Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled its new VISION EQXX, claiming it to be the most efficient car Mercedes has ever built. With a range of more than 1,000 kilometers on a single charge, they drove out to lead the electric vehicle market.
The VISION EQXX went from paper to completed vehicle in just 18 months by a multidisciplinary team, including Stuttgart, Formula 1, Formula E and start-ups and partners from around the world. The designers focused on building a lightweight, sustainable and powerful electric vehicle that combines innovation, intelligence and luxury.
“The technology programme behind the VISION EQXX will define and enable future Mercedes-Benz models and features,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, chief technology officer responsible for development and procurement. “They are proving that innovations from motorsport – where powertrains are already highly electrified – have immediate relevance for road car development. We are challenging current development processes with innovative spirit and outside-the-box thinking. This truly is the way forward.”
Ultra-efficient battery power
The VISION EQXX will be capable of exceeding 1,000 kilometers on a single charge with an energy consumption of less than 10 kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers. That means there is an efficiency of more than six miles per kilowatt-hour.
To put that into perspective: A single charge would take you from Berlin to Paris, from New York to Cincinnati, Ohio. Based on the team’s research, they believe that a driver in the U.S. would only have to fully recharge the VISION EQXX twice per month.
Rather than increasing the size of the battery, Mercedes developed a completely new battery pack. It achieves an energy density close to 400 Wh/I, making it possible to fit the battery pack into the compact dimensions. The battery weighs around 495 kilograms (around 1091.29 pounds) and also has active cell balancing, meaning it draws energy evenly while the car is driving. That means up to 95% of the energy from the battery ends up at the wheels.
Recycled, vegan and plant-based materials throughout
Adding to the lightweight design of the VISION EQXX, the car also has sustainable materials and organic-inspired design detailing – absolutely no animal-derived products. Mercedes wants to replace petroleum and animal-based products used in their cars, keeping a luxurious design in balance with nature.
Throughout the VISION EQXX is animal-free leather alternatives such as Deserttex, a sustainable cactus-based biomaterial. It also has recycled PET bottles in a shimmering fabric to enhance the floor area and door trim. DINAMICA, a material made from 38% PET was used to create a wrap-around effect linking the screen with the door and headliner.
The lid is made from a sugar-cane waste material reinforced with carbon fiber. On the interior, the door pulls are made from a high-strength vegan silk fabric called AMSilk’s Biosteel fiber. The seat cushion details have vegan leather made from the roots of mushroom called mycelium, a certified bio-based renewable ingredient, while the carpets are made from 100% bamboo fiber. Additionally, the interior has sustainable plastic substitutes made from household and landfill waste.
Solar power roof enhances range
The VISION EQXX draws additional energy from the 117 solar cells built on its roof. The solar energy is stored in lightweight batteries, which supply a climate blower, the lights and other functions throughout the vehicle. The results are lower energy drain on the system and an increase in range. On a typical day, this can add 25 kilometers of range on long-distance drives.
Innovative engineering meets 3D printing
At the rear floor of the VISION EQXX is BIONEQXX, the largest aluminum structural casting at Mercedes. It was developed in-house using digital techniques resulting in optimum functionality within the compact space.
Openings in the BIONEQXX rear-floor were closed with patches produced on a 3D printer by external partner UBQ Materials, an Israel-based start-up. It is a sustainable plastic substitute made from waste that ends up in landfills, including mixed plastics, cardboard and baby nappies.
There are 42 UBQ patches throughout the vehicle, allowing for high stiffness and good surround sound qualities. The result of this innovative engineering marked a milestone to Mercedes’ lightweight design. The approach reduces 15% to 20% of the weight.
Intelligent user interface and experience
To top it all off, the VISION EQXX features a stunning, completely seamless 47.5-inch display monitor that works in tune with the human mind. The design demonstrates graphics that enable digital worlds, such as music and navigation, to instantly respond to the driver’s needs. It has 8K resolution, a thin and lightweight mini-LED display to bring the world outside into the car. The software-led development is revolutionizing the way electric cars are designed.
“The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX is how we imagine the future of electric cars,” said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “[It] is an advanced car in so many dimensions – and it even looks stunning and futuristic. With that, it underlines where our entire company is headed: We will build the world’s most desirable electric cars.”
Images via Mercedes-Benz