Mercedes EQA

All-new baby electric EQA no longer trying to be different, closes in on in the real world

Mercedes-Benz’ new entry-level EQA is refreshing in so many ways. It breaks fresh ground. Rather than just another standalone electric car completely disconnected from anything we know, EQA typifies Mercedes’ new strategy of basing its EVs on existing combustion-engined platforms.

Revealed Wednesday, the company’s first fully electric compact car promises ‘an excellent compromise between performance and cost’.

It’s basically a GLA in electric drag

This one’s based on the recently released second generation conventional combustion engined GLA. And it’s that relative normality that may convince owners whose lifestyles permit, to go electric without feeling like the clown with the party hat on.

Cabin upgrades, for example, do not change much at all from the GLA’s basic layout. True, the electric car is plusher and further upmarket in its finishes and trim, but it still uses the basic wide-dash Mercedes MBUX system we know and understand. Rather than someone’s bad dream of how the future may look that’s impossible to use or understand.

EQA has an EV-specific instrument cluster and also retains the GLA’s SUV-like command driving position and handy 40:20:40 split folding rear bench. Upgrades include four-way adjustable lumbar support luxury seats, rose gold-coloured inserts and additional 64-colour ambient lighting to up the cockpit ante in the full cream electric executive cabin.

All pretty posh. But not too outlandish.

Edition 1 models add leather with blue fabric perforations, while AMG Line, Electric Art and Night packages allow for a broad level of personalisation. All pretty posh. But not too outlandish.

Benz has however done a bit to set the its new baby electric car apart from its fossil fueled GLA siblings on the outside. While it retains the GLA’s silhouette, shape and glasshouse, EQA gets full-LED headlights that form part of a single unit fibre optic grille. The taillights similarly merge into a single-piece light bar. The power tailgate is also unique to deliver on the promise that EQA is highly recognisable day and night.

A variety of distinctive wheel options will be available up to 20 inches in bi or tri-colour designs and rose-gold or blue detailing. And specifically designed to ensure a competitive 0.28 drag coefficient.

Find the motor where GLA’s engine was

Under the skin, the EQA loses certain of GLA’s underfloor cross members to accommodate its 66.5 kWh usable capacity battery pack. It doubles as a structural component below the passenger compartment. An aluminium housing retains the car’s rigidity within the existing structure.

The front-wheel-drive EQA 250 gets a 188 bhp 277 lb ft front-mounted asynchronous motor where you’d otherwise find the GLA’s petrol or diesel lump.Benz promises 0-62 mph in 8.9 seconds and a top speed limited to just below 100 mph. They also insist the Mercedes-Benz EQA will deliver a 265 mile WLTP range on a full charge.

EQA has a 100 kW maximum DC charging rate, which will allow an 80% charge in around 30 minutes. It will also fully charge from empty in just under six hours on and 11kW AC charger.

A whole gang of battery charging tricks

A thermal management system heat pump additionally reuses residue electric drivetrain heat, while ‘MBUX Navigation with electric intelligence’ will calculate EQA’s fastest route while considering topography, weather, traffic and driving style to to and plan charging stops en route. It will even pre-heat or cool the battery while driving to ensure the ideal temperature for rapid charging.

The rest of the EQA’s MBUX infotainment system is as you know it. The multi-function Mercedes Me app control cabin climate pre-conditioning. It will pack in Active Lane Keeping and Active Brake Assistants. The Driving Assistance Package adds further active alert functions and assist features. It now also warns of pedestrians near to a pedestrian crossing. Also expect adaptive high beam a reversing camera.

A version with with a 311-mile range and additional models will follow soon. Including a 268bhp dual-motor all-wheel drive performance EQA AMG.

A big step in the right electric direction

All in all, Mercedes’s first compact EV is a step in the right direction in many ways. While it appears unique at first sight, it is actually just an electric version of the GLA. It still offers all that car’s many advantages. But now with electric drive too. It’s still different enough to make a statement, but it’s also common enough to make fine business — and commercial sense.

And talking sense, the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 will go some way to normalise electric driving. Especially in the minds of Benz fans keen to hold on to many of those other traditions so often ditched on previous, oddball electric cars.


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