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Mercedes-Benz has launched the first of 10 EVs that will roll off the assembly lines in the next three years.

The EQ badge, under which the new models will be marketed in six specially selected garages in strategic locations throughout the country, kicks off with the EQC for which orders are now being taken.

The Mercedes-Benz plan is to electrify current high-selling models first and add hybrids, plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids to the line-up in the coming years. Up to 50 models are in the planning stages but the smaller models will not arrive for some time.

The EQ treatment will appear in the V-Class, GLA, GLB, S-Class and E-Class, initially, and by 2022, four additional models will be on offer with electric motors as the power source. The company has a budget of €10bn to become the front runner in EV driving, and is even going to the extreme of spending over €750m in building factories in China and Poland to develop the battery technology for forthcoming models.

The first to go on sale is the EQC 400, based on the GLC SUV, using a modified version of that car’s platform, and it boasts 408bhp with two electric motors on front and rear axles, giving four-matic single speed automatic transmission. It will be exclusive with a price tag of €89,450 (€79,450, when VRT and SEAI allowances are taken into consideration).

Mercedes-Benz has a price comparison with rivals, which shows that the Jaguar I-Pace EV400 4WD is €3,445 more expensive, but with a claimed 53kms longer range, while the Audi e-tron 4WD is €10,300 more expensive with a 385km range.

The claimed range for the EQC is up to 417kms, with a dramatic sprint time of five seconds to reach 100kms and a claimed top speed of 180kms/h. The aerodynamic shape helps the range factor and cuts down on wind noise, which makes for a very relaxed drive when you add the absence of any engine noise.

The interior is typical luxury Mercedes-Benz with reasonably good rear legroom, it is longer than the GLC, while the sloping roofline does cut down on headroom. The boot can cope with 500 litre of luggage with the rear seats up.

The driver gets a dual screen infotainment arrangement, the controls and centre console are similar to the GLC with tweaks to the vents and dash area. With high-speed charging, an 80pc battery top-up can be achieved in 40 minutes.

The arrival of the EQA and EQB from Mercedes-Benz will add to the buzz of excitement for cleaner transport from the cost-conscious motorist.

Martin Brennan

Provided by Independent.ie