A sneak peek at the first all-electric Mercedes-Benz
Even in Norway, where it seems like there’s a higher Tesla concentration than in Dubai’s Sustainable City, the EQC, the first all-electric Mercedes-Benz, feels low-profile. This is the most normcore of electric vehicles—an extremely approachable Benz crossover that’s well-built and luxurious, filled with clean ’n’ green bona fides that aren’t overt. Don’t expect your eco ego to be stroked when you toss the key fob to the valet.
But if you take a long-haul road trip in the EQC, as I did—1,000 kilometres, from Oslo to Berlin—its innovations begin to reveal themselves. The car will automatically heat up your battery to an optimal temperature for faster charging. There’s also a smorgasbord of drive modes that significantly change the character of the car from a battery-sipping eco setting to “Did a speed camera just take a picture of me?”
It was somewhere in Sweden, cruising through fields choked with so many yellow wildflowers it made me reach for my Claritin, that I felt at one with its most aggressively eco mode. On this setting you can effectively drive with one pedal—release the accelerator and the car dramatically slows down as if you were downshifting on a racetrack. It’s super involving, which is a rarity in any family-centric crossover.
On a journey with so many Instagrammable detours, I often needed to stop to recharge the EQC. Waiting for the battery to fill back up, I’d wander through well-designed supermarkets and rest stops, observing the more mundane aspects of Scandi culture. Turns out the Swedes truly love lingonberries! And liverwurst. (So much liverwurst.) Was this a gift of unstructured time? Or a delay foisted upon me by the limits of EV technology?
Once I reached the German autobahn, however, I felt the need for some fahrvergnügen. I mashed the accelerator, bringing the EQC to its electronically limited top speed of 180kph, but in the process I massacred the battery. Scheisse! I would have to miss my dinner reservation in Berlin to charge yet again. I ate my gas-station liverwurst smeared with lingonberry jam in a deserted German parking lot. Sometimes it’s not easy being green.