Concept Corner | Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX

This is Mercedes-Benz’ new all-electric concept vehicle, the Vision EQXX.

In an age in which vehicles are becoming a little more daring in their design, the EQXX, while a concept, looks like something we might actually see on the road. If it does make it there, it will bring with it a suite of state-of-the-art tech that, amongst other things, gives it some wickedly good range – a metric on the minds of manufacturers and consumers everywhere.

Mercedes has done its homework here, it seems, with the company claiming a range of more than 1000km on a single charge. 100kWh of energy is on tap from the battery pack and Mercedes says energy consumption is at a just 10kWh per 100km.

The battery is the star here – all that energy being is stored in a pack that has 50 per cent less volume, and is 30 per cent lighter, than that used in the Mercedes EQS full-size luxury EV. This is thanks to some clever engineering and chemistry, and some innovative thinking that has come via Mercedes’ involvement in Formula One. With a 900V electrical system, the potential for seriously fast charging times is there.

For that little bit of extra help with range, there are ultra-thin solar roof panels that feed the battery up to 25km of extra legs, while the 150kW output electric drive system, Mercedes says, achieves benchmark efficiency of 95 per cent from battery to wheels.

Finally, the efficiency of the electric drive unit means it generates only minimal waste heat. This means the thermal management system extremely small and lightweight. The system of aero-shutters, coolant valves and water pumps also includes a cooling plate installed in the vehicle floor, enabling it to take advantage of the air flowing along the underside of the Vision EQXX.

This is, Mercedes says, the most aerodynamically efficient way of keeping the electric drive unit cool, and aerodynamics is central to the vehicle’s design.

The car looks sleek and slippery, which is confirmed by a drag-coefficient of 0.17, and thanks to some more clever thinking regarding construction – which includes components inspired by natural forms and the use of 3D printed parts to reduce weight – the car comes in at 1750kg.

Ultra-low-rolling-resistance tyres and lightweight magnesium wheels are fitted to squeeze out those extra kms of range.

As you’d expect, the interior of the Vision EQXX is pretty stunning. It is fairly simple in layout but is dominated by a 47.5-inch, 8k resolution display that stretches from one A-pillar to the other.

That display is so good that a real-time 3D navigation system is available, complete with zoom and scroll functions from satellite view down to a height of 10 metres in a 3D city representation.

More detailed information is available too, with a series of screens able to deliver information by visuals and infographics. Information includes the real-time influence of current acceleration, gradient, wind and rolling resistance on energy consumption.

An upgraded “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant is on hand to help out the driver and as well as providing navigation, system can mine for data based on the car’s route, with an avatar available to function as an ‘intelligent tour guide’.

As is popular these days with new vehicles – and particularly concept vehicles – trim materials on the interior are of the sustainable variety.

Materials include Mylo, a vegan leather alternative; an animal-free leather alternative called Deserttex made from a sustainable cactus-based biomaterial; and bamboo fibre, amongst others. Recycled waste materials, such as the PET bottles, are also used.

All-in-all, the Vision EQXX is a really exciting concept – one that, at the very least, does seem to show that the future of EVs is one where they will easily match the range available from a internal combustion engine vehicle. As for the infrastructure to recharge them? Well, that might still be an issue, but it’s a hurdle that can definitely be conquered.

Source: Motor Trader e-Magazine (February 2022) 

1 March 2022

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