Experienced by Leon Brittain, www.AutomotiveRhythms.com
It was time for another weekend road trip to Ocean City in honor of my teen daughter’s volleyball lifestyle. From Silver Spring, MD the beach town is a three to 4-hour commute depending on traffic. So, of course I was apprehensive about driving an EV down there without knowing the lay of the land as it relates to the charging station infrastructure. But after researching the topic, I discovered that the EV Institute and other charger brands were omnipresent. Thus, we decided to hit the road with the 2023 Mercedes EQB 250+ all-electric SUV.
Aya thought it would be cool to arrive at the Volleyball Classic in a Mercedes electric vehicle to show off to teammates while my wife kept asking about the chargers. I told Misa we were fine since the distance between cities was 145 miles, and the EQB 250+ meter read 244 miles after a complete charge from our newly installed ChargePoint Home Flex unit. Plus, with enough space and utility for a family of four, luggage, and supplies, the small SUV was too sensible to leave home. The only feature that decreased the overall range by about eight miles was the usage of the 2-Zone Climate Control, which was an absolute necessity due to the frigid weather this past weekend.
Our media loaner arrived in a Night Black exterior with a multifunction steering wheel trimmed in leather, 18” 5-spoke alloy wheels, 64-color ambient lighting, and Dynamic Select to adjust the EV’s mannerisms to either Sport, Comfort, Eco, or Individual settings that change the dynamics of the steering, transmission, and ESP. Thankfully, it didn’t modify the range. Apple CarPlay integration allowed us to play tunes from our smartphones with advancements from the 10.25” Digital Instrument Cluster and 10.25” Touchscreen Multimedia Display as part of the new-generation MBUX infotainment system with Augmented Reality Navigation. Misa was amazed that whenever she mentioned “Mercedes” in conversation the voice assistant tended to her needs. The Natural Language Understanding and Keyword Activation (“Hey Mercedes”) is a byproduct of your EQB’s evolution. Other available amenities include:
- A panorama sunroof, head-up display, and AMG Line
- Driver Assistance Package with Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Lane Keeping, and Blind Spot Assist
- A Winter Package with a heated windshield and windshield washer system
- Front multi-contour seats with massage, rapid heating, and ventilation
The EQB’s acceleration from its 70.5 kWh Lithium-Ion battery pack and 100 kW DC Fast Charging system suited our needs on the primarily two-lane trip. Output is 188-horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. For convenience, the home screen takes you to the leading apps including comfort to change cabin ambiance and seating setup, media for music selection, vehicle settings, and navigation. Yet, I was more focused on the EQ’s “electric status” and EV charging station finder to ascertain that we didn’t get stuck somewhere. Finally, the family arrived with about 20% battery capacity and immediately visited a Level 2 charger pulling 7.1 kW an hour. Then, the next day I found charging from the EV Institute at the Ocean City Convention Center where the girls were playing.
Mercedes-EQ has a partnership with ChargePoint with a recent announcement of a new charging network that will be open to all customers, not just Mercedes owners. The rollout will start this year in North America and includes MN8 Energy. Completion is expected by 2027 and will offer 400 hubs with more than 2,500 Level 3 chargers. EV drivers will find premium charging hubs near highways and metropolitan areas when completed. Expect four to 12 chargers at standard locations and up to 30 at busy junctions.
EV owners will complete 80% of their charging at home using a 240V Level 2 charger. Therefore, a home installation setup like the ChargePoint Home Flex is best. But when you are out and about, ChargePoint has an extensive network of Level 2 AC and Level 3 DC Fast Chargers. I can use the app to find locations in my area from shopping centers to hotels. For the quickest results, I suggest hardwiring your unit to a 50-amp circuit breaker estimated at 37 miles of range per hour. The lower the amp rating, the slower the charge. As you increase amperage, more power will be drawn to your EQB, and at a faster rate.
The 2023 EQB 250+ starts at $52,400. Pricing for the EQB 300 4MATIC and EQB 350 4MATIC will be announced shortly. Remember, home charges are eligible for utility rebates and other incentives including the renewed US federal tax credit for 30% of total station and installation fees up to $1,000. So, are you ready for the next transitioning stage of e-mobility? I certainly am.