New Mercedes Vision EQXX prototype unveiled promising longest range of any EV
Mercedes' latest electric-car prototype will get from "Berlin to Paris" on a charge, thanks to a range of over 620 miles; its technology could appear in future models
This is the Mercedes Vision EQXX: a one-off electric-car concept promising a real-world range of over 620 miles. It paves the way for an ultra-efficient production electric saloon car from Mercedes that'll go on sale sometime in 2024.
The futuristic four-door went from a clean-sheet design to a fully functional car in just 18 months, according to Mercedes. It showcases a new approach to electric cars for the brand, in addition to innovative battery technology, new design and manufacturing processes plus 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. The EQXX can also return more than six miles per kWh efficiency, according to Mercedes.
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 electric car."
As previously mentioned, aerodynamics have also helped the EQXX achieve its range and efficiency figures. For example, the car’s shape is heavily tapered towards the rear like a teardrop, and it features 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 extra range.
Inside, the EQXX uses a variety of repurposed and plant-based materials, including recycled plastic bottles that make up 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 car’s 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.
For all its incredible figures and capabilities, the Mercedes Vision EQXX won’t go into production as-is; rather, lessons learned during its development and the technology it showcases will filter down to future Mercedes road cars, with the company moving towards a completely electric line-up by 2030.
Mercedes is currently launching one new electric model after another. In 2021, it unveiled the EQS flagship electric 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 in between the EQA and EQC in the brand’s zero-emissions range.
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