Test Drive: Mercedes EQA
Ian Lamming is on a charge with the new Mercedes EQA
ANOTHER day, another electric, another supermarket car park, this time in a Mercedes.
The charging process of driving an EV has finally become routine and just as we have all adapted to COVID and war in Europe, so we have come to terms with plugging in.
Whack the lead in the three pin at home and overnight this will add 60-80 miles, enough to get to school (school is a long way away for me, if you remember). Then thoughts switch to my favoured public chargers – there’s an utterly useless 7kW charger in town and there’s an unreliable 50kW charger in the next.
So I opt to go for the full-bore charger in the neighbouring town but work in the car until I know it is actually full – and I don’t return to an error code and no mileage added like the last time. To be fair it takes less than an hour to hit 100 per cent and as I’m always bodily attached to my laptop and mobile phone, it’s no problem, really.
Tomorrow’s journey is even longer and will require planning using the Zap-Map to find a rapid charger somewhere near where the boy is playing rugby 7s. In fact, on second thoughts, I’ll take my own petrol/hybrid.
I’m no longer scared of the whole EV set up and am actually using the technology introduced to support the onset on EV motoring, such as Zap-Map. Using all this tech makes me feel younger somehow.
EQA is the smallest of Mercedes fleet of full electrics, kind of GLA size. So it’s a small SUV with a 66.5kW motor that offers around 217 miles on a full charge, just about enough for my long commute.
The range readout is about 30 miles off. So the school run is 62 miles but it uses over 90 to get there thanks to stretches of motorway that also include steep inclines, not to mention head winds. That said, I’m not tempted to turn off the heating to eke out the extra miles like I do with some EVs so at least we are nice and warm inside.
It is worth running EQA in ‘E-mode’ but you have to remember to switch over every time as it defaults back into ‘comfort’ which uses more juice. You can feel the power drop off when you switch between the two, more so when you go from sports mode, but the performance is still impressive so it is no hardship and well worth it to protect your range.
EVs do stress me to bits and back and it is to the credit of the EQA that this level of anxiety is lower than while driving other electrics. That’s because it is a blood-pressure reducing Mercedes.
Trying to analyse why isn’t easy but it must have something to do with the high quality cabin ambiance, the intuitive way the long touchscreen tech works, leaving some of the key functions to good old fashioned buttons and the easy going nature of a car that is just plain great to drive.
The electric motor is supremely smooth and rapid and is more rewarding still for being able to avoid the £7-per-gallon petrol pumps. EVs offer stunning amounts of torque for acceleration and hill climbing, there is simply nothing like them. The EQA feels sharp and nimble. It’s not a huge body so it is brilliant in tight corners, around town, particularly when you are look for a parking spot.
On the open road it feels sporty with firm ride and impressive dynamics. You can be a bit rough and ready with the throttle and brakes because this technique actually chargers your battery better and proves to be a lot of fun. Ride is always comfortable and keeps everyone inside free from fatigue.
EVs are exceptional to drive and the only fly in the ointment is the battle you experience at public chargers, which worsens by the day as more people take delivery of an electric. EQA is no exception being a brilliant car to drive with a maximum range which is just about there. But the only way to take the stress out of the whole experience is to have your own power source at home – and a petrol-powered car for the longer journeys.
Mercedes EQA 250 AMG Line Premium
Engine: 66kW electric motor
Power: 292hp, 370Nm
0-62mph: 8.9 secs
Top speed: 99mph
Transmission: one-speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 0