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Mercedes-Benz EQC electric crossover makes US debut at CES 2019

The first Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle from the EQ brand made its US premiere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. The EQC crossover SUV (earlier post) marks the beginning of a new mobility era at Daimler.

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The EQC features two electric motors at the front and rear axles with a combined output of 402 hp. The operation strategy enables the EQC to deliver a preliminary estimated range of 450 kilometers (279 miles) according to the European cycle NEDC.

To reduce power consumption, the electric drivetrains are configured differently: the front electric motor is optimized for best possible efficiency in the low- to medium-load range, while the rear motor adds sportiness. Together, they generate an output of 402 hp and a maximum torque of 564 lb-ft.

EQ also offers comprehensive services with Mercedes me connect, which makes electric mobility convenient and suitable for everyday driving. The EQC will go on sale in the US in 2020.

Mercedes-Benz engineers have enhanced noise comfort with a number of measures. In the EQC the powerpacks are isolated by rubber mounts at two points: where the powerpack connects to its subframe and where the subframe connects to the body. This effective isolation is supplemented with insulation measures. As a result, the interior of the EQC is extremely quiet.

The lithium-ion battery has an energy content of 80 kWh. The power consumption and range of electric vehicles greatly depend on the driving style. The EQC supports its driver with five driving programs through DYNAMIC SELECT, each with different characteristics: COMFORT, ECO, MAX RANGE, SPORT and INDIVIDUAL for an individually customizable program. In the more economical driving modes, the haptic accelerator pedal that prompts the driver to conserve power plays an important role. The driver is also able to influence the recuperation level using paddles behind the steering wheel.

The ECO Assist system gives the driver comprehensive support by prompting the driver when it is appropriate to lift off the accelerator, for example when the vehicle is approaching a change in 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.

Within the EU the charging process at a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox is up to three times faster than at a household socket; in the US the time advantage when charging at a Wallbox is even up to eight times as much, because here the voltage at a household socket is usually 120 V. It is faster with DC charging—which is standard for the EQC, with a suitable market-specific plug—for example via CCS (Combined Charging Systems) in Europe and the USA, CHAdeMO in Japan or GB/T in China. Depending on the SoC (status of charge), the EQC can be charged with a maximum output of up to 110 kW at an appropriate charging station. It then takes around 40 minutes to charge from 10 to 80 percent SoC (provisional figures).

The EQC features the innovative multimedia system MBUX—-Benz User Experience—which has numerous EQ-specific functions such as the display of range, charge status and energy flow. EQ-optimized navigation, driving modes, charging current and departure time can also be controlled and set via MBUX.

The MBUX touchscreen display has a special EQ menu where numerous EQ features are grouped. Alternatively the user can access the EQ menu of the MBUX system directly using a hard key in the lower left control panel. Thanks to natural language recognition, the EQ-specific voice control helps the driver operate the EQC.

MBUX Interior Assistant. By recognizing movements, MBUX Interior Assistant brings added intelligence to the interior. MBUX now supports the occupants by making various comfort and MBUX functions even simpler and more intuitive. MBUX Interior Assistant operates in non-contact mode and functions both in sunlight and in complete darkness.

It enables the adaptation of screen content as soon as a hand approaches the touchscreen in the dashboard or the Touchpad on the center console, for example. Individual elements are highlighted according to the currently active menu. In addition, the system is able to distinguish between the driver’s and front passenger’s wishes and thus knows for whose seat the seat heating is to be activated, for example.

A special feature of Interior Assistant is the personal favorites function, which is initiated using a horizontally outstretched index and middle finger. In this way, any command which is controllable via MBUX can be stored for simple access. One typical favorite command is “navigate me home.” The system is also in a position to detect reliably whether it is being operated by the driver or front passenger. This even means that they can each assign their own different favorites to the same hand position.

There are other functions which can be controlled intuitively, without any need to practice corresponding gestures: In the dark, the reading lamp can be switched on and off by briefly extending a hand towards the rear-view mirror, for example. If the driver reaches over towards the unoccupied front passenger seat in the dark, it will be illuminated automatically. This makes it easier to find any items which may have been set on the seat. As soon as the person’s hand leaves this area, the light automatically switches off again.

Intelligent services. EQ with Mercedes me connect provides comprehensive services for electric mobility. The most important new services and functions of the EQC planned for market launch include:

  • Pre-entry climate control: This ensures that the vehicle interior is already at the desired temperature on departure. It can be programmed directly via MBUX or via the Mercedes me connect app. A sophisticated system with a heat pump and electric heater boosters pre-climatizes the interior.

  • EQ optimized navigation bases its calculation on the fastest route, taking into account the shortest charging time and the topography. The route planning also responds dynamically to changes, and can take place both offboard and onboard, externally (via the Mercedes me connect app) and within the vehicle. Thanks to EQ-optimized navigation, Mercedes-Benz customers can easily find charging stations, and Mercedes me Charge gives them convenient access to the charging stations of numerous providers.

Active and passive safety. The EQC is equipped with the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems. With the Driver Assistance package, these include new functions such as predictive speed adjustment when approaching traffic; when a traffic jam is detected, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC reduces the speed as a precaution.

The EQC also meets the highest requirements with respect to passive safety: in addition to the usual, extensive program of crash tests, Mercedes-Benz applies further, particularly stringent safety standards to the battery and all component parts carrying electrical current. The vehicle structure of the EQC has been adapted to suit the special requirements of the electrical components and battery, and is configured to achieve the usual high safety level. For example, a new subframe surrounds the drive components located in the front section, and this unit is supported by the usual mounting points.

The high-safety design begins with the installation position of the high-voltage battery beneath the vehicle floor. The energy storage unit is surrounded by a stable frame that can absorb energy. Deformation elements are installed between the frame and the battery, and these are able to absorb additional forces in the event of a severe side impact. A battery guard in the front area of the battery is able to prevent the energy storage unit from being pierced by road debris.

The extensive experience of Mercedes-Benz with high-voltage drive systems has led to a multi-stage safety concept that deploys in the event of an accident. The high-voltage system automatically shuts down, according to the severity of the accident. There are also shutdown points where emergency teams can deactivate the high-voltage system manually.

Testing. By market launch, 200 prototypes and pre-production vehicles of the EQC will have covered several million miles across four continents (Europe, North America, Asia and Africa). The full test program comprises more than 500 individual tests. Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the EQC must pass the demanding standard test program. There are also special tests for the electric powertrain, the battery, and the interplay of all powertrain components.

In the process, the test experts are able to build upon the extensive findings from their digital testing work, used to ensure both the buildability of the vehicle and for the simulation of crash behavior, aerodynamics and NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). In addition there are intensive tests on numerous test rigs at the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center in Sindelfingen. The ratio between digital and real testing is roughly 35 to 65 percent.

Production. Production of the EQC will start in 2019 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen. The new EQC will be integrated into ongoing series production as a fully electric vehicle, and the very latest production technologies will be employed.

In series production, the joining of the powertrain to the body is called the “marriage.” One decisive innovation is the battery-joining center where the EQC undergoes a second “marriage” following installation of the two electric motors in the bodyshell. This is where the EQCs are equipped with a battery for the first time. The body is suspended from a C-carrier and deposited on a frame. Support arms raise the battery to the vehicle’s floor from below, and an employee monitors the automatic bolting in place.

In parallel with this, production of batteries for the EQC is coming on stream at the expanded battery plant in Kamenz (near Dresden).

Comments

Arnold

"The EQC features two electric motors at the front and rear axles with a combined output of 402 hp."
Should read... An electric motor on each axle.

The specifications seem well matched to traditional Mercedes Benz customer.

I presume there is a default mode for those amongst us that are overwhelmed by so many choices on offer.

SJC

Luxury brands have the margins to offer these products.

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