Linking Zurich to Milan in all-electric, at the wheel of the Mercedes EQC and Audi e-Tron, is it realistic? In principle, their thermal counterparts GLC and Q5 would be more appropriate to cover these distances in one go or almost. The exercise is nevertheless possible on paper. It remains to be seen which one is the least unsuitable for this test.
We promise, we will avoid making the electric trial in a dependent match. Builders have always created models specially to adapt to the legislation. If the Italians of the 1980s are pioneers of downsizing before the hour, it was especially to circumvent the punitive taxes which affected the engines with a displacement of more than 2 liters in the peninsula … Hence certain technical curiosities, with V8 bored from 3 to 2 liters, on Ferrari 308s become 208!
The situation is a little more worrying today, since the obsession with all-electric and CO2 hunting leads some manufacturers to create models purely intended to lower their weighted average emissions … And too bad if the consistency of Mercedes EQC, Audi e-Tron and other Tesla Model X is questionable.
Apply a technology intended by nature for the city and a regular, structured framework for use … road clearance models. Is this really reasonable? Even if autonomy makes it possible to envisage much more than simple daily home / work journeys, one can legitimately wonder.
Funny time, but tempting challenges sometimes emerge, still unthinkable four or five years ago. More than 400 km announced by the Mercedes EQC and its rival Audi e-Tron. It is the distance that separates Zurich from Milan, passing through the schoolchildren’s path and the most beautiful passes in the region. And as the the course is not lacking in relief or charging stations, the setting seems ideal for an intensive test without fear of having to take out a very long extension cord.
In the manner of two large raised hunting station wagons, while ridges and angles at Audi, and more classic curves on the Mercedes side.
To live: respected DNA
As if we opposed an Audi Q5 to a Mercedes GLC, the DNA of the two brands can be found unsurprisingly in the exterior styling. The observation also applies to the interior, where the e-Tron takes the ascendancy in terms of on-board technology. At the layout of the EQC, which includes the huge digital double screen already seen on the Class E and S for a long time (instrumentation and media interface), Audi is responding with a gadget which at least has the merit of reinforcing the e-Tron in its role of technological showcase (and of making viral videos on social networks …): the rear-view mirrors by camera, a first for a production vehicle! More spectacular than practical, in use.
For the rest, the design of the two cockpits is classic. Very close to an A6 or a Q7, with haptic feedback touch screens (a sort of virtual “click”) for almost all orders, or a GLC, more opulent and original. And in both cases, infinitely more refined and better built than the crude Tesla interiors.
Like the latest models in the Audi range, the e-Tron gives way to all-touch. Clinical finish and first quality materials are at the rendezvous.
The lower part of the central console is taken from the GLC. But finishing details and materials are original: ridged inserts, nylon-style surface on the dashboard …
The integration of batteries, motors and peripherals linked to electrification seems more successful on the Audi side: the e-Tron has a large 600 l trunk, 100 l more than its rival. There is also an additional compartment at the front (60 l) for storing charging cables. Well, let’s face it larger dimensions logically translate into livability ! The e-Tron is 4.90 m long, i.e. 14 cm longer than the EQC. The same goes for the wheelbase (6 cm in favor of the Audi). Space nevertheless remains correct in the rear seats of the Mercedes, given its more compact size. Audi therefore narrowly wins the point of life on board.
Life on board: the Audi advantage
|Audi e-Tron||Mercedes EQC|
Energy management / recharging: each has its own priorities
Autonomy is the sinews of the day, but not as much as charging time. Fatally, installing large batteries to cover more than 400 km is not viable for use only if the fast recharge is … very fast. On paper, EQC and e-Tron announce a similar range and comparable lithium – ion batteries: 85 kWh for the Mercedes for 414 km of autonomy in WLTP, and 95 kWh (84 kWh useful in reality) for 415 km announced by Audi.
In both cases, we reach 300 km without too much cold sweat. With little relief, and without spending too long on the motorway! Our Swiss journey including a few passes and nearly 10,000 meters of elevation gain, we will have to manage the effort.
They don’t have quite the same strategy. If both end up on a roughly equal footing at the end of an ascent (i.e., battery slaughtered), the management of the recovery in deceleration is more efficient at the wheel of the Mercedes. Eco mode activated, maximum engine brake engaged (via the paddles on the steering wheel), you could almost drive downhill without touching the brakes. Only by modulating the right foot!
There is some gymnastics to get used to this unnatural feeling, but the recharge is devilishly effective. We never find all of what we lose while climbing, of course (perpetual motion does not exist …). But replenishing 50% of what we have consumed is reasonably possible.
The Audi e-Tron has a much less cartoonish regeneration system. Here, let’s rather expect 20% recovery on the same route. Thus, a 100 km journey including 50 km of motorway (peaceful, we are in Switzerland) followed by an ascent and descent of the Susten pass (2,224 m) will have removed approximately 120 km of autonomy from the EQC and 150 km to the e-Tron.
The e-Tron would win the round, considering that charging speed is of the essence. But the EQC, in addition to consuming slightly less, does better when there is relief. The Mercedes braking regeneration is very efficient.
The Audi takes its revenge with the taking, fast charge. On an Ionity type terminal, The e-Tron theoretically can cash 150 kW of power against 110 kW for the EQC. In practice, these values are rarely reached and the difference is more pronounced : The Audi held load peaks of over 100 kW for several minutes, where the Mercedes quietly sipped around 80 kW, maximum … refueling longer than expected in all cases (respectively 30 min and 40 min announced for 80% load, at least 20 minutes more in reality). On a classic 11 kW Wallbox, it will take around 8h30 of immobilization for the e-Tron against at least 11 hours for the EQC.
Load management: equality
|Audi e-Tron||Mercedes EQC|
To impress the neighbors with cameras instead of mirrors, it will cost you 1,850 euros. More impressive than really practical.
Driving / performance
As expected, the weight of our colossi is significantly greater than that of a classic SUV: the EQC accuses 2,495 kg, including 652 kg of battery, and the e-Tron 2,565 kg, including 700 kg of battery! Crazy, and inevitably disastrous for the longevity of tires and brakes. What is most impressive, however, is the level of performance achieved, given these figures.
Both claim the same cumulative power of 408 hp (one motor per axle, in both cases). Except that it is only occasional with the e-Tron, during a boost of 8 seconds (360 hp the rest of the time). The maximum torque of the Mercedes, even more impressive than the Audi (765 Nm against 664 Nm) gratifies lightning accelerations: 5.1 s from 0 to 100 km / h, or 6 tenths better than its rival. Impressive in raises, too.
The Mercedes EQC digital double screen is already known on the E-Class, S-Class, GLE …
Beyond these times to the advantage of the Star, the stance is radically different in terms of pleasure and dynamism. Here again, the philosophy of the two manufacturers can be found: ultra – muffled comfort and placid balance on behalf of the Mercedes, against almost incisive road feel at the wheel of the Audi.
This shows up more playful in the turns Stussen, St Gotthard, Furka … Where The EQC sometimes crashes too much on its supports. The air suspensions of the e-Tron contain the movements much better. However, the kilometers follow one another in an equally peaceful way at the wheel of each one. And at the end of our trip to Milan, we would be unable to say which one we would choose for the reverse route. Up to you.
|Audi e-Tron||Mercedes EQC|
A charge on the Ionity network is billed 8 euros, regardless of the duration.
Budget: expensive kilowatts
To add to the irrationality of these machines, the prices limit them to a place of virtuous showcase … or expensive stooges: minimum 83,880 euros for the Audi e-Tron, and a little less to afford a Mercedes EQC (from 78,950 euros), before bonus of 6,000 euros. We agree to give Mercedes a small advantage financially, of course.
It should also be remembered, at the risk of shattering an illusion, that fast charging is not free: there are 8 euros per charge on the Ionity network, regardless of the duration, to be added to a monthly subscription of 17.90 euros to access several operators. Ditto for a classic household load: try to run dozens of toasters continuously, on your outlets. Surprise to be expected during your sample. But we doubt that the economic argument is really important for customers.
Finances: Mercedes advantage
|Audi e-Tron||Mercedes EQC|
4.90 m against 4.76 m: the Audi e-Tron is more imposing and more livable. Barely heavier too. But at nearly 2.5 tonnes, we are no longer within half a quintal …
Technical characteristics of Audi e-Tron and Mercedes EQC
|Audi e-Tron 55 Quattro||Mercedes EQC 400|
|Model tested||e-Tron 55 Quattro Avus||EQC 400 4Matic AMG Line|
|Dimensions (Length, width and height)||4,900 x 1,940 x 1,621 m||4.761 x 1.884 x 1.623 m|
|Trunk volume||600 + 60 liters||505 liters|
|Weight||2.565 kg||2.495 kg|
|Engine||2 asynchronous motors, AV / AR||2 asynchronous motors, AV / AR|
|Batteries||95 kWh (84 kWh useful)||85 kWh|
|Power||408 hp||408 hp|
|Maximum torque||664 Nm||765 Nm|
|0 to 100 km / h||5.7s||5.1 s|
|Max speed||200 km / h||180 km / h|
|Autonomy announced||415 km||414 km|
|Bonus||6,000 euros||6,000 euros|
|Prices||from 83,880 euros||from 78,950 euros|