We are in the new age of technology and we are seeing a prominence rise of car manufactures starting to introduce full electric cars in their line ups. There are also new car manufacturers entering the market and most of them are offering full electric cars. This has made the German giants come up with their own full electric cars. But the main reason for Audi and Mercedes Benz making fully electric cars is because Tesla cars are dominating the segment alone and a monopoly cannot exist in a car segment, especially in a segment that will become popular in future.

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Whilst BMW is busy developing their own full electric SUV, Audi and Mercedes Benz went on to create their own full electric SUV’s to challenge the Tesla Model X. This segment is growing at a face pace and some car manufacturers won’t let this opportunity pass by. Audi has long introduced its E-tron brand with an electric R8 concept but didn’t fell on back then. Now it’s in full operation and will have more models coming in just like the Mercedes Benz EQ brand which launched in South Africa sometime last year.

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Every car enthusiast asks themselves this question, “do we really need electric cars?”. It’s really an upsetting thought of seeing the petrol age slightly dying but there are benefits to electric cars. There are no gas emissions, practicality improves and there is immediate power response from electric cars. But the fact that there is no noise really frustrates car lovers. Maybe the Audi E-tron Quattro and Mercedes Benz EQC 400 4matic can change your mind about the future being electric.

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For starters, both SUVs look stunning. The Audi E-tron has a similar design to the current Q3 but it looks way more futuristic, the front grille is huge but very distinctive from other Audi models. However, the front of the Mercedes Benz EQC looks more sleek and smooth with some gloss effects on the lights and also on the three-pointed star symbol. Both rear ends of the E-tron and EQC have an LED strip light for an increased futuristic effect. The Mercedes Benz EQC has been highly criticized for having a body shape similar to the Range Rover Velar but that doesn’t bother me.

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So design wise, I think the E-tron looks like a fusion of a present and future design language while the EQC is all futuristic with the design. But it’s up to you whether you like the E-tron or EQC design. You would also want to consider the wheelbase and weight of the cars. The Audi E-tron has a wheelbase of 2928 mm, length of 4901 mm and weighs 2560 kg. The Mercedes Benz EQC has a wheelbase of 2873 mm, length of 4761 mm and weighs 2425 kg. So the E-tron is bigger in terms of size and weighs more than the EQC.

Electric cars don’t have internal combustion engines but use electric motors powered by lithium-ion batteries. The E-tron has a 95 kWh lithium-ion battery which is more than the EQC’s 80 kWh lithium-ion battery. Both cars are all-wheel drive with dual motors. The E-tron has an 11 kW charging power that can take up to 8.5 hours to reach full capacity but with the optional 22 kW charging power, that duration can take half the time to charge up. Same goes to the EQC with its charging power of 22 kW.

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With the charge duration, that depends on which charging outlet is used. The fast charging outlets are capable of charging the battery to reach 80% capacity in just 30 minutes. Mercedes Benz is offering the “Wallbox”, a charging outlet which can be used at home and can charge three times faster than a conventional domestic socket. To save power, both cars have a recuperation system which can recover energy from braking and help to power the electric motors.

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Regarding performance figures, well these cars are pretty close but the Mercedes Benz EQC has managed to stay ahead. The Audi E-tron has a claimed range of 417 km whilst the Mercedes Benz claims the EQC can do up to 450 km. The Mercedes Benz EQC has a power output of 402 hp (300 kW) and 765 Nm of torque, the Audi E-tron has a power output of 355 hp (265 kW) and 561 Nm of torque. The EQC manages to hit a 0-100 km/h in just 5.1 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 180 km/h. The E-tron is capable of a top speed of 200 km/h and can do 0-100 km/h in just 6.6 seconds. The advantage of electric motors is the instant torque which launches the car quickly off the line.

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The interiors of both cars look gorgeous and you get top of the line tech in both cars. The Mercedes Benz EQC has the typical widescreen setup with touchscreen and a touchpad to control the functions, leather seats, and drivers assist features. Same with the Audi E-tron with dual screen setup, Audi’s Virtual cockpit, night vision, and enhanced adaptive cruise control. The most fascinating feature of the E-tron is the optional virtual mirrors, which have HD cameras mounted on the mirrors and the driver sees through a 7-inch OLED screen embedded on both the driver and front passenger door panels.

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To make these cars more futuristic, both cars come with AI voice control features which have sort of a personality. The EQC has Mercedes Benz Intelligent MBUX which can be activated by saying “Hey Mercedes”. The Audi E-tron has Amazon Alexa voice control.

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With the EQ brand launched in South Africa and the E-tron brand yet to be launched, prices have not yet been announced. The EQ brand is set to expand to 10 more models by 2022, we shall see what Mercedes Benz has for us. Audi has already shown us the E-tron GT which is a four-door coupe concept set to be in production soon. The Audi E-tron and Mercedes Benz EQC might be priced around R1 050 000 but then again these are introduction models for the electric brands, less expensive models are coming soon.