Mercedes-Benz shows off luxury new electric vehicle in SA

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The Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC.

Mercedes-Benz today premiered its first electric vehicle (EV), the EQC 400 4MATIC, in SA.

The luxury SUV is the first of a family of electric-powered vehicles expected to be introduced by Mercedes-Benz over the next two years.

EQ stands for electric intelligence, according to the German global automobile company.

The vehicle, which made its debut at the inaugural Smarter Mobility Africa Summit today, will be available locally in the second half of 2020.

It is the first Mercedes-Benz model under the new product and technology brand EQ.

The EQC comes with a high-voltage lithium-ion battery, which gives it a combined power consumption of 22.2kWh/100km and an electric range of more than 450km on a full charge.

“The EQC, the first electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, brings a history of exceptional automotive design into a new era of mobility,” says Johannes Fritz, co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz SA and executive director of Mercedes-Benz Cars SA.

“The vehicle has a combined output of 300kW and an intelligent operating strategy for a superior electric range. It is part of a growing family of purely electrically-powered vehicles from Mercedes-Benz.”

According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers, there are around 12 million cars registered on South African roads, with almost 1 000 being EVs.

Locally, Nissan Leaf was the first EV introduced in 2013, followed by BMW’s i3 in 2015 and Jaguar Land Rover’s Jaguar i-Pace early this year.

Mercedes-Benz’s new EV range is part of its mother company, Daimler’s strategic focus on the four major trends influencing future mobility – connected, autonomous, shared and electric.

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

It also comes with the Wallbox Home unit, which has maximum charging capacity of 22kW. This means a user can charge the EQC three times more quickly than when using a conventional domestic socket.

The Wallbox Home unit includes features such as charging control, user management, charging statistics and cost-optimised charging, which can be controlled and monitored via a smartphone.

Mercedes-Benz says the EQC’s interior is made of renewable materials such as hemp, kenaf, wool, cotton, paper and natural rubber, and features a widescreen cockpit.

Its infotainment system comes with a 10.25-inch digital display and the car has heated seats, 64-colour ambient lighting and Mercedes-Benz’s driver assistance package.

Ben Pullen, CEO of Generation.e, organiser of the Smarter Mobility Africa Summit and convener of the first EV Road Trip in the country, says the Mercedes-Benz launch of the EQC is a boon for smarter mobility.

“Mercedes is a premium brand and the fact that they are premiering their EQC model at the Smarter Mobility Africa Summit is very good news – not only showing their commitment to smarter mobility, but also for electric vehicle uptake in SA. They are an aspirational brand and this sends exactly the right signals to consumers as we drive home the message of working towards sustainable, smarter mobility,” notes Pullen.

“The new EQC radiates ease and modernity where SUV practicality meets sports car sleekness,” says Selvin Govender, marketing director for Mercedes-Benz Cars SA, adding the local EV market should prepare for major disruption in 2020.

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