Mercedes highlights ‘future of electric cars’ with Vision EQXX concept

Industry

Mercedes-Benz has revealed a 620-mile-plus EV concept that the luxury automaker claims is its “most efficient and aerodynamic vehicle.”

The Vision EQXX, which Mercedes said can drive from New York to Cincinnati on a single charge and is as aerodynamic as a football, showcases long-distance efficiency through advancements in energy density, aerodynamics and lightweight design.

“The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX is how we imagine the future of electric cars,” Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius said in a statement.

The concept was revealed Monday at an online event and was to be the centerpiece of the brand’s stand at CES in Las Vegas. Mercedes pulled out of the show last week, citing the global spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The Vision EQXX is an experiment in energy efficiency — demonstrating efficiency improvements in the electric motor, inverter, battery design, packaging and thermal management.

The coupe-styled Vision EQXX, which was developed over 18 months, packs the energy of the full-size Mercedes EQS sedan.

The battery pack holds nearly 100 kilowatt-hours of energy, yet has half the volume and is 30 percent lighter than the EQS, Mercedes said.

To achieve increased efficiency without increasing the battery’s footprint, engineers increased the silicon content in the battery anodes. The battery pack was also redesigned to fit more cells while reducing overall weight.

The Vision EQXX features a thermal-management system that helps limit energy loss. A combination of aero shutters, coolant valves and water pumps ensures the electric drivetrain maintains an ideal temperature.

A cooling plate installed in the vehicle floor takes advantage of the air flowing along the underside and helps the Vision EQXX squeeze an additional 12 miles of range.

Efficiency improvements are not limited to the drivetrain. “Ultra-thin” solar roof panels help deliver up to 16 miles of additional range.

Like most concepts, the Vision EQXX interior is a study in advanced software and sustainable materials.

The cockpit is anchored by a sweeping 47.5-inch high-resolution display that spans the vehicle’s A-pillars.

To reduce energy consumption — important in an electric vehicle — engineers tweaked the speaker layout, positioning them close to the occupants and reducing the distance the sound travels. Two speakers in each headrest, paired with a bass exciter in the seats, not only transmit sound from the music system but haptic feedback and auditory warnings, too.

The car also is a showcase in sustainability. The EQXX floor carpets are made from bamboo fiber, while the door pulls use a high-strength, vegan silk-like fabric.

The Vision EQXX, which stretches the imagination with a mix of fantastical technologies, serves as a template for future Mercedes models.

Daimler plans to invest more than $46 billion between 2022 and 2030 to develop EVs and become an all-electric brand in markets ready for the switch.

Mercedes will launch its first battery-electric model in the U.S. next month, the EQS sedan. It will be followed by two electric utilities and a midsize sedan next year. Mercedes also expects to bring its second-generation EQC crossover and an electric C-Class sedan stateside by mid-decade.

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