The SUV’s development testing takes place in Spain ahead of production starting next year
Mercedes-Benz has released pictures of summer testing of the EQC, the automaker’s first serious investment in fully electric electric vehicles. The all-electric SUV has been through an extensive development programme, including various stages of testing, ahead of production which is expected to begin in 2019.
The ECQ will be the first launched under Mercedes’s all-electric ‘EQ’ sub-brand.
The automaker has previously released information of testing which took place in sub-zero temperatures as part of the prototype’s winter testing. The focus of this development stage was to determine the effect harsh climates could have on not only the efficiency and comfort of the model but more significantly, the capability of the battery.
Now, Mercedes has taken the development programme to the other extreme: with this testing stage taking place in the heat of Almeria, Spain: temperatures there can reach up to 50 Celsius around this time of year. Again, emphasis is being placed on how the battery and powertrain cope in such weather, although attention will also be paid to aspects such as air conditioning, charging and ride comfort.
Michael Kelz, chief engineer for the ECQ, spoke of the importance both winter and summer stages of testing will have on their understanding of the EQC’s batteries capability:
“Challenge number one is this: the dry heat. Because while the battery of an electric car “merely” loses power in the cold, exposure to great heat carries the risk of battery damage. Optimum management of these physical characteristics is the aim of the extreme tests in Spain. One main focus is on the battery’s cooling circuit, for example: how does it cope with high power requirements? How does an almost fully charged battery respond to further charging? What influence does the heat have on operating range?”
The automaker is confident that the results of the summer testing will confirm that they are on schedule for production of its first fully electric vehicle next year.
Ahead of launching the EQC, Mercedes detailed that the SUV’s range would be ‘up to 500 km (310 miles)’, although this measure was using the less reliant NEDC standard. Electrek estimates the real-life range of the model to be closer to 250 miles – which while significantly less is still competitive with similar luxury SUV models available in the market.
The strict testing stages that the EQC has already undergone ahead of production beginning is an encouraging demonstration of how seriously Mercedes-Benz is taking the production of the fully-electric vehicle. For an automaker considered behind others in the investment of the future of EVs, it is clear to see that the brand is focused on bringing the luxury its consumers expect and the reliability EV consumers demand from the new ‘EQ’ range.