I ate and slept on the idea of taking the EQC out of its comfort zone for days before approaching folks at Mercedes-Benz. Their positive responsive confirmed EQC’s first inter-state travel and probably the first to the hills. On the way, we tried to record the experience, which we believe wouldn’t be enough to narrate and here I’m telling you more.
Electrics are relatively nascent against the century-old gasoline powertrains. Zoom to the present, almost every carmaker has an EV in the market, showcasing what lies in store. This also makes the perfect flatbed for evolution. Silent drive, full band of torque from the word go and most importantly the aim for sustainable mobility is taking a shape through electric vehicles.
Mercedes EQC sets you back by Rs 99.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), and in return ensures a theatre-like ambiance, the feeling of exclusivity and an AMG-like drive. You have a couple of other options currently to choose from, which start at as low as Rs 15 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The regular ask of taking your car to the mechanics, getting the internal combustion engine serviced is also done away with. That’s the wonder of an electric motor and battery. They reduce the intervention of human labour to almost nil. Making the package even more lucrative is the comprehensive warranty on the battery. Whether it’s Mercedes or the likes of Hyundai, Tata or MG, all the offerings come battery-insured with 1,60,000 kilometres/8 years.
The prep before the task:
Most EV owners, the companies believe, would have a garage-like space for easy installation of an AC wallbox charger, which comes as complimentary. And in most cases, the electricity consumed to refill your EV is an extension of the same that lights your residence. What I try to focus on is the fact that charging an EV doesn’t require commercial charges or incur extra tariffs.
All the electric SUVs on sale in India currently and the ones to hit soon will have a usable range at least of 300+ kilometres. The EQC takes around 12 hours to full charge, which in our case in Delhi, cost Rs 900-925.
My calculative mind:
The first allocation of EQC is sold out. As part of the Mercedes feedback mechanism, the carmakers proactively sought the opinion of the owners and concluded that mostly the EQC is used for urban runabouts and is charged once a week.
And one full charge delivers up to 375 kilometres in the usual case, translating into Rs 3/e-kilometre. To put it into perspective, take AMG GLC 53 for example. The 3-litre, V6 engine delivered up to 8 kmpl (Rs 10.30-11.50/kilometre).
The 50kW DC fast charger takes about two hours to fully charge. This isn’t the most preferred by owners, rather it’s a way of quick top-up, and will cost between Rs 3.75 to 4.25/kilometre.
I would be lying if I sound super-confident ahead of taking the EQC to hills in Uttarakhand. The range of anxiety always played up in the back of my mind. I mean there is congestion, bad roads, and multiple factors that kick in unsaid and unprepared. While most EVs on sale are connected and show up the nearest charging station at the touch of a button, it’s always advisable to do the homework before heading out.
When it comes to Mercedes-Benz, the Germans have an upper hand over the in-bound electric rivals. Look around, Mercedes-Benz has over 100 charging pitstop at all its outlets across the country.
There would be instances when you take your attention off the range metrics and enjoy the EQC for what it is. We exactly did that on well-paved twisted tarmac heading upwards of Rishikesh. The massive torque surge (408 hp, 765 Nm) with a gentle dab on the throttle, plenty of creature comforts to pamper you, and the sporty response from the nicely-judged steering wheel would remind you what EQC is capable of.
Living with the EQC is tough, but also rewarding in its own way. The charging infra would still give you a worry, but steady addition in the EV portfolio, year-on-year gives my confidence that this and cars like these have a bright future.