Ahead of CES 2022, Mercedes-Benz unveiled an electric concept car that pushes the boundaries of efficiency and range.
The Vision EQXX claims a claimed range of over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles), about 100 miles longer than the current range champion, the 520-mile Lucid Air. Mercedes didn’t achieve this by simply using a bigger battery. In fact, at 100 kilowatt-hours of usable capacity, the concept car’s pack is close to that of the Air. Instead, Mercedes focused on making every part of the Vision EQXX – from the tires to the batteries – as efficient as possible.
Aerodynamics was of particular interest, because the less energy a car needs to punch a hole in the air, the further it can go. The EQXX’s flattened nose and elongated tail give it a coefficient of drag (cd) of 0.17, beating the EQS of Mercedes, which is currently the most aerodynamic production car in the world. Even the 20-inch wheels have been optimized for aerodynamics, while the Bridgestone Turanza Eco tires have been designed for ultra-low rolling resistance.
The body also helps with heat management. A shutter system can remove heat from the battery to keep it cool, or keep the heat inside to preserve the cooler temperature range. A heat pump draws the residual heat from the transmission to also heat the passenger compartment. The pack itself has roughly the same capacity as the Mercedes EQS pack, but it’s half the size and 30% lighter, the automaker claims. The pack is also completed with a small solar panel.
Mercedes also tapped its Formula 1 powertrain division to help it design a compact drive unit that combines the electric motor, transmission and power electronics. Mercedes said this unit can transfer 95% of battery power to the wheels, making it much more efficient than any internal combustion powertrain. However, at 201 horsepower, it’s not exactly bursting with power.
To reduce weight, Mercedes used software to design parts based on organic shapes, using materials only in load-bearing areas. The interior also features a number of materials, including vegan silk, a mushroom-based leather substitute and bamboo fiber, which is both durable and lightweight, according to Mercedes. Still, at 3,858 pounds, the Vision EQXX isn’t a Lotus. The battery is part of that weight, and since this is a Mercedes, you still get plenty of luxuries including a massive infotainment display.
The Vision EQXX is not intended for production; it was built to demonstrate Mercedes’ engineering intelligence. However, elements of it could be incorporated into future production cars. Mercedes hopes to go all-electric in at least some markets by 2030 and is already rolling out new electric vehicles. The recently launched EQS sedan will soon be followed by an EQS SUV, as well as an EQE model in both sedan and SUV body styles. Mercedes has also confirmed the smaller EQB SUV for the United States and sells the EQA and EQC in other markets.
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