Mercedes-Benz has made a rugged 4x4 off-road version of its forthcoming EQC to demonstrate that electric cars can not only be environmentally friendly, but fun too. Just a concept for now, according to Electrek, the automaker says the research project provided it with lessons it can use to "heighten the emotional appeal" of electric cars in the future.
The production EQC is an all-electric compact SUV in the luxury range, with prices starting at $69,000. For the off-road version, Mercedes modified the car to ride higher — twice as high, in fact. It also tweaked the software for better handling on rugged terrain.
Luxury gets dirty — The standard EQC has a not-so-stellar range of around 280 miles on a charge, and going off-road will likely nerf that by quite a bit with the electric motor working overtime. But then again, how many people are going to want to take their luxury Mercedes SUV off-road anyway? Maybe one out of ten will actually see dirt like this, while the rest will be forever used for taking the kids to school.
And even if you make cars electric, they still are not friends of nature. Especially off-roaders that tear up natural environments by churning up the soil and damaging root systems. But maybe we're being too cynical. They're still better than most gas-guzzlers, even if charging them might mean drawing power generated by coal-fired power stations.
Vaporware — Even though this is just a concept, the off-road EQC could be a precursor for a future electric G Wagon off-roader or some other vehicle. We're still a bit disappointed, though. Concepts get old when manufacturers like Tesla and Audi are actually rolling vehicles off the production line. Talk is cheap at this point, show us what we can actually expect to buy. Not that we'd be able to afford any of it in this economy, but as it's done with its AVTR concept, Mercedes-Benz keeps reminding us of the importance of dreams.