Tesla has had the empire alone for more than seven years in the expensive electric car segment. Only last year did it have to deal with a competitor in the form of the Jaguar I-Pace. From this year the German brands will also participate. The Audi e-tron is already available, the Mercedes-Benz EQC will follow soon. Which vehicle is preferred?
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For both Audi and Mercedes, it is the first serious all-electric car of the brand. The EQC is a fully-fledged production model, which is built in series on the same assembly line as the GLC-Class. The Audi was conceived as an electric car from the drawing board, and is not a converted existing car that requires compromises.
The electric SUVs from Audi and Mercedes are scouts: the first of many and they symbolize what is to come. In the meantime, they are just cars that you can buy and apparently are a realistic option for enough people. At some companies electric driving is also compulsory at the top and despite the increasingly strict tax rules for expensive electric cars, there is still a tax benefit.
The EQC comes from the same production line as the GLC. (Photo: AutoWeek)
Many similarities between both cars
The specifications are fairly the same. Both cars have 408 hp thanks to two electric motors, one per axle. The battery pack of the Audi is 95 kWh larger than the 85 kWh battery of the Mercedes. But how much of the battery capacity is actually used varies per car.
Some brands, such as Tesla, are not open about that, others do. Mercedes and Audi too, and we know that the Audi actually uses 82.5 kWh and the EQC does it with 80 kWh. Then the difference is suddenly a lot smaller.
How to charge that battery? Of course they can both be connected to a normal power outlet, but then you have to be very patient. With its own wall box with 3.7 kW, charging is a little faster, but from empty to full it takes more than twenty hours.
The e-tron has 82.5 kWh of a total of 90 kWh at its disposal. (Photo: Audi)
More loading options with the Audi
Do you have three-phase power at your disposal, then that helps enormously with the Audi, but the Mercedes - a bit to our surprise - cannot load with three-phase, so that you have to wait 21 hours in your own wallbox if you ever have a empty battery. The Audi can go up to a maximum of 22 kW, although you have to purchase the optional on-board 22 kW charger.
Fortunately, quick charging is possible with the Mercedes, so that you can also put long distances on your to-do list. If the loading place can handle it, you can go up to 112 kW. Very nice, but the Audi also wins this battle with 155 kW as the maximum. The practical usability of the e-tron is therefore noticeably greater than that of the EQC.
E-tron is less economical with electricity
The actual range of the cars did not differ very far: as is known, circumstances such as weather, traffic and speed have a significant influence on the range of an electric car and you actually have to test several months before you have a realistic picture. But in our week at a temperature of around 23 degrees and little rain, we got roughly the same distance, with - it seemed - a structural slight lead for the Audi.
With normal use, count on 300 kilometers as long as it is not extremely cold. If you are going to use Eco-modes and limit yourself to 110 kilometers per hour, then perhaps the 400 kilometers will come into the picture.
Audi uses the electricity a little less sparingly, since he has more kWh at his disposal, but a random Tesla effortlessly goes a lot further on less kWh than both Germans.
429Mercedes-Benz EQC, the electric Tesla competitor
Mercedes is extremely quiet
In terms of electrical power, the Mercedes is noticeably faster in the sprint than the e-tron, despite the same power. In the Audi, it feels like the e-tron deliberately does not release all the power at low speed. For EV concepts, the car is therefore not overly fast off the line. On the intermediate sprint, it is at least as fast or even faster than the EQC.
The Mercedes is extremely quiet even for an EV. Where some manufacturers - whether or not artificially - add a buzz to a rotating electric motor, you won't hear anything in this Mercedes. Due to additional insulation, wind and tire noise is also virtually absent.
Even though the e-tron is heavier than the Mercedes, those kilos are better kept under control. The Audi is better on the road, even though you have noticeably less comfort. Here the dampers are adjustable, so that you can vary depending on the type of road surface.
514First driving test: Audi e-tron, the most important Audi in years
Compare shows how good Tesla is
The Mercedes EQC is fairly late on the market, but does not feel like the most modern electric car. You notice that it is based on an existing model and that brings compromises. It is more efficient than the Audi, but drives less well and offers noticeably fewer loading options. The e-tron may have been a rush job, but is better as an electric car than the EQC. This test also shows how good the Tesla Model S was in 2011.
In response to Tesla's hegemony, it is noticeable that first attempts on the part of the German side should focus on charisma, high-quality build quality and luxury gadgets. The Audi succeeds better as an electric car because of its charging options than the Mercedes and therefore wins this test.
The best electric vehicle is still a Tesla and in terms of driving characteristics, there is Jaguar, which has put down a very good driving car with the I-Pace. We have to wait a little longer for the competitor of BMW: next year will be the BMW iX3.
Intense competition from Tesla and Jaguar. (Photo: AutoWeek)
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