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Mercedes-Benz tinkers with off-road EVs

EQC 4x4² medium SUV combines Mercedes-Benz’s electric and off-road expertise

14 Oct 2020

MERCEDES-BENZ engineers have combined their expertise and know-how in the fields of off-roading and electrification, to create a more capable version of its EQC called the 4x4².


Somewhat of a Frankenstein concept vehicle, the EQC 4x4² uses a standard EQC400 4Matic as its base donor vehicle, and has fitted a set of portal axles on all four corners to give the vehicle an immense amount of lift and ground clearance.


With a massive 293mm of ground clearance, the EQC 4x4² boasts more than double the clearance of a standard EQC (140mm), and even more than the G-Class, which rides 58mm lower.


The revised suspension is attached to the same body mounting points as the standard suspension, however the portal axles sit much wider and lower on the axle hubs than normal, which creates the increased lift.


A taller ride height also provides far superior approach (31.8 degrees), departure (33 degrees) and breakover (24.2 degrees) angles – all of which are over 10 degrees more than the standard EQC – while wading depth also increases from 250mm to 400mm.


Given the portal axles widen the wheel track as well as increase ride height, 100mm-wide black wheelarch flares have been fitted to accommodate the wider stance.


Under the wheelarches sit 20-inch beadlocked alloy wheels, wrapped in 285/50 all-terrain tyres.


The special EQC model features its own unique acoustic feedback and driving sounds, influenced by parameters such as accelerator pedal position, energy recovery rate and vehicle speed.


Sound is piped through the EQC’s external vehicle alert system, using its headlamps as speakers.


On the surface, the design and engineering exercise may seem like a bit of fun for Mercedes, however it could point towards the future of off-roading for the brand.


Mercedes has previously confirmed that the G-Class off-road SUV will be built in all-electric guise in the future, and is also the only series-production model from the brand to feature a portal axle-fitted 4x4² variant.


An all-electric powertrain could also offer a number of advantages for off-road driving, such as instant torque delivery and individual wheel slip control.


The EQC 4x4² has also been fitted with a specially calibrated off-road drive program, to allow for optimised traction on surfaces including sand, rock and mud.


A towbar and roof rack can also be fitted to the special model, to make camping situations easier with the addition of accessories such as a rooftop tent.


The EQC 4x4² comes with the same powertrain as the EQC400, namely a dual-motor/80kWh battery set-up capable of producing 300kW/760Nm, with power obviously channelled to all four corners.


Mercedes-Benz COO Markus Shafer said the EQC prototype was just the start of things for the brand.


“This drivable study clearly shows that alongside a passion for e-mobility, we at Mercedes-Benz lay a strong claim to leadership in this sector and will heighten the emotional appeal of this even further in the future.”

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