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On Monday I drove the first electric vehicle from Mercedes on Irish soil.

It was a little bit of motoring history that presages a veritable deluge of EVs and PHEVs.

The new Mercedes EQC sports utility vehicle is a trailblazer for at least 10 more EVs from Mercedes between now and 2022.

They will include an EQV people-carrier and EQA, EQB, EQS and EQE models based on their existing petrol-diesel equivalents.

The remainder have yet to be announced. There will also be 50 electrified vehicles (mild hybrids, plug-ins) by then.

So alongside the sense of history there was the anticipation that major change is afoot.

However, it will be a year or more before smaller, more affordable models get here – the A-Class derivative EQA being a case in point.

For now the EQC (based on the GLC but longer) is the one in the spotlight.

The 400 4-Matic 408hp version starts at €89,450 before €5,000 in VRT rebate and €5,000 SEAI grant are deducted. Effectively it costs €79,450.

Mercedes claims the price is €3,445 and €10,800 lower than its two main rivals, the Jaguar I-PACE and Audi e-tron respectively.

You can up the spec – and the price – by going for an AMG exterior (€91,897 before incentives), or AMG electric art interior (€92,713) or full AMG exterior and interior (€93,546).

Alongside the new model is a special EQC ‘Edition 1886’ version (€105,882 before €10,000 incentives).

Standard battery (eight-year warranty) power is 80kWh; the system develops 408hp (0-100kmh in 5.1 secs). But while it was powerful and fast it was not overly roomy.

Current range is 471km NEDC or 375km/417km WLTP depending on model. The EQC has 4WD because electric motors drive front and rear axles.

You can increase the motors’ system output by scaling up battery components.

Six geographically strategic Mercedes outlets are catering for sales and enquiries. Potential buyers might ask about the company’s home charging system too. It should come in at around €800 installed (after the SEAI grant of €600).

Brian Byrne reports:

Keeping up the EV momentum is the electric version of the V-Class MPV. Unveiled in Stuttgart last week, the EQV goes on sale here next year.

Like its traditionally powered siblings, it is based on the Vito van. As an MPV and luxury shuttle it is popular within the relatively small sector.

Mercedes hopes to capture a segment of both existing and new customers on the basis they are ‘early adopters’ of new technology.

There is a 100kWh battery under the floor to give it a range of 400km-plus.

Battery technologies include the potential to recharge from 10pc-80pc in less than an hour.

The only compromise in the overall project is that a towing capability will not be available.

Like the standard V-Class, the EQV comes as a 7-or-8-seat configuration.

No prices have been revealed in any market yet. Company representatives last week were also cagey on what might be the ballpark premium for the electric powertrain.

It was learned, however, that electric configuration offers an opportunity for a commercial van with a substantially longer range than the eVito’s 150km.

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