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Mercedes-Benz EQ C: the Tesla Model X rival goes winter testing

Published: 08 February 2018

► Mercedes-Benz EQ C spied
► Electric prototype winter testing
► New SUV EV, due by 2019/20

New spy photos have emerged of the new Mercedes-Benz EQ C - Daimler's groundbreaking electric crossover due in 2019 to target the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace.

Our man with the long lens caught the EV SUV on test in Arjeplog, Sweden, as Merc engineers prepare the battery and cooling/heating systems to operate in extreme cold. An Arctic winter is one of the toughest environments for an electric car.

Mercedes-Benz EQ C: the brand's first all-electric car

Merc has already shown a concept car for its all-electric family, branded EQ. This latest test car proves that much work is going on behind the scenes to develop the company's e-capability ahead of launch, expected to take place in 2019.

A whole family of premium electric cars will be spun from the Electric Vehicle Architecture (dubbed EVA in Mercedes' TLA speak). Each axle will be powered by a 150kW electric motor, giving all-wheel drive and giant-slaying performance potential, according to those familiar with the project.

The Mercedes-Benz EQ C on winter test in our spy photos

Insiders talk of power outputs in excess of 400bhp, and an EV range of 500km (310 miles) is being targeted. The lithium-ion battery cells are packed low along the spine of the EVA platform, making for a low centre of gravity (an important consideration when they allegedly add 500kg of extra weight). Total battery capacity? We hear an 80kWh rating is likely.

That's enough for a decent range put at 500km, or 310 miles. Mercedes-Benz's own data shows that 86% of all trips are shorter than 100km (62 miles), yet the public need this reassurance to quell range anxiety, it seems.

Earlier prototypes pictured in our gallery were hidden under the bodywork of a current Mercedes-Benz GLC - a crossover very close in size and concept to the EQ. Now we can see that the profile and shape of the production car will be a little longer, with a sloping roof lending a little of the shooting-brake-on-stilts vibe.

What can we expect of the Merc EQ range?

The 2016 EQ concept car, shown at the Paris motor show 2016 (below), gives a very clear indication of what to expect of the EQ C. It's the first in a family of electric cars to wear the three-pointed badge and will be available in showrooms by late 2019/early 2020.

Mercedes-Benz EQ

'The model you see here is very close to the first electric production car,' EV boss Jen Thiemer told CAR in 2016. 'You will see it in 2018… and the price will be comparable to a top-end GLC.’

Sounds like the project has slipped back, then... Mercedes-Benz is busy launching more and more hybridised and full electric cars; it plans to have 10 PHEVs on sale by the end of 2017 - and by 2025, up to a quarter of the range will be fully electric.

Following soon after the EQ C will be the EQ A, a smaller iteration of the electric car.

See Mercedes-Benz reviews by CAR magazine

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet