For the next few years, Mercedes is planning a big leap towards electromobility, promised significant changes with regard to new platforms and complete electrification of the car fleet before 2030. This means that the ambitious schedule is currently ahead of the competition from traditional manufacturers. On the way there, there will already be some new appetizers to discover at the IAA 2021. The story of electromobility at Mercedes Benz begins at the beginning of the 20th century.
Revolutionary drive technology was used as early as 1905. The wheel hub motors developed by Ferdinand Porsche drove the front wheels individually. You may rub your eyes in amazement, but the “Mercedes Electrique” with lead-acid batteries has already been able to cover a distance of up to 90 kilometers and which was designed as a city car. Even the wallbox as a home charging station was included at the time. And even hybrid versions, in which the heavy lead-acid batteries were replaced by a gasoline drive with a dynamo, were used. The so-called "Daimler Mixte" was successfully used in fire engines. After that, the beginnings of electromobility were forgotten again.
Press the power pedal
At the latest with the announcement that a purely electric variant will be offered for all cars as early as 2025, the focus will be completely on electric cars at Mercedes. The new platforms will be used in the next few years. Now, according to its own account, the EQA is a close relative of the GLA. Built on its platform, a large battery pack with 66,5 kWh is located in the floor area and the drive is via the front axle with a 140 kW / 190 PS asynchronous electric motor. The EQA is produced in parallel in the factories in Rastatt and Beijing.
Many traditional details can be found in the interior of the EQA. The already legendary automatic selector lever on the steering wheel may make you smile, but it has by far the shortest operating paths and can be operated directly and easily with the middle finger of the right hand. As before, pull the lever on the left of the dashboard to release the handbrake. If you then start to exit, stream the “Baba'0'Riley” in via Spotify via the media services and open the panoramic sliding roof wide in the best northern German weather, you learn to appreciate the basic virtues of Mercedes. Workmanship and ergonomics are traditionally anchored in the premium segment at Mercedes-Benz. Accordingly, the leather seats in a light gray tone look inviting and the individual color adjustments in the interior can be set to the right mood according to your own taste.
The diverse adjustment options for the front seats including memory function leave nothing to be desired, and sufficient head and elbow room is also provided. The relatively high floor is always noticeable due to the battery. Tall people have to bend their legs more strongly, which is a disadvantage for sitting comfort on long journeys.
Kiel - Berlin - Kiel
The storage space with flat loading sill and level structure has a capacity of 340 liters, enough for three suitcases and a short weekend getaway. Our test takes us from Kiel to Berlin with a distance of 380 kilometers to travel on the autobahn. The navigation system suggests the fastest connection and shows all traffic congestion and delays for the route sections in LiveTraffic mode and also plans the charging station including time delay. But the biggest drawback is that no alternative routes can be selected or suggested for the announced traffic jams. Then you still have to improvise.
In contrast, all comfort features, such as the finely adjustable air conditioning, the sophisticated seat settings or the informative head-up display, are real driving pleasure in the EQA. The dashboard is dominated a little by generously used ventilation nozzles, which can be individually adjusted to the air flow and air flow strength. In the long-haul sector, you can live well with the reduction in the essential driving information in the head-up display. Speed display, the almost always correct traffic sign recognition with automatic speed adjustment with adaptive cruise control and the simple navigation instructions are sufficient on the motorway.
The three selectable driving modes Sport, Comfort and Eco are supplemented by individual settings. We drove the first 200 kilometers to the CCS Supercharger in comfort mode at the permissible maximum speeds, where 20 to 25 kilowatt hours are consumed per 100 km. While driving, we rely on cruise control coupled with adaptive distance control. This means that all vehicle silhouettes in front, from narrow motorcycles to trucks, can be identified quickly and clearly. The system worked convincingly on our long-distance journeys and recorded all braking processes fully automatically. The recuperation that is appropriate for the situation then feeds back a lot of energy. The kilometers fed in are shown separately again via a central green display. The degree of recuperation can be adjusted according to your own specifications using a rocker switch on the steering wheel.
Relaxed charging on the CCS supercharger
When we arrive at the first Supercharger at a summery 30 degrees outside temperature, we can get an idea of the technically well-designed charging connection, just like on the previous days. We have always been able to achieve peak loads of up to 120 kW charging power on both the IONITY and the Aral superchargers. All charging processes could be completed up to 80% of the battery capacity within 25 minutes, regardless of external circumstances. This means that the charging behavior is exemplary not only on the data sheet but also in practice.
While driving, the MBUX operating system can be tested using the voice control. It will probably be a few months before the system, which is started via the voice command “Hey Mercedes”, will convert all questions into conclusive answers. But at least the simple instructions for the heating, the telephone or the navigation controls lead to the goal when addressed.
We test the next 180 kilometers in sport mode. Probably the best choice on the autobahn, overtaking maneuvers can be completed quickly. The EQA seals at 160 km / h. That is enough for relaxed long-distance journeys. Lane and cornering stability paired with the low level of noise generated by electric driving make driving fun on the autobahn.
As a premium manufacturer, Mercedes offers a wide range of customization options. From our point of view, there are also many interesting details that are in demand for a resale value on over 76 pages of the price list. Interesting highlights:
Electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory function
The memory function saves the ideal position of the driver's seat, the exterior mirror
and the head-up display adjustable for up to 3 people (410,55 euros)
Traffic sign assistant
By linking camera and map data, the Traffic Sign Assistant can not only recognize speed limits, no-overtaking bans and their lifting. It also shows entry bans and warns of wrong entry. (351,05 euros)
(also available as on-demand equipment). The smartphone integration links the mobile phone with the media system via Apple® CarPlay® and Android Auto®. (357 euros)
The Mercedes-Benz EQA still has some traditional operating functions in its luggage for regular customers and makes it easier to switch away from the combustion engine. The range is strongly dependent on the selected driving mode and driving style and is also suitable for medium distances. Switching from the combustion engine to the electric car brings with it another very relaxed driving experience in the new EQA.
Test from summer 2021