 664 litres, which is 164 litres extra and an excellent measurement contemplating the battery below the ground. There’s 1,725 litres out there with the seats folded down, too, which is 665 litres up on what the EQC provides on this configuration.
The e-tron comes with a Kind 2 charging cable and a three-pin plug as normal, which matches its rival. The EQC additionally contains a yr’s free speedy charging on the Ionity charging community, which is without doubt one of the corporations at the moment providing 100kW chargers across the UK. On each the cables are saved below the boot ground, or in a compartment below the bonnet.
Mercedes took 15th place out of 31 producers in our Driver Energy 2019 supplier survey, and Audi completed 20th.
Euro NCAP gave the e-tron a full five-star score for security, and that is mirrored in the usual package: AEB, lane-keep help and adaptive cruise management are all included. Nevertheless, blind-spot help is a part of the optionally available £1,125 Metropolis Help pack.
SINCE each zero-emission fashions sit within the lowest 16 per cent Profit-in-Type (BiK) tax band, they’re cheaper to tax than an equal petrol or diesel, but as a result of they value greater than £70,000, they’re nonetheless dear. Greater-rate earners can pay £four,772 for the EQC and £four,576 for the e-tron. However subsequent yr’s price for EVs drops to zero per cent, so there will probably be no tax, except for VED, to pay.
Each vehicles have very excessive predicted residual values, at 65.four for the Mercedes and 62.9 per cent for the Audi. The previous will lose £25,726 and the latter £26,813.
“The Audi will get an 11kW on-board charger as normal, however you may improve this to a 22kW unit to chop charging occasions. The EQC makes use of a 7.4kW on-board charger.”
First place: Mercedes EQC
The Mercedes EQC nudges forward of the e-tron by a hair’s breadth due to its higher effectivity, but when house is extra essential to you then the Audi is a better option. There’s little to separate the 2 elsewhere, as a result of each fashions supply spectacular efficiency and really low operating prices. They’re costly to purchase and never very thrilling to drive, however the ranges of consolation and refinement are sensible.
Second place: Audi e-tron
Even with its bigger useable battery capability, the e-tron couldn’t match the EQC’s vary as a result of it simply isn’t as environment friendly; its 2.Three miles per kWh determine is without doubt one of the lowest we’ve seen in an EV to this point. Regardless of this, it’s nonetheless far cheaper to run than a conventionally-fuelled automobile of the identical measurement, and provides a great deal of inside house, nice rapid-charging functionality and a high-quality, hi-tech inside.
Additionally take into account…
Mannequin: Jaguar I-Tempo EV400 HSE
Engine: Twin e-motors, 90kWh battery
The Jaguar I-Tempo is without doubt one of the finest EVs round. It’s one in all only a few fashions which are genuinely enjoyable to drive in addition to quick in a straight line. The Brit additionally provides a hi-tech and attention-grabbing cabin, a snug trip and loads of tools as normal.
Tesla Mannequin S
Mannequin: Tesla Mannequin S Lengthy Vary
Value: £78,Zero50 Engine: Twin e-motors, 100kWh battery
If SUVs aren’t your factor, a Tesla Mannequin S is likely to be the appropriate alternative. It’s a variety king, because the identify implies, as a result of it may well cowl 375 miles on a single cost (WLTP figures). It’s spacious inside, with a minimalist really feel to the inside and many tech.
|Mercedes EQC 400 AMG Line Premium Plus||Audi e-tron 55 quattro Plus|
|On the street value/complete as examined||£74,610/£76,900||£72,310/£89,395|
|Residual worth (after 3yrs/36,000)||£48,780/65.four%||£45,497/62.9%|
|Annual tax legal responsibility std/larger price||£2,386/£four,772||£2,288/£four,576|
|Annual elec. value (12ok/20ok miles)||£556/£926||£652/£1,087|
|Insurance coverage group/quote/street tax value||TBC/TBC/£320||50/£897/£320|
|Servicing prices||£2,569 (6 years)||£799 (2 years)|
|Powertrain||2x e-motors||2x e-motors|
|Transmission||Single-spd auto/4 wheel drive||Single-spd auto/4 wheel drive|
|Battery capability/usable||85/80kWh||95/84 kWh|
|Boot capability (seats up/down)||500/1,Zero60 litres||660/1,725 litres|
|Turning circle||11.eight metres||12.2 metres|
|Primary guarantee (miles)/restoration||3yrs (limitless)/4yrs||3yrs (60,000)/3yrs|
|Driver Energy producer/supplier pos.||26th/15th||16th/20th|
|Zero-60/30-70mph||5.2/four.four secs||5.four/four.Three secs|
|30-50mph||1.5 secs||1.7 secs|
|50-70mph||2.9 secs||2.6 secs|
|AE financial system/precise predicted vary||2.7 miles/kWh/216 miles||2.Three miles/kWh/193 miles|
|Claimed vary (WLTP)||259 miles||239 miles|
|Charging time (Three.7kW/7.4kW/11kW)||25h30m/12h45m/12h45m||26h45m/13h30m/9h|
|Charging time (50kW/100kW^)||75m/35m||74m/25m|
|Precise/claimed CO2/tax bracket||Zero/0g/km/16%||Zero/0g/km/16%|
|Auto field/lane-keep/blind spot/AEB||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/£1,125*/sure|
|Clim./cruise ctrl/leather-based/heated seats||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure/sure|
|Met paint/LEDs/keyless/pwr tailgate||£685/sure/sure/sure||£750/sure/sure/sure|
|Nav/digi sprint/DAB/linked apps||Sure/sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure/sure|
|Wi-fi cost/CarPlay/Android Auto||Sure/sure/sure||Sure/sure/sure|