Shortly before its market launch, the Mercedes-Benz EQC is undergoing final tests in Sweden’s snowy landscapes. During these further winter trials in Arjeplog, Sweden, the engineers pay particular attention to the thermal management of the battery and interior, recharging in cold conditions and handling safety, traction and recuperation on ice and snow.
After digital tests and benchtests, the 200 or so prototypes and pre-series models of the EQC cover several million kilometres on four continents. The test program includes over 500 individual tests in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.
During the course of three winters and three summers, the EQC is subjected to temperatures from minus 35° up to over plus 50° Celsius. These tests are conducted for final verification before customer deliveries of the EQC commence.
Testing is carried out in Arjeplog in Lapland, on the roads and on specially prepared test tracks. In fact testing starts earlier than this: the components are optimized in iteration cycles in Sindelfingen, and the latest variants are installed in the vehicles.
The winter trials follow a strict timetable: each day begins with an early morning discussion during which the day’s activities are defined. In the evening there is a final discussion with feedback from the test team, the results for the day and planning of activities for the subsequent days and weeks.
In contrast to the previous winter trials of the EQC, only the final details are optimized and verified this time. This includes fine-tuning and testing of aspects that present a particular challenge in electric vehicles.
– Pre-entry climatization – in this case warming the vehicle interior, steering wheel, rear window and, depending on choice, the driver’s seat or all the seats before starting off – must work perfectly. Numerous test drives are carried out so as to assess the effects on operating range as well as possible. To make the range as long as possible, it is advisable to charge the vehicle at a charging station so that the energy needed for pre-entry climatization comes from the power grid, and not from the high-voltage battery.
– Range in customer operation: Naturally this should also be as good as possible in cold conditions. The engineers therefore examine how precise the range calculations are. They also analyze how much range is sacrificed when the interior is heated during a journey. In this connection additional tests are carried out to show how rapidly the interior cools down during short stops, e.g. shopping trips, and how much energy is then needed to compensate the heat loss. It is always more energy-efficient to lower the interior temperature and operate the seat heating as required.