Mercedes-Benz continues its roll-out of its all-electric EQ range, which will total 10 models by 2022, with the unveiling of the EQA. The ‘A’ indicates its entry-level positioning in the big Mercedes-Benz family, and it is considered a member of the compact car line although it has a dedicated electric powertrain.
Besides being built in Germany, from which European dealerships will soon get their units, the EQA will also be built in China. The first version, the EQA 250, will be sold in Germany at prices from 47,540.50 euros (about RM233,000) with various rebates being available from the government and also the manufacturer.
The EQA 250 has a ‘double-decker’ lithium-ion battery pack which sits as a structural element within the underbody of the vehicle. In order to meet the low levels of noise and vibration expected from the brand, complex damping measures have been taken to isolate the electric powertrain from the chassis and body.
The battery pack has an energy content of 66.5 kWh and a stated combined electric consumption of 15.7 kWh/100 kms, and a claimed range of 486 kms. Further variants to meet specific customer requirements will follow. These will include all-wheel-drive with an additional electric powertrain, and, for those wanting range, a version that will go more than 500 kms.
At home or at public charging points, the on-board charger provides a convenient way of charging the EQA with up to 11 kW using alternating current (AC). The charging time required for a full charge depends on the available infrastructure and the country-specific vehicle equipment. Charging at a Mercedes-Benz Wallbox would be considerably faster than at a domestic power socket. Faster speeds can be achieved at direct current (DC) rapid charging stations. Here, the EQA can be charged with a maximum output of up to 100 kW from 10% – 80% in around 30 minutes.
The EQA features the black panel radiator grille with the central star, which will be used for all EQ models. A further distinctive design feature of the all-electric vehicles is the continuous light strip at front and rear. A horizontal fibreoptic strip connects the daytime running lights of the full-LED headlamps, ensuring a high level of recognisability both in daylight and at night. Blue colour highlights within the headlamp reinforce the signature Mercedes-EQ appearance.
The LED tail lamps merge seamlessly into the tapered LED light strip, thus underlining the impression of width in the rear view of the EQA. The licence plate has also been relocated to the bumper. Exclusive to this model are light-alloy wheels in a bi or tri-colour design, up to 20 inches in size, in some cases with rosé gold-coloured or blue decorative trim.
Efficiency the key factor
The frontal area totals 2.47 square metres, contributing to a Cd of 0.28. Aerodynamic measures adopted include the completely closed cooling air control system in the upper section, the aerodynamically efficient front and rear aprons, a very smooth, almost completely enclosed underbody, specially optimised Aero wheels and specifically adapted front and rear wheel spoilers.
An indication of the electric character in the interior of the EQA is provided by a new-style back-lit trim element and rose gold-coloured decorative trim on the ventilation outlets, seats and the vehicle key. The Edition 1 special model additionally features perforated leather seats, through which blue fabric can be seen. The instruments, with their electric car-specific displays, pick up on the same colour scheme with rose gold-coloured and blue highlights.
The seating position is high and upright, as is typical for an SUV – making it not only comfortable for getting in and out, but also good in terms of all-round visibility. Utility value was one of the general focuses during development and as with most SUVs, the rear seat backrests are divided 40:20:40 and can fold down to vary cargo volume and floor length.
The standard heat pump forms part of the sophisticated thermal management system. With its numerous innovative details, such as the reuse of the waste heat from the electric drive system, the system is configured for exceptional efficiency and thus maximum range.
Latest MBUX with EV-specific features
Included as standard is, of course, the intuitively operated MBUX infotainment system (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). MBUX, with a powerful computer system, can be individually configured with the help of various options. It has learning software and voice control activated by the keyword ‘Hey Mercedes’, and options such as a full-colour head-up display, navigation with augmented reality,
The Mercedes-EQ tile in the media display can be used to call up menus relating to charging options, electrical consumption and energy flow. The right-hand display within the instrument cluster is a wattmeter rather than a tachometer. The upper section shows the percentage of power used, the lower section the recuperation. The left-hand instrument can be used to show whether the destination can be reached without an interim charging stop.
The colours change according to the driving situation. During a boost process, for example, the display changes to white. Depending on mood, or to match the particular interior, the user has a choice of four different styles.
In conjunction with Mercedes me, the URBAN GUARD Vehicle Protection and URBAN GUARD Vehicle Protection Plus enable all-round monitoring of the parked vehicle, including its location. If the service is active, the driver is informed via the Mercedes me App not only if the vehicle is being removed (as in being stolen) but also the severity of parking damage and in which area of the vehicle it occurred. In the case of the latter, the vehicle sensors register when the parked and locked vehicle is bumped.
Driving assistance systems
It goes without saying that the EQA would have a comprehensive range of intelligent driving assistance systems and these have cooperative driver support. The enhanced functions of the Driving Assistance Package include a turning manoeuvre function, emergency corridor function, exit warning function (alerting the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles), and a warning when pedestrians are detected near zebra crossings.
Included as standard on board are Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Brake Assist. In many situations, the purpose of the latter is to prevent a collision by autonomous braking, or to mitigate its consequences. The system is also able to brake for stationary vehicles and crossing pedestrians at typical city speeds and even to prevent collisions, depending on the situation.
Partial autonomous mode
In certain situations, the EQA is able to drive in partially automated mode. To do this, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation. Improved camera and radar systems allow it to see far ahead, adjusting the cruising speed when necessary to ensure a safe gap.
The EQA also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the optional Driving Assistance Package is able to provide route-based support to the driver in numerous situations, and to predictively and conveniently adjust the speed, eg when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. In doing so, it interacts with ECO Assist.
“Mercedes-EQ aspires to take the lead in the field of electric drive systems and vehicle software. To this end, we have defined some ambitious product development goals and resolved to push forward with the accelerated market introduction of new technologies,” said Markus Schafer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG; responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars COO.
“The new EQA allows us to show the way we envisage e-mobility as tailored to the needs of our customers. It proves that, by using a tried and tested architecture, it is possible to achieve an excellent compromise between performance, costs and time to market,” he said.