Mark Goodier and family took delivery of their Mercedes EQC in September last year (2019), after driving it for a couple of months these were Mark’s thoughts on Mercedes’ first foray into electric SUVs, and how the EQC stacks up against the Tesla alternatives.
“The EQC offered the chance for us finally to be an all-EV family”
After five years in a Tesla model S and with a Model 3 on order, the last thing I was thinking about was another electric vehicle (EV) from one of the traditional manufacturers. Like many Tesla drivers I not only seriously enjoy driving the vehicles, I also like the David and Goliath battle that the company has embarked upon and is showing increasingly stronger signs of surviving.
I had seen the launch of the Mercedes EQC and at first dismissed it as of the big guys playing catch up. But a couple of things happened to change my mind. A good friend of mine had ordered one of the 1886 EQC limited edition vehicles and started sending me regular updates, photos and videos and at the same time my wife started to indicate she might loosen her grip on her trusty and cherished Volvo XC90.
We had already concluded that the Model X was too big for around town, not that it has stopped thousands of other people in the UK, but I could see that the EQC offered the chance for us finally to be an all-EV family. Pre EV-I’d also had an E Class Mercedes estate as the workhorse that took me to gigs and roadshows, so I am very familiar with Merc as a brand. We took the plunge and went for the 1886 EQC special edition.
Ordering at the end of July (2019), the wait until delivery was six or seven weeks, which is rapid compared to the times some people were having to endure.
“There is no question that the EQC is a fantastic car, albeit the very opposite of Tesla minimalism”
In a few weeks we have clocked up almost 3,000 miles, motorway and around town and there is no question that the EQC is a fantastic car, albeit the very opposite of Tesla minimalism, where, it seems there are 3 different buttons to do most things. Once you get used to that, the upside of the quality of the build and workmanship are everything you would expect from a Mercedes. The design and finish of the interior is something you have missed if you’ve been driving other EV’s and it’s probably the most comfortable drivers’ car we’ve had for a very long time.
Charging on the road
If like me, you are comparing the EQC to Tesla, and you’re planning to do the miles, for now you need to carefully consider the charging network. Tesla’s genius upfront investment in their incredibly available, reliable and fast Supercharger network is currently matched by precisely no other network in the UK. On our most recent London to Scotland return trip, the Ionity, Fastned, ABB and Instavolt chargers were brilliant and reliable. The other networks, not so much, with fails at Polar and surprise-surprise – Ecotricity.
With the scarcity of 175kWh chargers of the type that Ionity and Fastned have smartly selected, it felt like we were back in a Tesla in 2014. This is mostly okay if you’re planning to use your EV close to your home base. A good friend of mine commutes locally in his EQC and charges only at home. But if you need to travel for work or leisure, charging infrastructure is still a huge issue. There would be no fossil fuel cars on the road if there was no proper refuelling network and while we should praise the companies that are showing leadership in on the road charging, this really needs to be gripped at a national level.
Is there more to EV life than Tesla?
Back to the car: Getting into the Model 3 after a week on the road in the EQC was, to be honest a bit of a let-down. Of course, it’s an apples and pears, luxury to utility, comparison but this is the first vehicle to convince me that there’s more to EV life than Tesla.