Mercedes-Benz, like many other leading automakers today, pursues the idea of zero impact and the responsible use of green energy. While electric cars have already become commonplace in our society, the German company is not standing still: it is working intensively to take range and efficiency to a whole new level.At the beginning of 2022, the result of this intensive work became the VISION EQXX EV. The German brand's new vehicle demonstrates the benefits that are possible by rethinking the basics from the ground up. This includes advances in all elements of the electric drivetrain,for example, the use of lightweight designs and eco-friendly materials, and a range of innovative and intelligent efficiency measures, including advanced software.
VISION EQXX has been created for traveling
The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX is not just an electric car with new technologies. It is part of an ambitious program, and its prototype was designed by people with creativity, ingenuity, and determination to create one of the most efficient cars on the planet. And they created it.
"The best minds in our R&D centers worked on the VISION EQXX along with engineers from our Formula 1 and Formula E programs. They are proving that innovations from motorsport - where powertrains are already largely electrified - are directly relevant to the development of usual everyday cars," says Markus Schäfer, Daimler AG, and Mercedes-Benz AG board member and director of technology, responsible for development and procurement.
Instead of simply increasing battery size, the Mercedes team focused on maximizing efficiency by doing everything possible in the areas of drivetrain efficiency, energy density, aerodynamics, and lightweight design.
In addition to pioneering energy efficiency, the VISION EQXX presents other valuable strengths that are important for long journeys:
- eco-friendly materials throughout the surface significantly reduce the carbon footprint;
- UI/UX includes a new one-piece display that comes to life with real-time responsive graphics and spans the entire width of the car;
- other UI/UX elements help the car and driver work as one and even use technology that works as the human brain.
Efficiency is the new currency
Despite the growth in the popularity of EVs, for many people, the most familiar expression of vehicle efficiency is fuel consumption or fuel-efficiency. This figure is expressed differently depending on where we are (e.g., liters per 100 km, miles per gallon, or kilometers per liter). That is the ratio of units of fuel (energy) to units of distance. For electric mobility, efficiency is calculated according to the same principle.
So, let's estimate the efficiency of the new Mercedes electric car as a percentage. It's 95%. This means that up to 95% of the energy from the battery goes to the wheels - pure and simple. Compare that with 30% of even the most efficient combustion engine transmission or about 50% of the average (human) long-distance run.
Effective rims and tires
While creating the rims and tires for the VISION EQXX, Mercedes-Benz engineers worked in collaboration with the famous company Bridgestone. Together they took advantage of Bridgestone's Turanza Eco tire, combined with lightweight and environmentally friendly ENLITEN and Ologic technologies for ultra-low rolling resistance.
More sun energy
The electrical system that powers many items on the VISION EQXX can draw additional energy from the 117 solar panels on the roof. Under ideal conditions, this can increase the range by 25 km during long journeys.
How does it work? It's simple enough: solar energy is stored in a lightweight lithium-iron-phosphate battery that powers the climate control, lighting, infotainment system, and other auxiliary devices. Mercedes-Benz and its partners are also working on how to use solar energy to charge the high-voltage system.
"Using solar energy to charge the battery of an electric car is not only a way to save money, but also the right step toward saving the environment. It's no secret that many countries burn the coal to produce energy, and we all know that it has a negative impact on our planet. It turns out that even electric cars, which leave no exhaust fumes, still participate in the destruction of the environment, being charged with electricity, which is produced by thermal power plants. So the transition to alternative energy sources such as solar, wind or water power should be a priority in the near future," comments Andrey Zaruev, ESG corporate standards expert.
Car design is another expression of its efficiency
Aerodynamic drag can greatly affect range. On a typical long-distance trip, a typical electric car spends nearly two-thirds of its battery capacity to make its way through the air ahead. But the VISON EQXX has a staggering aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.17.
Although aerodynamics and design often have opposing interests, Mercedes has managed to create impressive proportions that combine beauty and efficiency. The resulting streamlined bodywork provides revolutionary aerodynamics.
The VISION EQXX also has a number of less obvious, but no less important aerodynamic details, such as:
- small frontal area — it's smaller than that of a modern CLA or even smart cars;
- air curtain/air breather on the front bumper — this clever arrangement, paired with wheel covers, removes almost all of the aerodynamic separation from the front wheels.
In the interior, Mercedes avoids the traditional approach to design, focusing on the interior layout only on a few modules and simplicity of design. This is reflected in the absence of complex shapes and the integration of lightweight designs into the interior aesthetic in a completely organic way.
A large number of innovative materials from start-ups around the world were used to create the VISION EQXX interior:
- The door pulls are made from AMsilk's Biosteel® fiber. This high-strength, biotech-based and certified vegan silk-like fabric was developed by the inventor of Biosteel (identical to nature) fiber.
- An artificial leather called Deserttex® is a sustainable cactus-based biomaterial made from crushed cactus fibers combined with a sustainable bio-based polyurethane matrix.
- The carpets on the floor at VISION EQXX are made from 100% bamboo fiber. In addition to being a fast-growing and renewable raw material, it has an extremely luxurious appearance and is also pleasant to the touch.
"The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX is how we envision the future of electric vehicles. Just a year and a half ago we started this project, which resulted in the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built - with an outstanding energy consumption of less than 10 kW⋅h per 100 kilometers. It has a range of more than 1,000 kilometers on a single charge with a battery that fits even in a compact car. The VISION EQXX is an advanced vehicle in many respects, and it even looks stunning and futuristic. It underscores where our entire company is heading: We will build the most desirable electric cars in the world," comments Ola Kallenius, Chairman of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.