Earlier today, Mercedes premiered its first-ever production fully electric SUV, the Mercedes-Benz EQC. It boasts 402 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque, which is impressive, but the EQC’s range seems to leave a lot to be desired.
The official Mercedes-Benz press release lists the EQC’s range at “up to 200 miles,” which falls pretty far short of the Tesla Model X 75D’s claimed 237 miles of range, the Jaguar I-Pace’s claimed 240 miles of range, and wouldn’t even keep up with the 2019 Hyundai Kona EV or Chevy Bolt. It’s bad. It’s really bad.
And Mercedes seems to be aware that it’s bad, as it’s already trying to fudge the numbers, with company representatives telling tech outlet The Verge that “the preliminary estimated range figure for the EQC of 200 miles for the U.S. is incorrect.”
According to Verge writer Sean O’Kane on Twitter, Mercedes instead offered the range as 450km, or around 280 miles according to NEDC standards, which are not a good gauge for the EPA’s range estimates, meaning the range could still be close to 200 miles. (For example, the I-Pace is rated at 300 miles on the NEDC standard, but the EPA only rates it at 240 miles.)
The Verge’s headline now just reads a range of “over 200 miles.”
Mercedes, the automaker that prides itself on producing vehicles that are “The Best, or Nothing,” should be understandably disappointed that its big fancy premiere EV is already beat on the spec sheet by a Chevy hatchback. Especially when a range closer to 300 miles was clearly promised with the debut of the EQ concept crossover back in late 2016. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Mercedes’ ability to compete with the upcoming EV onslaught from Audi and BMW, so what happened?
And it’s not exactly an issue of battery size, either. The I-Pace gets its 240 miles from a 90 kWh battery pack, where the EQC is an 80 kWh pack. The Tesla Model X 75D is, as you may have guessed, a 75 kWh pack.
To be fair, range anxiety mostly factors in if you take a long of long road trips, which most folks don’t do day-to-day. But it is a factor for buyers, and it’s a clear indication of where Mercedes is currently at with the technology in comparison to its competition.
Another strange quirk of the new EQC is its lack of a frunk. Where the I-Pace and Model X managed to carve out space under the “hood” for additional storage space, one of the less-impressive but still notable benefits of an electric car, the EQC offers no such accomodation as the space is taken up by “electric drive system components,” according to Mercedes in an email to Jalopnik.
This is a weird first step into EV manufacturing for the company that used to innovate the industry with its S-Class just a few years ago, and it may just be down to rushing something out of the door before everybody else. In the end, maybe buyers won’t care about range so much as long as the car still offers the Mercedes-Benz ownership experience, which means luxury and hopefully better dealership service.
But the development teams behind the Tesla Model X, Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Kona, and Jaguar I-Pace, all of which got in before Mercedes and still managed better results, should be deservedly smug right now.