It is Hari Raya Aidilfitri again, and this time around I was provided with a Mercedes-Benz EQS 500 4MATIC to balik kampung with. Admittedly, it was a rather interesting situation to be in. Firstly, this was the first Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle (EV) that is locally assembled (CKD). Secondly, I could experience what it is like to ‘own’ an EV and do a little road trip with it.
You’ve read the title right, and yes, I didn’t need to use a DC fast charger at all for my entire ‘EV Hari Raya’ trip which was a 1,142-km trip in the span of 4 days (Day 1 kind of doesn’t count and you’ll find out why soon). How did I manage to do it? Well, let me take you through my one-week ‘ownership’ experience with the EQS 500 4MATIC.
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Before we go on, I should give you some context. I do live super close to my office (less than a 2-minute drive) which has a wall box, so it is pretty much like having a wallbox of my own whenever we have an EV for a review. Lucky me. And as for the car, the EQS 500 4MATIC has an electric range of up to 696 km on the WLTP test cycle thanks to a 108-kWh battery pack.
Day 1 – Only 12 km driven
So, I collected the car on Thursday (April 20) from Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, and lucky for me, I was the first person to drive the car. It only had 20 km on the odometer and was essentially factory fresh. It still had the plastics on the dashboard unpeeled, so I also had the chance to ‘unbox’ the car which comes with some interesting ‘free gifts’. You can check out that unboxing video here.
While I may have been lucky in that sense, I wasn’t lucky enough to get to go road-tripping immediately as there was still a lot of work that needed to be done before the holidays. I only drove for about 12 km on the first day. However, at the end of the day, I still plugged the car in with our wallbox at the office anyway so I could have 100% state of charge (SOC) for the next day.
RELATED: Mercedes-Benz EQS 500 4MATIC launched in Malaysia – Locally-assembled EV, RM649k
Day 2 – Genting Highlands and the Selangor River Dam
With the day being announced as a public holiday (Thank you, PMX), I decided to head up Genting Highlands from Petaling Jaya first thing in the morning. It would be a shame to not make full use of the dual-motor setup (449 hp, 828 Nm) of the EQS 500 4MATIC so I drove it like I stole it. After getting back to Petaling Jaya, I still had over 400 km of range to play with. I spontaneously decided to head to the Selangor River Dam after Friday prayers just for the heck of it. And to sum the day up, I did not experience any range anxiety whatsoever at all.
At the end of the day, I just plugged the car in with the office wallbox again so that it would be at 100% SOC (again) for the next day. The car now had 378 km on the odometer after the shenanigans.
You may have already noticed by now, that having a wallbox at home partly reduces the need for a DC fast charger. Am I ‘cheating’ with this ‘ownership’ experience since I have ‘my own’ wallbox at home? Well, yes and no. Heck no for those of you living on landed property, but yes if you are living in a residency that does not allow you to install a wallbox.
RELATED: Petronas opens first EV charging hub in Malaysia – up to 180kW DC fast charging
Day 3 (Hari Raya) – Balik Kampung to Bera, Pahang
After celebrating Hari Raya in Petaling Jaya, I headed to Bera to continue celebrating. The journey started with 378 km on the odometer and 100% SOC. The journey ended with 546 km on the odometer and 69% SOC. It was only a 168-km journey which took 3 hours due to the traffic conditions.
Edit: Like the day before, I drove like a madman and accelerated the hell out of the car at every chance I had on the highway. Thus losing 31% of charge on the 168-km journey
Now, there are no public chargers in Bera, so how did I charge? Well, you might call this cheating again, but I actually have ‘another’ wallbox at my kampung. How convenient, right?
RELATED: Gallery – Mercedes-Benz EQS 500 4MATIC, RM649k – Proudly assembled in Malaysia
Well not literally another wallbox, but with the help of a family member, we have managed to set up our office wallbox (provided by ChargeSingh*) to be a ‘portable charger’. How so? By wiring it to a CEE plug. At both my office (or ‘home’) and kampung, we have done the necessary wiring from the distribution board to a CEE socket at the porch, complete with an isolator of its own.
*By the way, if you’re buying a charger from ChargeSingh, remember to use our Promo Code – AB5OFF
So, all I had to do was disconnect the wallbox from the office, bring it to the kampung, and plug it into the CEE socket there. Simple as that. The only difference? The office has a 3-phase power supply while the kampung house only has a single-phase power supply.
So, I could charge at a rate of 11 kW at the office but only 7 kW at the kampung. It is slower with a 7-kW rate and would take almost 16 hours (or more) to charge the massive 108-kWh battery of the EQS from 0 to 100%. But it was good enough, and the CEE connector was even shared with another EV during this trip – the family’s Hyundai Kona Electric.
Anyway, I was able to ensure that I would have 100% SOC again for the next day – No DC fast charger needed.
RELATED: TNB Electron charging station rates announced, from RM2.05 per minute for 80kW
Day 4 – To Kuantan and back
On the second Hari Raya, I headed to Kuantan from Bera and back with the family spontaneously, also just for the heck of it. It was nice visiting Teluk Cempedak and we noticed some EV charging bays being set up over there as well. Since we were in Kuantan, we checked out some EV chargers by ChargeSini and EVGuru at the Mega View Hotel.
We then headed back to Bera and stopped at the Gambang R&R to check out the fast charger by Gentari, which was made free from April 21 to 24. Yes, I did charge the car at the Gambang R&R just because I had to use the restroom and buy some refreshments, and since charging was free and the bay was unoccupied, why not? I didn’t actually need to. I could have made it to Bera with the remaining 57% SOC anyway. I charged for 22 minutes and 48 seconds and obtained 18.475 kWh of electricity. The SOC went from 57% to 75%.
An interesting observation here was that petrol-powered cars were lining up to refuel at the Gambang R&R while the Gentari DC charger was unoccupied. Did I feel privileged? Yes, I did. I was driving a luxury EV, I didn’t have to line up, and just to rub it in, the charging was… free of charge. It is no surprise that the ICE camp isn’t too fond of EVs.
Anyway, I returned to Bera at the end of the day, and like usual, I plugged the car in to make sure I had 100% SOC again for the next day.
Day 5 – Journey back to KL…. but with a detour
It was my last day in Bera, and all that was left to do was to head to Klang Valley. The EQS 500 4MATIC showed about 620km of range on the meter cluster when fully charged. It was only going to be a 168-km journey again, so no sweat with the EQS. In fact, I could actually reach home even with only 40% SOC (or a bit less) left from Bera.
Halfway back though, since the traffic wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I took a totally unnecessary detour to Fraser’s Hill from Bentong. And boy am I glad that I charged to full regardless the night before. By the time I reached home, I had 42% SOC and 286 km of range left. Still enough for a few more activities, but at this point, it was my body that needed to recharge, not the car. Again, with ‘my own’ wallbox, I just needed to plug the car in, get some rest myself, and the car would be fully charged again the next day…
…That’s all just boring now, isn’t it? Nothing sensational here. It would have been so much more interesting if I ran out of charge and had to call a tow truck. But that’s just not the reality of EV ownership, especially if you have your own wallbox (or boxes) which give(s) you the convenience of destination charging. Of course, I should acknowledge that the EQS has a large 108-kWh battery and a long 696-km (WLTP) electric range, and that helped me a lot. Obviously, you couldn’t do the same trip that I did with a Mazda MX-30 or a MINI Cooper SE. I also hope that future affordable EVs will also be able to provide ranges close to that of the EQS (above 600 km).
I am a believer that cars should give you the freedom to travel spontaneously. If it requires too much discipline just to keep it running, what is the point of paying all that money? Before I had access to a home/office wallbox, I really did find EVs to be limiting in terms of freedom. I always found myself waiting at DC chargers (when we had EVs for reviews) and didn’t enjoy spending my time that way. Now, my perception has changed slightly.
RELATED: Say hello to Mercedes-AMG’s first fully-electric model – the 761 hp EQS 53
With a decent amount of EV range and a wallbox/portable charger, that typical freedom that a petrol car would provide is still available in the right EV. It is not like you’ll be able to drive yourself for 24 hours straight anyway (FYI, you need sleep). If you’re a spontaneous driver like myself, just plug the car in whenever you get the chance. This way, even AC charging alone is sufficient to keep you going and it isn’t necessary to always charge to 100% SOC. Some charge is always better than no charge.
Since our EV infrastructure isn’t fully mature yet, setting up your own wallbox wherever you can (if you have the resources) is a great way to improve your EV ownership experience. Charging at home will, at maximum, cost RM0.571 per kWh for now (RM61.68 to charge the EQS from 0 to 100%). It costs much less than charging at a DC fast charger which can cost up to RM1.70 per kWh (RM183.60 to charge the EQS from 0 to 100%)
“I am a believer that cars should give you the freedom to travel spontaneously”
Very true 👍
1. How expensive is the battery after the original dies off?
2. Looks like the charging ambit must be reexamined in terms of cost. Each full charging must be cost-effective compared to petrol or diesel cost for say every 100Km journey.
Very rich this guy use Mercedes but staying at kampung !!!! Sorry not every one can afford to buy Mercedes!!!!
It is just an example u stupid skeptics.
In drive EV more then 2 years. 1 week at list i spend
3.5 hrs AT charging station. Total 14 hrs a month I spend time in charging stations.
In 1 years 168hrs I spending on my time for charging.
🤔 almost 7days not driving a car a year just to spend time for charging… should have own wallbox so can charge at home while sleeping.
Heyy I saw your car at fraser’s a few days back! Took a few pics of it.