Driven by EQ: Do our electric cars have it?

Plans call for the entire Daimler portfolio, from the smart to the SUV, to be electrified by 2022. With EQ Boost, EQ Power, and EQ — our new product and technology brand for electric mobility at Daimler, we already offer a whole range of electrified cars today. But do they already have it?

That’s the question I wanted to try to answer myself. I received an opportunity to do that at the “Driven by EQ” driving presentation for the media. At Daimler, EQ stands for “electric intelligence.” That sounds promising, but I wanted to find out exactly what it means.

The first thing I thought of was that there’s already a broad product range of electrified vehicles. Of course I already knew about the new and fully electric EQC (combined electric energy consumption: 20.8 – 19.7 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)*.

But I only realized how broad the range really is during the driving presentation. Many different vehicles and drive systems were presented there, including the smart EQ models; vehicles with a 48 V on-board electrical system such as the CLS; the latest plug-in hybrids in the C, E, and S-Class, which are also now available as diesel variants; and the GLC F-CELL (Wasserstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 0,34 kg/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km; Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 13,7 kWh/100 km)** with fuel cell.

At the driving presentation, I found out that the road to zero-emission mobility at Daimler has three lanes, which are based on the three technologies EQ Boost, EQ Power, and EQ. They make it possible for customers to enter the world of electric mobility in individual ways, depending on their own mobility requirements and their personal driving profiles. “EQ” refers to the EQC and the smart EQs — in other words, the purely battery-driven vehicles from Daimler. But what’s behind the terms “EQ Boost” and “EQ Power”?

EQ Boost

This term is used by Mercedes-Benz to refer to the electrification of combustion engines, which makes them even more efficient. This process functions by means of a 48 V on-board electrical system that supplies consumers such as the water pump and the air-conditioning compressor with electric power. In the past, this electric power came directly from the combustion engine.

But now this 48 V on-board electrical system can be charged through recuperation, and that reduces fuel and CO2 emissions. The integrated starter-generator, which produces additional thrust, is a component of several models, including the new CLS 450 4MATIC (Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,8 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 178 g/km).*** It can support this model’s inline six-cylinder 367 hp engine for short periods with an additional 22 hp.

This electrical boost effect serves to bridge the “turbo lag” that occurs during acceleration — in other words, the short moment during which the boost pressure of the turbocharger is building up. The boost increases the vehicle’s efficiency and its driving dynamics. All in all, these features enable the CLS to offer the performance of an eight-cylinder engine while consuming much less fuel.

EQ Power

This term refers to the Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrids, which combine a combustion engine with a high-powered lithium-ion battery. The purely electrical range of the latest plug-in hybrid generation is approximately 50 kilometers, in line with the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). This would sufficiently cover my daily drive to work and back — with zero local emissions.

For longer drives, I could depend, as usual, on the range of the combustion engine. The “turbo lag” can be bridged in the plug-in hybrids as well. Because I wanted to experience this personally, I tested the whole system in the glamorous S 560 e model (Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 2,6-2,5 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 59-57 g/km; Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 20,2-20,0 kWh/100km).****

When the traffic light turned green, I resolutely bore down on the gas pedal — purely for the sake of research, of course — and the sedan really did accelerate without any noticeable delay. With a delighted grin, I looked back in the rearview mirror at all the other cars I had left behind me.

Unfortunately, I had to stop the car almost immediately after that at the next traffic light, so I decided to switch to the electric driving mode. My vehicle glided almost silently down the street. I enjoyed the sense of simply flowing along. I think it was the first time I experienced genuine driving comfort. After the driving presentation was over and I was sitting in my own car, I briefly had the feeling I was traveling in a horse-drawn carriage along a cobbled road.

The hybrid family also includes another vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL with fuel cell. For the first time ever, this model combines fuel cell and battery technology to create a plug-in-hybrid. It’s also the first hybrid that is completely climate-neutral at the local level. I had a few questions about this model, and the engineer Stefan Mauler kindly agreed to tell me more about it during a short ride.

Stefan Mauler erzählt mir mehr zum GLC F-CELL

Stefan Mauler tells me more about the GLC F-CELL

He explained that the vehicle was equipped with a hybrid drive system because the combination of both technologies offers many advantages. The main advantage of the fuel cell is its short charging period (the GLC F-CELL requires less than three minutes). The fuel cell operates like a small power plant that uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electric power, which then drives the electric motor.

The battery is especially good at supporting quick load changes, because it can react much more dynamically. By combining the advantages of both technologies — the large range and the 155 kW of power — the GLC F-CELL makes a good impression (whether or not it’s being driven by Britta Seeger).

Britta Seeger beim „Driven by EQ“

Britta Seeger at “Driven by EQ”

Before I did my internship, I imagined that electric mobility would only happen in the distant future. I thought that many electric vehicles looked unattractive, and I didn’t think driving them would be as much fun as driving a car with a combustion engine. But of course I also think it’s important to reduce the emissions that harm the environment, and I’m glad that Daimler is already forging ahead to solve this problem.

But by now I’ve become a fan of electrification, because I realize that Daimler’s corporate values such as safety, comfort, and driving pleasure play a key role in its electrified vehicles as well. During my test drives I was able to check that out for myself. In fact, I think electric vehicles even enhance driving pleasure, and I’m looking forward to future developments in this direction.

If I were able to choose a car for myself today, I would select one with a plug-in hybrid system. This combination of a familiar and an electrified drive system was the one I liked best. The three different EQ technologies should provide the right solution for everyone, thus smoothing the path toward an age of electrified driving. It’s not easy to maintain a complete overview of this huge range of products, so it’s a good thing that we now have a family photo of the EQ range.


EQ family photo

* 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.

** Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO2-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Die EG-Typgenehmigung und eine Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

*** Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um „WLTP-CO2-Werte“ i.S.v. Art. 2 Nr. 3Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet.

**** Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO2-Werte“ i.S.v. Art 2 Nr. 1Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet.

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Lisa Troidl is studying media sciences at the University of Tübingen, and at the moment she is doing an internship at Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars. During her leisure time she likes to read and to drive, preferably a Mercedes vehicle.