Mercedes-Benz EQB long term review, 9,400km report

If your drive is mainly short city commutes, you won’t need to plug in every day

Two car launches in two days isn’t uncommon in today’s fast-paced and buzzing automotive market, and making the job of attending these back-to-back launches efficient and easy is the Mercedes EQB, which has just entered our long-term fleet. It was at the launch of the EQE SUV at the company’s plant in Chakan that I picked up the EQB with a fully charged battery good for 380km, according to the all-important range meter or range ‘estimator’ (predicted range is never accurate, right?).

My next stop was the Conrad in Pune just over 30km away for an overnight stop before heading to Jeep’s Ranjangaon plant for the launch of the Compass 4x2 diesel, adding 50km to the drive. Tot up the return 230km journey to my home in Mumbai and I was looking at a total distance of 310km, which on a single charge seemed pretty comfortable. The thought of not having to hunt around for chargers and wait in a queue to plug in put my mind at ease. But would I have to drive in ‘Grandma’ mode to ensure that I reached home with a fair bit of margin left? Or could I hoof it down the expressway and not care? 

Feels effortless and relaxed at high speeds.

These questions were answered when I reached Ranjangaon, which, by the way, is also the birthplace of the Tata Nexon EV. With this plant cranking out thousands of EVs every month, there had to be a fast DC charger somewhere, and sure enough, there was. With the State-of-Charge (SOC) meter showing 72 percent and a range of 285km, I didn’t necessarily need to top up. However, since I was going to be there for the better part of the day and the kind folks at the plant allowed me to do it for free, why not just plug in?

A 50kW DC charger swiftly replenished the depleted 28 percent in half an hour flat. Now armed with a 100 percent charge for just 230km, I could drive hard and fast. My worry was no longer the range but the speed cameras on the Mumbai-Pune expressway! Another worry on any long-distance trip is the absence of a spare tyre, so if you are unfortunate enough to get a puncture, you’ll have to place your faith in the run-flats to get you home. 

Sub-400km range is low for long weekend drives.

The EQB isn’t particularly quick as EVs go, but the instant torque never leaves you wanting. Expressway cruising is absolutely effortless and the SUV feels remarkably stable and relaxed at highway speeds. With the EQB, you also learn how sensitive range is to speed. A 10kph increment in speed can see the range tumble exponentially, and quite honestly, if I had a clear road and didn’t care about the speed limits, even the 230km range I had in my pocket (which is the battery) may have left me on the edge. Traffic was thick that day so even if I wanted to, there was no scope of going fast and this worked in favour of efficiency.

The drive back from Ranjangaon to Mumbai consumed electricity at the rate of 5.3kWh per km, which is pretty frugal for a tall SUV with a relatively large frontal area. I finally got home with a good 29 percent SOC and a range of 118km left, proving the point that with a little bit of planning and some help, a short EV road trip is not just eminently possible but hassle-free. 

The EQB isn’t particularly quick, but the instant torque never leaves you wanting.

But, let’s face it, a 400km actual range falls short of what you expect from a modern luxury EV these days that have a 500km+ range as the norm. The EQB 350 has a WLTP range of 423km, but that’s never what you get in the real world.  Since we’ve had the EQB with us, it’s given a steady 380-390km range. This falls short of what you would want on the highway, but in the city, it’s more than enough. I was also impressed with the accuracy and consistency of the EQB’s range meter, which doesn’t suddenly drop or throw up any surprises.

As for the ride, it isn’t plush by Merc standards but it’s pliant enough to round off bumps and sharp edges quite comfortably. What definitely isn’t up to Merc standards are some of the plastic bits in the cabin like the sharp edge of the glovebox latch, which you feel every time you open it. That may seem like a tiny detail, but it’s an important touch point that should have been taken care of.

Also see: 

Mercedes Benz EQB 350 review: Powering Up


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