I’ll admit that my hand flicked from one set of keys to the other more than once but, after a calming few minutes online researching charger locations, I knew I had to live by my own words. My almost-calamitous organisation meant I had to leave 30 minutes earlier than otherwise but, if all went well, I’d be on time and have enough electrons whizzing around beneath my feet to get home again.
And – surprise, surprise – I drove, I stopped and a 35-minute stop at an Ionity/Polar charging station just off the M1 delivered around 70 miles of charge. Naysayers take note: there were 11 fairly-high-speed chargers at this well-known location, and I was the only one using them; come a short distance off the motorway these days and it feels like you’re never far from a chance for a rapid top-up. And while I waited, I was able to go online and clear my emails, so even having to leave early had upsides, too.
So now experience means my personal comfort zone on how far I’m prepared to go when I’m out and about is greatly expanded – and I can look forward to really enjoying the merits of the EQC, Mercedes’ first effort at an all-in electric vehicle and a pioneer of the firm’s EQ sub-brand.
Sure, it might look familiar to anyone who has ever clapped their eyes on a GLC, bar the coupé-like rear end and some nifty design flourishes, from the XL-sized badge, wheels and light arrangements through to the copper-coloured finishes on the air vents (to look like the internals of circuit boards, naturally), but Mercedes is far from the only one to have gone for a relatively conservative start to this journey.
The EQC is a car that has been eagerly anticipated on our fleet for some time, not just because it carries a large price tag and the promise of premium refinements and some cutting-edge tech, but also because it was declared the winner of an all-electric showdown with the Audi E-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla Model X by our road test team last year. It edged the verdict on account of being much the easiest of the cars to live with, as well as delivering decent, if not class-leading, quantities of those sometimes most diverse of characteristics: driver involvement and comfort and practicality.
No question, this is a car that makes you go ‘wow’. Since it arrived 10 days ago, there has been a line of passing kids peering through the windows (one of the more enjoyable distractions of working from home is earwigging on what future generations think about the cars on my driveway), and that in itself is clear proof of the journey that Mercedes, not so long ago the favoured choice for anyone who considered string gloves the height of fashion, has undergone in recent years. It’s also a trajectory that cars like the EQC must accelerate if this so-called ‘legacy’ car maker is to remain relevant into the future.