Car review: Lessons I learned from driving the Mercedes-Benz EQC400 to Johor Bahru from Kuala Lumpur

Sustainable beauty


By Sarah Hani Jamil

Car review: Lessons I learned from driving the Mercedes-Benz EQC400 to Johor Bahru from Kuala Lumpur

There is a wide array of electric-powered vehicles in the market, and Mercedes-Benz is at the forefront of innovation with an impressive lineup of Mercedes-EQ vehicles. Offering a dynamic driving experience every time, the German marque’s all-electric automobiles are the embodiment of luxury and intelligence. Among these is the EQC400, which I had the opportunity to test-drive from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru over the Raya holidays. Read on for my experience as I embark on a five-hour journey back to my parents’ hometown while exploring the available charging options along the way. While I’ve briefly test-driven EVs before, this is my first time fully immersing myself in a pure electric car experience on my own without the aid of a brand rep, and it was rather memorable, to say the least.



#1 The EQC400 is a symbol of progressive luxury

True to the brand’s design philosophy, the EQC400 offers a distinctive, aerodynamic appearance with sleek lines and sculpted contours, chrome detailing, and LED luminescent bands that give the SUV a fashionable look. Inside, the EQC400 is spacious, with luxurious, sporty leather seats and cutting-edge technology. Its latest iteration of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system—featuring a large touchscreen display—allows me to interact with the vehicle seamlessly, providing ultra convenience at my fingertips. While a bit lower than the previous Mercedes SUV model I reviewed—the GLE450—its considerable height at 1622mm and 1884mm width felt fairly comfortable for my height of 173cm.


#2 The pleasure of silence

As expected with driving a Mercedes EV, the experience was defined by seamless acceleration and pure silence. In fact, it was rather hard to detect whether the engine was even running in parking mode or when I stopped at a traffic light. Cruising on the highway at 110 to 120kmh proved to be exceptionally comfortable and serene, with minimal noise and vibrations. The car’s dual electric motors offer a combined power of 402 horsepower, ensuring smooth pick-up and a thrilling driving experience. 


#3 The different types of electric charging

The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Johor is one that’s usually easy, calm and scenic. However, driving an EV requires a lot of planning, lest you end up stranded on the highway. Being relatively new to the world of electric-powered vehicles, one significant detail I missed out on prior to the journey was learning about the different types of charging ports available—AC and DC—and the state of charging infrastructure along the highway. You see, with a 50 to 80 kW DC fast charger, the EQC400 can recharge from 10 per cent up to 80 per cent in approximately 40 minutes. On the other hand, with an AC charger, you’d have to wait eight to 10 hours (perhaps even more) for a full charge. You’ll find out why this is important to note in a bit.

The EQC400 enables an electric range of 373 to 437km on one full charge. As the distance from where I began my journey to Johor Bahru is roughly around 314km, I would have enough power to make it to my destination. However, given that it was during the Raya festivities, there was more traffic on the road than usual. Therefore, I had to make a stop at the Ayer Keroh Jejantas R&R to recharge. There, a 50kW DC fast charger allowed me to quickly replenish lost power within just 30 minutes before hitting the road again. 



#4 Range anxiety is real

I ran into slight trouble when the time came for me to drive back to Kuala Lumpur. After checking PlugShare—a digital EV charging station map—I made a quick stop at Johor Premium Outlets to do some shopping and left the vehicle at the charging port with 30 per cent power. As I mentioned earlier, at the time, I wasn’t aware of the different types of charging ports available. Two hours later, I was surprised to see that the amount of power had only increased by 15 per cent due to the AC charging port. With no choice but to look for another charging station along the way back, I continued on my journey with the anxiety of losing total power before arriving at the next fast charger. To make matters worse, the traffic to Kuala Lumpur was moving very slowly. I eventually found an available DC charging port at the Petronas Pedas-Linggi station, but at that point, I was drained from the thought of being stranded on the highway. Thankfully, the pit stop was just the break I needed to unwind and refresh before resuming my drive.



#5 Is electric mobility the future?

As Malaysia embraces the future of electric mobility, the EQC400 certainly paves the way for a sustainable automotive landscape. Nevertheless, while there is a vast network of public charging stations and even the option for home charging solutions, many challenges still need to be addressed, such as the limited bays at each charging location, the types of chargers available and the time-consuming prep involved in planning your schedule—whether for a short or long-distance drive.

All in all, with the country’s expanding network of charging infrastructure, there is most definitely a future for the electric revolution in Malaysia, and the EQC400 represents a significant step forward in sustainable transportation.


Find out more about the EQC400 here.

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