First customer preview of the Mercedes EQC gave me confidence : Martin Schwenk

2020 is the year of the electric vehicle in India. Mercedes-Benz will launch the pure-electric EQC in India in April and ahead of the launch, the brand is showcasing the special edition of the car, the EQC Edition 1886, at the Auto Expo 2020. The high-end electric SUV market globally will see a good fight between the MB EQC, the Audi e-tron, BMW iX3 and the Jaguar I-Pace, with the electric Jag and the Audi also confirmed for launch in 2020.

We sat down with Mercedes-Benz India’s top boss Martin Schwenk at the Auto Expo and asked him what his customers make of the EQC:

“We launched the brand EQ and showcased the car last month to the media. We have not officially launched the vehicle nor have we communicated the pricing which will happen in April. We have taken the opportunity in our home base of Pune where we had the customer viewing and allowed the customers to drive the car to get a feeling. I can just say that it gives me a lot of confidence, as there is some impact when you show how luxury and electrification can go together. They feel at home in the car, but the driving is different and it feels different, and that is very interesting for the customer. Our first response is positive but we have not brought it or marketed it to a broader audience, that is something we plan for April.”

The EQC has no doubt been progressing slowly in the global market since its production launch in May last year. This was followed by reports of supply constraints by the German media that the brand was quick to shoot down. Nevertheless, we sought Schwenk’s comment about the allocation for the Indian market, and here’s his reply:

“We have received what we wanted, we have no shortage. It is neither a handful nor are we going into the thousands, because at the end, the EQC is our starting point. I need to find customers who so far are interested. So we have to grow and it will take time as we have restrictions on infrastructure and we need to beef up our entire dealer network, it is a question of servicing of the car, battery recycling..we need to learn, so it would be a bit too ambitious if we take in massive numbers. I’m confident that every customers who wants a car will get one.”

On the question of how customers will charge the EQC, he said:

We will definitely offer wallbox solutions for home and work type of charging. On top of that we are in the process of devicing how the customer would charge the car. This is one of the reasons why we didn’t launch the car earlier. We are still preparing the network and finalizing the plans. I expect most of the EQC’s commutes in the city, most of the daily drives can be done through the wallbox charger at home or office.

Mechanically, the EQC Edition 1886 is similar to the standard EQC. Special aesthetic touches have been incorporated to the standard EQC to enhance exclusivity. The Edition 1886 branding creates an exclusive link to the year when Karl Benz filed patent for the Benz Patent Motor car – widely regarded as the first production automobile. The 1886 numbering on interior & exterior elements such as seat backrests, fenders and centre console adds to the exclusive appeal. The edition also features new seat designs with upholstery in ARTICO man-made leather/DINAMICA microfibre dual tone blue-back. The 20-inch light weight alloy wheel rims receive a high gloss black with white decorative elements to provide disctinction. The edition is available only in the exclusive high-tech silver colour.

Mercedes EQC specifications

Description  Values
CO2 emissions 0 g/km
Range (NEDC) New European Drive Cycle 445 – 471 km
Drive system 2 asynchronous motors, all-wheel drive
Power Output 300 kW (408 hp)
Peak torque 760 Nm
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 5.1 s
Battery Lithium-ion
Battery energy content (NEDC) 80 kWh
Battery weight 652 kg