Tech’splaining: Mercedes EQ, EQ Boost, EQ Power, and EQ Power Plus

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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Moving toward an electrified future, Mercedes-Benz is grouping its hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles together under the EQ nameplate. Not all Mercedes EQ models are created equally, however, so we’re going to explain the differences between EQ, EQ Boost, EQ Power, and EQ Power+.

First, though, it helps to understand what EQ means. Mercedes says its traditional brand values include emotion and intelligence. Derived from this, EQ stands for electric intelligence. You know, like IQ, but with an E. Smart, huh? In fact, an electric Smart car briefly wore the EQ badge in the U.S. market. But we digress…

Mercedes introduced the EQ name to the world at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, when the automaker debuted the Generation EQ concept crossover SUV. The production version of that concept vehicle is about to go on sale as the EQC. Which brings us to our first explainer about the different EQ-badged vehicles.

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 ChargingThe 2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 is the first pure electric EQ model from the automaker. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

What is Mercedes-Benz EQ?

It’s hard enough to figure out Mercedes-Benz naming conventions. Why is the smallest and cheapest one the A-Class, when a grade of A is best? Why do some names have a space but others don’t? Why is it called an E 450 when it has a 3.0-liter engine?

Don’t know, don’t care. We’re talking Mercedes-Benz EQ here, and EQ, when used all by itself (along with a letter denoting the vehicle), is applied to purely electric models.

The first one to arrive is the EQC 400 4Matic. It’s a 5-passenger SUV, sized between the GLC and GLE, and equipped with standard 4Matic all-wheel drive thanks to electric motors at each axle. Mercedes says it makes 402 hp and offers more than 200 miles of driving range on a single battery charge.

Mercedes-AMG 53 EQ Boost ModelsThe Mercedes-AMG 53 models were the first to get mild-hybrid EQ Boost technology. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

What is Mercedes-Benz EQ Boost?

Mercedes is applying the EQ Boost name to its mild-hybrid powertrains. Equipped with a 48-volt electrical system and an Integrated Starter-Generator (ISG) located between the engine and transmission, this technology improves fuel economy while adding performance.

The first application of EQ Boost arrived in the company’s Mercedes-AMG 53 lineup of vehicles. They’ve got a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine with the ISG and 48-volt system, and when installed in the E-Class, Mercedes claims EQ Boost provides 24 mpg in combined driving and acceleration to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz EQ Power BadgeIf a Mercedes-Benz has a plug-in hybrid powertrain, it will wear an EQ Power badge. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

What is Mercedes-Benz EQ Power?

When you see a Mercedes with EQ Power in its name, it’s a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). Previously, Mercedes denoted plug-ins with an ‘e,’ like this: GLC 350e. With the rollout of the company’s third-generation PHEV technology, Mercedes is adding EQ Power to the name.

To date, the automaker’s attempts at selling PHEVs have been relatively unsuccessful. That could change later this year with the arrival of the new GLC 350e 4Matic EQ Power.

A compact five-passenger SUV, this new EQ Powered GLC gets styling and equipment updates in addition to new PHEV technology. Once the EPA finalizes estimates it should offer more than double the electric driving range of the old model. That means this new plug-in GLC ought to travel more than 20 miles solely on electricity before switching to gas-electric hybrid operation.

Mercedes-AMG Concept One with EQ Power+The Mercedes-AMG Concept One was the first vehicle to showcase Formula E-based EQ Power+ technology for the street. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

What is Mercedes-Benz EQ Power+?

Rooted in Formula E racing, EQ Power+ is the designation for an upcoming line of Mercedes-AMG plug-in hybrids. The first street-legal-intent example of EQ Power+ came wrapped in the Project One concept car, a 2-seat hybrid with more than 1,000 hp.

A mid-engine hypercar, the Project One features a gasoline-fueled, turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 engine and four electric motors. The gas engine drives the rear wheels, while two of the electric motors power the front wheels. Electric driving range is about 15 miles, acceleration to 125 mph takes about six seconds, and top speed is over 215 mph.

EQ Generation Concept on StageImproving your EQ IQ will help you understand what kind of powertrain is in a future Mercedes. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Boost your IQ with knowledge of EQ

Now you know that EQ signals a fully electric powertrain, EQ Boost applies to light-electrified mild-hybrid drivetrains, EQ Power refers to a plug-in hybrid, and EQ Power+ designates a performance plug-in hybrid.

With all of this EQ knowledge, don’t you feel like your IQ is higher than it was a few minutes ago?


About the Author

  • Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience serving in automotive editorial leadership roles with Autobytel, Edmunds, J.D. Power, and Tribune Publishing. A married father of four, Chris is based in the Los Angeles suburbs and believes fuel cell electric vehicles will power the future.

can be reached at christianwardlaw@gmail.com
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