ELECTRIC POWERTRAINS ON TEST
Our thoughts on cars we’ve tested recently, all of which
feature some sort of advanced powertrain electrifi cation
BMW X5 XDRIVE 45E
BMW launched its fi rst PHEV X5 back
in 2015, and now with the brand on the
fourth generation of its eDrive technology
the new 45e has taken the benefi ts of
plug-in power to the next level.
Looking at the numbers and fuel
economy fi gures it’s hard to believe
we’re talking about a 2.5-ton SUV with
a 3.0-liter in-line six cylinder engine.
With an extremely generous 24kWh
battery on-board powering an 83kW
electric motor, it can travel on pure
electric power for over 80km (50 miles)
and has a claimed combined economy
of up to 235mpg (WLTP). Staggering.
Of course, these fi gures and aren’t fully
representative of the whole picture, but to
even go near that for a car this size is
a feat of engineering.
The amount of electric only driving
range didn’t exceed 50 miles for us but we
had more than enough to suffi ce most of
our daily driving, urban driving and school
runs without needing a drop of fuel. To
squeeze as much economy as possible
the X5 employs BMW’s intelligent energy
management, which previews your route
when using the sat nav and cleverly works
out the optimum powertrain option of
electric, hybrid or gas, and automatically
switch as you drive. In Hybrid Eco Pro
mode, the car will also tap into navigation
and sensor data to change braking
regeneration levels. We achieved some
decent gains over short distances using
this and the system all worked discreetly.
We particularly liked the physical throttle
threshold that lets you feel how much
pressure you can put on the accelerator
pedal before the engine kicks in, which is
something a lot of hybrids lack.
The X5 45e really does open the door
wide open for anyone considering the
move to electrifi cation but worried about
giving up their ‘big’ car. It offers the best
of all worlds. The one drawback is the
sacrifi ce of the two rear pop-up seats in
the trunk to make way for the battery
underneath. However, the X5 is hardly
short on space.
MERCEDES EQC 400 4MATIC
Mercedes-Benz's fi rst fully-electric vehicle is
a timely one. With the premium electric SUV
market rapidly growing in depth with the likes
of Jaguar and Audi giving Tesla less elbow
room in the market, the marque has wisely
opted to electrify this segment before than
The EQC, which is part of the brand’s
EQ branded electrifi ed range, is built on
a majorly modifi ed GLC platform and is
equipped with an 80kWh battery powering
two asynchronous motors – one on the
front axle, and one on the rear. It produces a
powerful 408hp and 760Nm torque. While
a relatively weighty kerb weight of 2,495kg
(the battery alone is 652kg) throttle response
is sharp and acceleration of 0-100km/h (0-
62mph) is smooth. Mercedes claims the EQC
will get up to 259 miles range (WLTP). We
found a full charge was a little way off this
but it delivers a refreshingly accurate real
world range, with remaining mileage staying
true to your driving style.
Comfort is a key aspect to the EQC,
something you instantly notice
34 // January 2020 // www.electrichybridvehicletechnology.com
inside the luxurious and tech-laden cabin.
Driving-wise, the fl at-bottomed architecture
offers a pleasant low center of gravity, but
most notable is how silent the ride is. Even
for electric car standards, this has to be
the most inaudible cars we’ve tested. We
applaud the engineering on the electric
powertrain for its lack of whir or whine, which
can cheapen the premium experience. Inside
the cabin, without the IC engine, insulation
against exterior road noise is incredible.
It takes around 11 hours to fully charge
from wallbox, or just 40 minutes for
a 10-80% recharge via high powered
charging thanks to its 110kW DC on-board
charger. Customers will receive a one-year
subscription to the Ionity network, which is a
nice perk, but they won’t be able to take full
advantage of the highest capacity charging.
For a fi rst try, the EQC is very impressive.
With over US$10bn behind the development
and deployment of EVs and 10 new models
on the way over the next year, there was little
doubt that it would disappoint.