“Hej, EQ!”: Of Moose, Unicorns and E-Mobility

For many people Sweden is, above all, the land of moose. However, when traveling in my homeland I seldom encounter our national animal trudging through the forests. What inspires me much more are our smart unicorns: startups like Spotify or SoundCloud valued at a billion.

All of them were able to emerge in this “innovation biotope” because Swedes are remarkable early adopters open to new ideas. That’s why it was perfect fit for us to introduce the first all-electric EQ brand Mercedes SUV in Stockholm.

Swedes can do more than sell good-looking furniture. We can also do more than produce Swedish meatballs and ABBA – just to clear up the next clichés. In recent years, the region around Stockholm has increasingly developed into a competitor to Silicon Valley: New business models are being created and put into practice here.

(combined electric energy consumption: 20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)*

Sweden is (secretly) the European Champion of Innovation

According to the Bloomberg Innovation Index Sweden now ranks second among the most innovative nations in the world – just behind South Korea. Why is that? Digitalization is not seen as a threat, but as an opportunity. Young, innovative-minded spirits find themselves in an open-minded society that heartily embraces new ideas that enrich their everyday lives.

Perhaps Swedish IT innovators should blow their own horns a bit louder, but that’s not our style. At best we’ll only make some noise when our ice hockey team becomes world champs again. In any case, digitalization is at least as much part of Swedish everyday life as … well … Swedish meatballs and Abba.

At the same time the focus in Sweden remains on sustainability and the preservation of the environment. The reason for this is as clear as the air in Lapland: Our lakes, islands, coasts, the sea, endless forests and green expanses. The bond with nature has shaped people in my homeland for centuries. And that means Sweden, earlier than other nations, has focused its actions on protecting the environment.

It also means the country is driving the transition to a society free of fossil fuels. This is yet another reason why the world premiere of our all-electric EQC (combined electric energy consumption: 20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)* fits so well in Stockholm.

(combined electric energy consumption: 20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)*

Swedes prefer action to words

Although many people first think of Norway when it comes to the key words “electromobility in Scandinavia,” I don’t believe we Swedes have to take a second seat to our neighbors. It’s part and parcel of our mentality to let our actions speak for themselves.

And that’s just what we do: When I’m on the road to Stockholm or Gothenburg, e-mobility literally greets me on every corner, be it in the form of charging stations or special parking areas. In terms of the share of registrations of electric car models, we ranked second in the world (behind Norway) at 6.3 percent last year and far ahead of all other European countries. Even China can’t keep up with that.

This is no coincidence: The government has deliberately expanded its promotion of electric vehicles in recent years. Electric vehicles in Sweden are exempt from motor vehicle taxes for five years and receive an incentive of up to €6,000. To date there are more than 2,500 charging stations for e-cars – over the next five years this number is set to double. I’m certain the “electromobility success story in Sweden” is far from over. And with our EQ vehicles we will contribute one or two chapters of our own.

Stage in Artipelag: Hey, EQC!

As a stage for the first appearance of our first Mercedes electrics, we deliberately chose a place that symbolizes the connection between nature and sustainability like no other. With his “Artipelag” Björn Jakobsen, founder of BabyBjörn, has created a unique place on the outskirts of Stockholm where culture, nature and art merge into a single experience.

The EQC is more than just another model in our extensive product range – it signals the start of a new era of mobility at Mercedes-Benz, an absolute milestone in our 132-year history.

It all begins with its clean, forward-looking design, which, of course, fits in well with Scandinavia. To me that makes EQC an absolute pioneer of a new electro-aesthetic. This design language — combined with its sophisticated driving dynamics thanks to two electric motors on the front and rear axles with a combined output of 300 kilowatts — makes EQC the Mercedes-Benz of electric cars. In addition, its intelligent drive strategy enables an electric range of more than 450 km according to NEDC. And in terms of comfort, safety and quality its true Mercedes qualities shine.

(combined electric energy consumption: 20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)*

EQC is the first scion and pioneer of our growing electric family. We will electrify the entire Mercedes-Benz car portfolio and offer our customers at least one electrified alternative in each model series – a total of more than 50 models.

The new EQC is our starting signal for the power of the new. That’s why “Hej EQC!” for Mercedes-Benz also means “Hej Mobility of the Future!” And as far as my home country is concerned I’m sure that, when it comes to the keyword “Sweden”, instead of thinking of moose you’ll soon think of unicorns – and especially of e-mobility.

Here you can find all information about the EQC and the technical data.

*Electric energy consumption and range have been determined on the basis of Regulation (EC) No. 692/2008. Electric energy consumption and range depend on the vehicle configuration.

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Ola Källenius is the member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Born in Västervik, Sweden, he began his professional career at the then Daimler-Benz AG in 1993 after completing his studies in Stockholm and St. Gallen.