Watch out Tesla – the Mercedes EQC is getting closer to production.
Traditionally, automakers like to keep new vehicles under wraps for as long as possible before the official unveil. Photos showing prototype test mules are normally sent to us by our spy photographers who must have camped out at an automaker's proving ground for hours just to catch a fleeting glimpse of a vehicle out testing. Lately, however, a trend has started where automakers are releasing official photos of camouflaged vehicles. We saw it with the BMW 8 Series, and now the Mercedes EQC has been shown in near-production form.
Following extensive winter trials, summer testing has begun in Spain for Mercedes' first ever fully electric SUV as the automaker prepares to take on the Tesla Model X, Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron. Shown in official photos wearing a funky blue wrap with the hashtag "#switchtoEQ" effectively making it a rolling advertisement. The EQC is currently undergoing hot weather testing in the extreme Spanish heat where temperatures can reach more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows Mercedes to see how extreme heat affects key components such as the air conditioning and battery.
With the finishing straight in sight, we are now able to absolve another extremely demanding test program with our pre-series vehicles," said Michael Kelz, Chief Engineer for the EQC. "But after successfully completed endurance tests in winter at minus 35 degrees C, we are confident that the heat trials will confirm that we are well on schedule for the start of series production." While the battery of an electric car loses power in the cold, exposure to extreme heat can cause battery damage. As part of the SUV's extensive testing, Mercedes is focusing on the battery's cooling unit to assess how it copes with high power requirements.
The testing will also show how an almost fully charged battery responds to further charging, and how the heat affects the range. Battery draining tests, where the battery is completely drained of power, are also part of the test program. Mercedes is also analyzing how fine dust is deposited in the components, and whether the sealing concept works in practice, as well as ensuring the driver assists can recognize road signs, toll stations and speed limits in different countries. 200 EQC prototypes have been built so far, with testing is also due to take place in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Dubai, South Africa, the US and China to see how the electric SUV copes in different conditions.