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Mercedes launches an all-electric SUV with a stunning 279-mile range

By Paul Connolly

Mercedes has lifted the covers on its first-ever all-electric SUV - and it comes with a stunning 279-mile range.

The car - Mercedes-Benz EQC - will be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show this month, and lays down a marker as a serious contender to the likes of the Jaguar I-Pace, Tesla Model X and the upcoming Audi e-tron all-electric SUV.

The launch of the EQC marks another move by a key German manufacturer into the EV (electric vehicle).

This was previously dominated by innovative newbies like Tesla but, as the launch of the Jag I-Pace shows, is increasingly becoming the mainstream battleground of the future.

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The EQC launch is also the first salvo by Mercedes in a new product and technology brand called EQ, standing for “Electric Intelligence” and derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of “Emotion” and “Intelligence”.

The investment in this branding means we can expect to see a whole range of EQ electric models, many based upon existing Mercs but others likely to be innovative electric-only models.

The Mercedes EQC is powered by two electric motors at the front and rear axles with a combined output of 300 kW.

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By virtue of its muscular proportions, the EQC is classed as a crossover SUV. The extended roofline and window layout with a low waistline and the coupé-like roof recess at the rear visually position it between an SUV and an SUV coupé.

A striking feature at the front is the large black-panel surface enclosing the headlamps and grille.

The black panel is bordered at the top by an optical fibre as a visual link between the torch-like daytime running lamps as a typical Mercedes-Benz feature.

At night this creates an almost uninterrupted, horizontal light band. The inner housings and tubes of the standard MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are in high-gloss black.

To reduce power consumption and increase dynamism, the electric drivetrains are configured differently: the front electric motor is optimised for best possible efficiency in the low to medium load range, while the rear one determines dynamism.

Together, they generate an output of 300 kW and a maximum torque of 765 Nm.

The lithium-ion battery, which has an energy content of 80 kWh powers the vehicle.

The EQC supports its driver with five driving programs, each with different characteristics: COMFORT, ECO, MAX RANGE, SPORT and an individually adaptable program.

In the more economical driving modes, a haptic accelerator pedal prompts the driver to conserve power plays an important role.

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The driver is also able to influence the recuperation level using paddles behind the steering wheel.

An ECO Assist system gives the driver comprehensive support when driving predictively: by prompting the driver when it is appropriate to come off the accelerator, e.g. because the vehicle is approaching a speed limit, and by functions such as coasting and specific control of recuperation.

For this purpose, navigation data, traffic sign recognition and information from the intelligent safety assistants (radar and stereo camera) are linked and processed.

As standard the EQC is equipped with a water-cooled onboard charger (OBC) with a capacity of 7.4 kW, making it suitable for AC charging at home or at public charging stations.

Mercedes says charging at a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox is up to three times faster than at a domestic power socket.

Even quicker is DC charging at special units – In around 40 minutes, the battery can be charged from 10 - 80%, it is said.

The claimed official range of 279 miles is made under newer, tougher rules. It may not stand up to real world conditions, but if Mercedes can keep real world range to around 250 miles it will give the car a significant boost over rivals like the Tesla (around 200 miles in real world conditions).

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