New Mercedes-Benz EQA revealed

The new Mercedes-Benz EQA is the German brand’s first fully electric compact model, and is said to provide an “excellent compromise between performance, costs and time to market”.

Set to go on sale in April and priced from around £39,000 (approximately AUD$70,000 in Australia) in EQA 250 form, the brand’s entry-level EV is one of six EQ models to be launched by 2022, including a seven-seat EQB sitting directly above the EQA.

Mercedes-Benz EQA: Unique exterior design and cabin

Using the latest GLA crossover as its base, the EQA features a number of unique styling details to mark it out from its conventionally-powered sibling. These include the now signature ‘black panel’ EQ radiator grille, plus unbroken lighting strips at the front and rear.

The front sees the standard full-LED headlights connected via a fibre optic strip across the front fascia. At the rear a completely different tailgate design from the GLA, which sees the number plate relocated down to the bumper, enables the tail lamps to merge as a single-piece light bar. Mercedes claims these features ensure a “high level of recognisability both in daylight and at night”.

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Distinctive wheel designs not offered on ‘standard’ Mercedes models are also available at up to 20-inch in size. These are bi-colour or tri-colour designs, with some featuring rose gold-coloured or blue detailing. A competitive drag coefficient of 0.28Cd boosts aerodynamics and therefore range.

Changes to the interior of the GLA to create the EQA are less extensive than the outside. Fundamentally the basic layout is unchanged, but there is now rose gold-coloured trim inserts on the vents, seats and key, plus additional trim backlighting. A fully-loaded Edition 1 spec brings special leather with blue fabric perforations, too.

As usual, the digital instrument cluster is redesigned for EV-specific display functions, and also features rose gold and blue highlights. Mercedes claims the EQA offers the desired high driving position of an SUV combined with a focus on versatility, with the GLA’s 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats retained.

Mercedes-Benz EQA: technology

Unique tech features also mark out the EQA from its GLA sibling. A “sophisticated thermal management system” features a heat pump that reuses waste heat from the electric drivetrain, while climate pre-conditioning functions are controlled via the MBUX infotainment system or the multi-function Mercedes Me app.

There is also a standard ‘Navigation with electric intelligence’ function. As well as calculating the fastest route, it uses range simulations to allow for necessary charging stops and account for changes in topography, weather, traffic and driving style. I can even pre-heat or cool the battery while driving to bring it to the ideal temperature for rapid charging.

In Europe via the Mercedes Me Charging network, available to all EQ customers, comprises 450,000 charging points across 31 countries.

Standard safety tech includes Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Brake Assist, while the enhanced Driving Assistance Package brings a number of further active alert functions and assist features including a warning that detects when pedestrians are near a zebra crossing.

Further kit as standard on the initial launch EQA 250 model includes adaptive high beam, an electric bootlid, 18-inch alloys, 64-colour ambient lighting, a reversing camera and four-way adjustable lumbar support on ‘luxury’ seats. AMG Line, Electric Art and Night Package personalisation packages are also offered.

Mercedes-Benz EQA: drivetrain and platform

The EQA continues Mercedes’ current strategy of offering EVs based around the platform of an existing combustion-engined model as opposed to creating a bespoke architecture.

As such, much of the EQA’s platform is shared with the GLA, albeit with several adaptations including the removal of underfloor cross members to allow the underfloor battery to form a structural component. It’s protected from damage by the car’s existing structure, but also an aluminium housing.

The EV is launched initially in 250 form before further derivatives – including a dual-motor, four-wheel drive AMG performance variant – are brought in after the first year of sale. Mercedes claims power outputs of up to 200kW will be offered, although that’s understood to not include the AMG derivative.

Producing 140kW and 375Nm from its front-mounted asynchronous motor, the front-wheel drive EQA 250 is capable of 0-100km/h in 8.9sec and a top speed limited to just under 160km/h.

The battery capacity is 66.5kWh (usable), with a WLTP range of 426 kilometres promised (a longer-range variant with a claimed 500 kilometre range will arrive later). A maximum DC charging rate of 100kW is quoted, allowing for an 80 per cent charge in around 30 minutes. An 11kW AC charge can take it from empty to full in just under six hours.

Lawrence Allan

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