Mercedes-Benz South Africa has introduced a number of pure EVs into the local market over the last year. A few of these Mercedes-EQ models were made available for local media to drive at a recent event held in the Western Cape. We went along to get better acquainted with the battery powered newcomers.
The EQA is the entry point to the world of Mercedes-EQ ownership. It is the smallest member of the family and it shares a platform with the GLA crossover. Although it shares underpinnings the EQA features a unique appearance when compared with the GLA.
A ‘form follows function’ approached was used to make the EQA more slippery through the air: low wind resistance means high efficiency ie longer range. The digitally shaped body results in a low Cd value of 0,28. Among the highlights are a closed cooling air control system, aerodynamically efficient front and rear aprons, an almost completely enclosed underbody, and aero optimised wheels.
Click here to read about the range-leading Mercedes-EQ EQS SUV.
The car we drove was the Mercedes-Benz EQA250. This entry-level derivative has an electric drivetrain that powers the front wheels through a single-speed transmission. In typical EV fashion the full torque complement arrives the moment you stomp on the accelerator. Dish out too much power, especially when cornering, and there’s a hint of wheelspin before the electronics intervene.
From the driver’s seat the EQA250 doesn’t feel too dissimilar from a typical GLA, save for the silent powertrain. The rose-gold coloured air vents are just one small give away. Standard specification of the EQA includes features such as LED headlamps, 18-inch light-alloy wheels, luxury seats with four-way adjustable lumbar support, a rear-view camera and a multifunction sports steering wheel in leather. Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system is standard with all mobile phone connectivity and navigation.
Price: R1 169 500
Power/torque: 140 kW/375 N.m
Range: 429 km
The second model we got to drive on the day was the Mercedes-EQ EQB350. The EQB range offers more practicality and space than the EQA and is therefore likely to appeal to families rather than just couples. An optional pair of seats takes the total occupancy up to seven.
Like its smaller sibling the EQB is also based on an existing Mercedes product, the GLB. The EV version has familiar EQ design traits such as the closed black panel between the headlamps, continuous light strip at front and rear, smooth body lines and multi-spoke alloys.
Click here to read about the Mercedes-EQ EQE SUV.
The EQB350 that we drove has a motor on each axle, therefore making it all-wheel-drive. All four wheels ably handle the 520 N.m of torque with no real option of overwhelming grip levels, even on a full-bore pull away. The quoted range for the EBQ350, provided you aren’t wearing lead boots, is 423 km.
Price: R1 374 500
Power/torque: 215 kW/520 N.m
Range: 423 km
Of the Mercedes-EQ models on offer, the car we were most interested to drive was the EQ-range leading EQS. This model is built on a completely new EAV2 platform. This platform is scalable and used in a few different EV applications, such as the upcoming EQE. A slippery shape boasts a drag coefficient value of 0,20 thanks to near seamless panel gaps and aero-optimised alloys. This makes the EQS the most aerodynamic production car in the world today.
Click here to check out the recently launched Mercedes-AMG S63.
The sleek and futuristic exterior is matched by an equally interesting cabin. Front seats occupants face a massive portrait layout tablet. An intelligent on-board computer plans routes based on real-time traffic conditions and topography, among other things. In doing so it aims to maximise battery charge as well as to recuperate energy from the braking system.
A long wheelbase provides a plush ride and a standard rear-axle steering system has up to 4,5 degrees of rear-wheel steer to make the over-five-metre long EQS more agile particularly at low speeds when the rear wheels are turned in the opposite direction to the fronts, effectively shortening the wheelbase.
The car on offer was the ‘entry-level’ Mercedes-Benz EQS EQS450+. It has a motor on the rear axle that delivers 245 kW and 568 N.m of torque. It moves suitably briskly and, interestingly, has variable sounds for each drive mode. The best part of the EQS450+ is that it has a maximum range of up to 782 km on a single charge. This makes it the EV with the longest range on sale in SA right now.
Price: R2 615 700
Power/torque: 245 kW/568 N.m
Range: 782 km