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wtf is an eq

WTF is an EQ?

This Mercedes-Benz’s vehicle electrification endeavour is brought to you by the letters E and Q

Christopher Ng Photo

Christopher Ng

8 May 2018

If you’ve been hitting the malls this weekend, chances are that you’ve probably seen in one of the advertising spaces, a Mercedes-Benz that depicts something of a futuristic car followed by the letters ‘E’ and ‘Q’. Scan the ad long enough and you’ll find the phrase ‘Electric Intelligence’ hanging around, waiting to be eventually discovered.

What does EQ mean?

In a nutshell, it stands for Electrical Intelligence (obviously) and it’s Mercedes-Benz’s latest catch-phrase to denote the company’s campaign for electric-powered mobility. So, for now, until the foreseeable future, the EQ will take under its wing all vehicles that are motivated purely by electricity or have electric motors as part of the powertrain. The E-Class’ E350e and C-Class’ C350e neatly slots itself under the EQ umbrella.

The EQ branding covers more than just the vehicle but also the customer’s experience of Mercedes-Benz. In the coming months, the EQ brand will introduce products, services, technologies and innovations that will completely assimilate the customer in Merc’s electric mobility ecosystem.

And this brings us to the Concept EQ, the embodiment of Mercedes-Benz’s electric-mobility hopes and dreams. The next generation of Mercedes-Benz’s electric-powered vehicles will ride on an architecture that’s purpose-built and not having the battery pack eating up precious boot space. The architecture is said to be modular so it can be scaled up or down depending on the usage.

Steel, aluminium and carbon fibre forms the skeleton and body but all materials will bend to the will of lightweight design, strength and cost efficiency. The Concept EQ’s shape is derived from an SUV and blended with elements of a coupe and shooting brake. To reduce wind resistance, its body panels are as invisible as engineering allows it to be, the side mirrors are replaced with cameras, door handles are deleted and windscreen wipers are concealed.

The Concept EQ’s interior is as futuristic. Gone are the physical implements that move, replaced with screens that let you engage with the car. The only switches that remain are those that you adjust the seat with – Mercedes-Benz will not be getting rid of them soon. The screens are highly customisable, letting you see the content that you want to see and changes according to the drive mode.

Design aside, it is the Concept EQ’s drivetrain that is holding up the pen that will relegate the combustion engine’s importance and then change the mindset of diehard motorheads. Two motors, one on the front and one on the rear axles, which draws electricity from the battery on the EQ’s floor, delivers the motion. The motors have a total output of 300kW (or about 402hp) and 700Nm of torque, which will shove the concept to 100kph in under five seconds. The range, of which Mercedes-Benz says that it is achievable with proper management, is up to 500km.

As good as it sounds, the duration in which the battery can be fully charged will be an issue. Currently, via the wall box, a plug-in hybrid battery is able to claim full bar in three hours. New fast charging tech will increase charging capacity up to 150kW, although a 300kW charge capacity is in the plan. By their calculation, the Concept EQ will be able to recover 100km worth of range within five minutes. That’s super quick.

Beyond that, the Concept EQ is also equipped with driver assistance that uses highly accurate maps that allows the vehicle to adjust speed and driving dynamics accordingly – this is one more foot into autonomous driving. This map is displayed in 3D and developed by Merc’s partner, HERE. Whether or not HERE will arrive, umm, here, is yet to be seen. We will just go ahead and assume that HERE needs time to map our roads, hence, the extra time needed to implement the system.

Car-to-X will be another feature that will take centre-stage when implemented. Simply put, this tech will allow the car to ‘talk’ to the infrastructure and other vehicles. This will be helpful to plot the course for the driver, calculate if there’s enough charge in the battery and then alert the driver on the nearest charging station when the battery gets low. Other benefits that can be derived from Car-to-X are autonomous driving and accident prevention.

Mercedes-Benz said that the Concept EQ is a close-to-production concept, meaning that the car you see here will be able to make the leap into showrooms with minor changes. If we’re living in Europe, it wouldn’t be long before we see something like this rolling on the streets.

In truth, the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicle is still very much in the foetus. Mercedes-Benz is helping to accelerate that process by installing more EQ-branded wall boxes in public areas, which now counts four – Bangsar Shopping Centre, Sunway Pyramid, Pavilion KL and the latest, The Waterfront in Desa Park City. These four joins countless other public charging stations that you’ll find in other malls and petrol stations; courtesy of GreenTech Malaysia.

Make no mistake, the future lies in electric mobility. And if the Concept EQ becomes reality, it will be an interesting future indeed.