Mercedes EQC long-term test: report 7

The Mercedes EQC is the brand's first mainstream all-electric car. Can it eclipse the rival Audi E-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X? We've got six months to find out...

Mercedes EQC cold weather

The car Mercedes EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line Premium Plus Run by Jim Holder, editorial director

Why it’s here We want to discover if Mercedes' first mainstream EV is a match for the opposition, worthy of its near-£80,000 price tag and fits into everyday life

Needs to Deliver a wow factor befitting its price, without any limitations resulting from its mode of propulsion that compromise its everyday usability

Miles covered 2120 Price £74,610 Target Price £74,610 Price as tested £77,200 Official range 232 miles Test range 199 miles

2 February 2021 – Winter blues as cold snap eats range

One of the things you soon realise when you run an electric vehicle such as the Mercedes EQC is just how much more aware of energy consumption you are than in a combustion-engined car.

Sure, that’s initially driven by range anxiety, but in time I have found it becomes as much about simply trying to drive as efficiently as possible. Even on a five-mile school run, I take a strange satisfaction from trying to eke out a bit more mileage.

Mercedes EQC covered in ice

The result is that you learn – consciously and unconsciously – a few tricks, always coasting to a halt when possible to maximise energy regeneration, but if that’s not possible then sometimes braking later and harder to produce a larger spike of energy creation. Likewise, you start to roll around corners, read the road ahead with more care and more. Dare I say an electric car makes you a better driver?

There are also choices you can make to maximise efficiency, starting from before you leave home. If the car is plugged in to charge, you can pre-programme it to heat prior to your departure (or set this function live via an app on your phone if you aren’t organised enough to plan). As a result, you can have demisted windows, a heated interior and toasty seats, with all the energy to do that topped up from the wall socket rather than the car’s battery.

It’s worth doing, because another learning is just how much energy such systems use. In a combustion-engined car, you may well take them for granted, your fuel readout indicated on a needle rather than a range countdown, but ultimately both are using the same energy.

Mercedes EQC ice close up

Of course, this has been particularly apparent during the recent cold spell. Just as higher temperatures are a battery’s best friend, helping energy stick to it and increasing range, so cold weather is the enemy, reducing charge capacity and leaching out range over time.

The Mercedes EQC has been reasonably resilient in this respect, its maximum indicated range falling around 10% in the coldest weather – a figure amplified if I then run the heating systems. Other electric cars I’ve driven have lost nearer 20%.

Of course, ‘giving away’ so much energy is infuriating for the eco-driver, but it is a fact of life of winter ownership of an electric car that every prospective buyer has to consider.

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