Upon first glance, the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX concept doesn’t scream Mercedes-Benz. Its proportions are almost Porsche-like for starters, and the conspicuous absence of a three-pointed-star wearing grille doesn’t help make it more recognizable.
However, only Merc’s R&D department has the technological and financial heft to create something like this. Having harnessed the know-how from its Formula 1 and Formula-E team engineers, the Vision EQXX concept is, theoretically, the world’s most efficient luxury EV. You can drive the car from Berlin to Paris on a single charge. As for the 2D brand logo and the grille-free front fascia? Merc says you’re looking at the face of its future EV design language.
So, how did Merc go about achieving this? By altering battery chemistry. Merc decided that simply putting a larger battery isn’t the solution. More often than not, it is counterproductive.
A larger battery increases the weight, which, in turn, diminishes performance and consumes most of the added power to overcome handicaps brought about by added weight. Merc has worked to make the battery more energy-efficient to solve this riddle. The battery, which is no more than 100 kWh (standard size for a luxury or performance EV), is nearly three times more efficient than Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains director Adam Allsop, 30 percent lighter and 50 percent smaller than the one found in the EQS.
The brand enhanced the car’s efficiency by reducing its weight and giving it a drag coefficient of Cd 0.175, making it the current title holder of the slipperiest Merc ever. The range is also extended by 117 solar cells installed on the car’s roof.
However, according to Merc, the solar cells can only add about 25 km to the overall range, on a single day, under ideal weather conditions. Merc hasn’t shared any details on how they optimized battery chemistry; suffice it to say that it uses higher silicon content and packs more energy per anode.
The electric-only chassis is also made of lightweight material, courtesy of Merc’s F1 team. While powertrain technology transfer from Merc’s F1 cars remains a tricky proposition, given that it’s still a petrol-powered hybrid motor, the brand is finding good use for the lightweight material used in their Constructors’ title-winning F1 cars. However, the key to the car’s claimed efficiency figures is still battery efficiency. According to Merc, 95 percent of the battery’s energy makes its way to the wheels.
Inside there are plenty of energy-consuming techs, not least of which is a 47.5-inch touchscreen interface with 8k resolution that spans across the dashboard’s width. After all, this is a Merc, and cutting-edge tech is the first order of business, both inside and outside.
The screen also gets a 3D navigation display and an advanced voice assistant system that, er, learns your behavior over time. Not ominous at all. The navigation system will allow for a “seamless zoom function” from satellite view to 10 meters above surface level.
Although the car is purely a concept at the moment, Mercedes, which managed to design the prototype in a shocking 18-month time period, says that the tech used here will form the basis for all their upcoming EV tech.
This makes total sense, given that the future of car brands will be determined, in part, by how successfully they can leverage their battery technology. However, Merc says its efficiency figures are grounded in reality and are based on real-life traffic simulations. Like most legacy brands, Merc is going all-in when investing in electric technology.
To come out on top, not only will it have to channel massive investments into its EV program ($47 billion will go towards Merc’s electrification plans by 2030), it’ll have to utilize connected tech, aerodynamic design, and battery density in a concerted and strategic effort to make the best EVs possible.