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[Behind the Wheel] First all-electric vehicle under EQ brand arrives in Korea

German luxury carmaker’s EV is dynamic and progressive but short in driving range

The first all-electric car launched by Mercedes-Benz Korea recently landed here, jumping into the eco-friendly car market which is still small but promising and currently dominated by Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors.

Its main design concept “progressive luxury” instantly suggests where the German carmaker is headed, and is enough to excite its fans here with futuristic elements.

But the question is: Can the EQC compete with other electric vehicles that have a driving range of higher than 100 kilometers on a single charge? The EQC can drive up to 309 kilometers on a single charge, less than Hyundai’s Kona EV which can run up to 406 kilometers and Niro EV with a certified driving range of 348 kilometers. Its price is also more than double that of the Korean car models.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC is seen during a media test drive held between Seoul and Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 21. (Mercedes-Benz Korea)
The new Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC is seen during a media test drive held between Seoul and Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Oct. 21. (Mercedes-Benz Korea)

Keeping the distance in mind, The Korea Herald took the EQC for a 120-kilometer test-drive last month to Pocheon, Gyeonggi Province, to discover its charms.

The most intriguing part of the EQC was its ability to provide stability, calmness and a sense of lightness even at top speed. The secret behind such dynamic driving is the configuration of the electric drivetrains, the company said.

The front electric motor is configured for maximum efficiency in the low- to medium-load range, while the rear one determines dynamism. When combined, the two motors generate 408 horsepower and up to 78 kilogram-meters of torque. The EQC can speed up to 100 kph from zero in a 5.1 seconds.

Another interesting feature of the EQC is that the driver can control the vehicle’s power consumption. The driver can cycle through four levels of energy recuperation -- D+, D, D- and D-- -- by using a paddle behind the steering wheel. D+ deactivates recuperation allowing the vehicle to operate at higher performance, while D-- offers the maximum level of recuperation for greater energy efficiency, the company said.

(Mercedes-Benz Korea)
(Mercedes-Benz Korea)

The vehicle is in between a sport utility vehicle and a SUV-coupe segment, with muscular proportions that identify with the EQC’s design philosophy. As for the interior, simplicity is what describes the vehicle but embodies both digital and analog elements by placing new “avant-garde electro look” user interface along with aluminum buttons for temperature control and others.

To promote the green car, Mercedes-Benz Korea has launched EQ Smart Coaching Service, a comprehensive EV charging consulting service.

With the Mercedes Me Charge Membership Card, customers can charge their vehicles and pay for the charging at most public charging stations.

In summary, the EQC has it all -- progressive design and technology enough to attract rich, eco-conscious customers, with the exception of the limited travel range and a lack of EV charging stations in the country.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC is priced at 105 million won ($900,000). A special financial program for the new EQC customers with a 799,000 won monthly installment financial plan is also available.

By Cho Chung-un (

The Korea Herald ratings

Design: 4 stars
Fuel economy: 4 stars
Safety: 4 stars
Price: 3 stars

Overall: 15/20