Mercedes Vision EQXX concept car breaks own record with 747-mile drive
Mercedes' ultra-efficient prototype EV has completed a second long-distance road trip, from Stuttgart in Germany to Silverstone in the UK, without charging
The Mercedes Vision EQXX electric prototype has completed a second long-distance European road trip, breaking its own record for ground covered on a single charge in the process. The car was driven from Stuttgart in Germany to the Silverstone circuit in the UK without topping up – a distance of 747 miles in total.
That compares to the 626 miles it covered between Sindelfingen in Germany and Cassis in France earlier in 2022 to set the initial benchmark. It also works out at 7.5 miles covered per kilowatt-hour of electricity used – up from the 7.1 miles recorded on the Germany-France trip. For reference, we recently saw a Tesla Model 3 return 4.4 miles per kWh efficiency.
Commenting on the car's latest achievement, Mercedes chief technology officer Markus Schaefer said: “Yet again, the Vision EQXX has proven that it can easily cover more than 1,000 kilometres on a single battery charge, this time faced with a whole different set of real-world conditions.”
We're set to see the first application of the Vision EQXX’s technology in a production car in 2024, when the company unveils new models based on its forthcoming MMA platform. Schaefer has said that the battery, electric motor and other elements from the EQXX will be carried over to series production cars in the future.
The futuristic four-door went from a clean-sheet design to a fully functional car in just 18 months, according to Mercedes, and was unveiled in January 2022. It showcases a new approach to electric cars for the brand, incorporating innovative battery technology with new design and manufacturing processes, plus the widespread use of sustainable materials.
The EQXX is powered by a newly designed battery, developed in conjunction with the Mercedes-AMG F1 team, with a capacity of just under 100kWh. Compared to the 107.8kWh unit in the Mercedes EQS electric limousine, the EQXX’s battery takes up 50% less volume and is 30% lighter, weighing in at around 495kg. That suggests it could be used in a compact car the size of Mercedes' A-Class or B-Class hatchbacks.
The EQXX also uses more-than-900v electrical architecture and weighs approximately 1,750kg, compared to the 2.4-2.6-tonnes weight of the EQS. Unlike that car, the EQXX produces a relatively modest 201bhp from a single electric motor that powers the rear wheels only. No performance figures have been announced as of yet, though that’s not surprising given the focus on efficiency and range for this car.
To boost cruising range, the EQXX uses a new electric drive system – also developed in conjunction with the Mercedes F1 team – that boasts 95% efficiency. That means up to 95% of the energy from the battery makes it to the wheels, compared to an equivalent figure of only around 30% for a combustion-engined car.
Joerg Bartels, Mercedes' vice-president for vehicle engineering, said of the EQXX: "Electric range sounds easy but is a complex technical challenge. The easiest way is to put a bigger battery in the car. However, this leads to diminishing returns due to size and weight. This is definitely not the smartest route and it’s also not the best use of scarce resources. With the EQXX, we're presenting the results of an extraordinary challenge: we pushed efficiency to a totally new level. And we explored new ways to increase the range of an EV."
As previously mentioned, aerodynamics have also helped the EQXX achieve its range and efficiency figures. The car’s shape is heavily tapered towards the rear like a teardrop, with an elongated tail and extendable diffuser to reduce air resistance. Meanwhile, an 'air curtain' in the front bumper reduces turbulence as air passes over the front wheels. The result of all this is a very low drag coefficient number of just 0.17Cd. The EQXX also features lightweight aluminium brake discs and 20-inch magnesium alloy wheels wrapped in ultra-low-resistance tyres, as well as slim roof-mounted solar panels that can add up to 15 miles of range.
Inside, the EQXX uses a variety of repurposed and plant-based materials, including recycled plastic bottles for the door and floor trim, as well as cactus-based upholstery and carpets made from bamboo fibres. The infotainment setup comprises a single, seamless, 47.5-inch 8K display that spans the entire width of the dashboard. It features an avatar personal assistant that functions as a ‘road-trip sidekick’ and real-time 3D navigation that uses satellite data. The system can also make suggestions on how to drive more efficiently.
Mercedes is launching one new electric model after another at the moment. In 2021, it unveiled the EQS limousine, along with a high-performance AMG variant making up to 751bhp, plus an electric G-Class concept, the EQE saloon and the EQB seven-seat SUV, which sits between the EQA and EQC in the brand’s range. In 2022, it’s launching the EQS and EQE SUVs, as well as an AMG version of the EQE saloon.
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