Automotive

Solar-roofed Mercedes Vision EQXX hypermiles toward Tesla overthrow

Solar-roofed Mercedes Vision E...
Mercedes-Benz debuted the Vision EQXX during a digital premiere event on Monday, January 3
Mercedes-Benz debuted the Vision EQXX during a digital premiere event on Monday, January 3
View 27 Images
The Vision EQXX is designed to set new standards in terms of energy efficiency and range in real-life traffic
1/27
The Vision EQXX is designed to set new standards in terms of energy efficiency and range in real-life traffic
Mercedes-Benz debuted the Vision EQXX during a digital premiere event on Monday, January 3
2/27
Mercedes-Benz debuted the Vision EQXX during a digital premiere event on Monday, January 3
Mercedes compacts down the Vision EQXX's frontal area and adds in active aerodynamics for better overall efficiency
3/27
Mercedes compacts down the Vision EQXX's frontal area and adds in active aerodynamics
The face employs headlights with two star-shaped elements and a grille of three-pointed stars
4/27
The face employs headlights with two star-shaped elements and a grille of three-pointed stars
With a comprehensive strategy of weight savings, aerodynamics, energy density increases and other efficiency-boosting technologies, Mercedes-Benz presents a concept car with a 620-mile simulated range
5/27
With a comprehensive strategy of weight savings, aerodynamics, energy density increases and other efficiency-boosting technologies, Mercedes-Benz presents a concept car with a 620-mile simulated range
The Vision EQXX lays the foundation for Mercedes' next generation of EV automotive, infotainment and development technologies
6/27
The Vision EQXX lays the foundation for Mercedes' next generation of EV automotive, infotainment and development technologies
With a drag coefficient of 0.17, the Vision EQXX is more aerodynamic than virtually any vehicle out there
7/27
With a drag coefficient of 0.17, the Vision EQXX is more aerodynamic than virtually any vehicle out there
The Vision EQXX interior is dominated by Mercedes-Benz's first-ever completely seamless display, which spans nearly 4 feet, A-pillar to A-pillar
8/27
The Vision EQXX interior is dominated by Mercedes-Benz's first-ever completely seamless display, which spans nearly 4 feet, A-pillar to A-pillar
The massive 8K display zooms all the way from satellite view down to a height of 33 feet in 3D city representation
9/27
The massive 8K display zooms all the way from satellite view down to a height of 33 feet in 3D city representation
To save energy, the display shows only the specific items the driver wants to see, dimming other zones
10/27
To save energy, the display shows only the specific items the driver wants to see, dimming other zones
Mercedes integrates speakers directly into the headrests, offering full sound without the sound degradation or power inefficiencies of a more decentralized speaker array
11/27
Mercedes integrates speakers directly into the headrests, offering full sound without the sound degradation or power inefficiencies of a more decentralized speaker array
The door pulls are made from Biosteel fiber, a high-strength, bio-based vegan silk-like fabric
12/27
The door pulls are made from Biosteel fiber, a high-strength, bio-based vegan silk-like fabric
The Vision EQXX seat cushion details are made of a vegan alternative
13/27
The Vision EQXX seat cushion details are made of a vegan alternative
The BIONEQXX rear floor is currently the largest structural casting at Mercedes-Benz
14/27
The BIONEQXX rear floor is currently the largest structural casting at Mercedes-Benz
BIONICAST is Mercedes-Benz's structural castings engineered according to the principles of nature, including this windshield wiper bracket
15/27
BIONICAST is Mercedes-Benz's structural castings engineered according to the principles of nature, including this windshield wiper bracket
Mercedes uses both passive and active elements to cut drag
16/27
Mercedes uses both passive and active elements to cut drag
Active shutters let cooling air in through the bumper and out through the hood
17/27
Active shutters let cooling air in through the bumper and out through the hood
The Vision EQXX is powered by a highly efficient 201-hp electric drive
18/27
The Vision EQXX is powered by a highly efficient 201-hp electric drive
The Vision EQXX battery has nearly the capacity of the production EQS battery but at half the size
19/27
The Vision EQXX battery has nearly the capacity of the production EQS battery but at half the size
The Vision EQXX retractable rear diffuser extends at high speeds then disappears away in the bodywork
20/27
The Vision EQXX retractable rear diffuser extends at high speeds then disappears away in the bodywork
The Vision EQXX's thin roof-integrated solar panels add to its efficient, long-range capabilities
21/27
The Vision EQXX's thin roof-integrated solar panels add to its efficient, long-range capabilities
At the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX
22/27
At the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX
The EQXX has four doors and four seats
23/27
The EQXX has four doors and four seats
The Vision EQXX battery pack has nearly 100 kWh of energy but 50 percent less volume and 30 percent less weight than the EQS pack
24/27
The Vision EQXX battery pack has nearly 100 kWh of energy but 50 percent less volume and 30 percent less weight than the EQS pack
Mercedes-Benz in house-developed electric drive achieves benchmark efficiency of 95 percent from battery to wheels
25/27
Mercedes-Benz in house-developed electric drive achieves benchmark efficiency of 95 percent from battery to wheels
New glass fiber-reinforced plastic springs developed in partnership with Rheinmetall Automotive cut weight compared with conventional coil springs.
26/27
New glass fiber-reinforced plastic springs developed in partnership with Rheinmetall Automotive cut weight compared with conventional coil springs.
Im Innenraum des VISION EQXX kommt UBQ-Material zum Einsatz, ein nachhaltiger Kunststoffersatz, der aus Haushaltsabfällen hergestellt wird. // The interior oft he VISION EQXX features UBQ material, a sustainable plastic substitute made from household and municipal landfill waste.
27/27
Im Innenraum des VISION EQXX kommt UBQ-Material zum Einsatz, ein nachhaltiger Kunststoffersatz, der aus Haushaltsabfällen hergestellt wird. // The interior oft he VISION EQXX features UBQ material, a sustainable plastic substitute made from household and municipal landfill waste.
View gallery - 27 images

In a bid to deliver the most desirable electric vehicles the world over, Mercedes-Benz has pulled out all stops in its mission to increase range and efficiency. The Vision EQXX is the latest fruits of its labors, a sleek, four-door technological tour de force with 1,000-km range. Mercedes slashes weight, slices drag, and adds efficiency-boosting technologies at every corner and crevice.

An exploratory concept car isn't going to be the "Tesla killer" that's eluded Big Auto for years. But Mercedes already offers one of the most impressive Tesla alternatives in the EQS, a flagship e-sedan that's more luxurious than a Model S and, according to Edmunds testing, at least, is also a real-world range leader, boasting a 422-mile (679-km) test result. The Vision EQXX project is a natural progression, building on the EQS' successes to create a truly road-trip-worthy next-gen electric sedan dripping in technology.

The Vision EQXX battery has nearly the capacity of the production EQS battery but at half the size
The Vision EQXX battery has nearly the capacity of the production EQS battery but at half the size

"The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX is how we imagine the future of electric cars," Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said in introducing the forward-looking concept on Monday. "Just one and a half years ago, we started this project leading to the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built, with an outstanding energy consumption of less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometers. It has a range of more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) on a single charge using a battery that would fit even into a compact vehicle."

Mercedes put serious global intellectual capital to work on the Vision EQXX, relying on internal engineering and software development teams from all over the world, Formula 1 and Formula E programs, and external partners. The ambitious work started at the heart of the electric vehicle, where battery chemists informed by Formula 1 tech managed to pack nearly 100 kilowatt-hours of capacity into a pack with 50 percent less volume and 30 percent less weight than the 108-kWh pack that powers the EQS.

The battery design uses energy-dense high-silicon-content anodes and optimized cell packaging and components to cut fat. The weight-saving formula even includes components made from a carbon-fiber-reinforced sugar-cane-based composite. The battery accounts for roughly 1,091 lb (495 kg) of the Vision EQXX's 3,858-lb (1,750-kg) gross vehicle weight.

The Vision EQXX battery pack has nearly 100 kWh of energy but 50 percent less volume and 30 percent less weight than the EQS pack
The Vision EQXX battery pack has nearly 100 kWh of energy but 50 percent less volume and 30 percent less weight than the EQS pack

The Vision EQXX battery ultimately gets housed within a newly developed 201-hp 900-V electric drive said to deliver power to the wheels with 95 percent efficiency. Mercedes treads those 20-in covered forged-magnesium wheels with Bridgestone ultra-low-rolling-resistance tires to help ensure the power transfer to the road also happens as efficiently as possible.

The Vision EQXX body is just as impressive as the powertrain, combining weight-saving construction, a benchmark-busting 0.17 drag coefficient that's lower than past efficiency leaders like the Volkswagen XL1 and GM EV1, and a look that's clean and futuristic without pushing into outlandish or overdone. In addition to a compacted frontal area, offset front and rear tracks, and smooth "Sensual Purity" curves, the EQXX achieves its aerodynamic breakthroughs using active components, including a Concept IAA-derived retractable rear diffuser that extends at high speeds.

The front bumper cooling inlets and hood-mounted outlets are active, as well, closing to improve aerodynamic efficiency and opening when extra powertrain cooling is needed, such as in hot weather or during fast driving. Under normal conditions, the air flowing along the underbody suffices to chill the cooling plate that sits below the electric drive, keeping all components cool and operational.

Active shutters let cooling air in through the bumper and out through the hood
Active shutters let cooling air in through the bumper and out through the hood

The EQXX's smoothly arched roof serves as the home of 117 neatly integrated solar cells. Incorporated in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the solar cells add roughly 15 miles (25 km) of range over the course of a single day with ideal weather conditions. They don't charge the powertrain battery directly but instead route energy to a small auxiliary LiFePO4 battery responsible for running the climate control fan, infotainment system, lights and other secondary electrical equipment. Mercedes is also working on a solar charging system capable of feeding the primary high-voltage battery.

More weight-saving technology features below the Vision EQXX's shimmering "alubeam silver" skin, and Mercedes put a lot of engineering into one structural component in particular: the rear floor. Using the modeling tools of Hollywood and 3D gaming, it optimized the rear floor for supporting necessary loads without unnecessary material. The resulting one-piece aluminum casting has a web-like construction with deleted material eliminating unnecessary weight.

The BIONEQXX rear floor is currently the largest structural casting at Mercedes-Benz
The BIONEQXX rear floor is currently the largest structural casting at Mercedes-Benz

Since the rear floor also needs to keep dust and moisture out of the Vision EQXX interior, Mercedes partnered with Israeli startup UBQ Materials in sealing gaps with 3D-printed bio-plastic patches, which do the trick while cutting weight by between 15 and 20 percent versus a traditionally manufactured rear floor. The plastic in question is developed from landfill waste, removing 3 lb (1.4 kg) of waste for every 2 lb (0.9 kg) created, further enhancing the Vision EQXX's list of eco credits.

Bio-based, organically-inspired weight-cutting continues inside the carbon fiber/fiberglass doors, where Mercedes cuts out every last bit of animal-based material in favor of trendy eco-materials like mushroom leather, bamboo-fiber carpets, recycled-PET textile, vegan silk and cactus-fiber bio leather.

At the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX
At the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX

While intriguing on paper, the eco-friendly trims and upholstery take a visual back seat to the eye-grabbing centerpiece of the interior: the 8K infotainment display that stretches from pillar to pillar. At 47.5 inches, the new infotainment display is actually a little smaller than the 55-in Hyperscreen the EQS lugs around, and it features a simplified, decluttered layout that uses 3,000 mini-LED dimming zones to reduce energy consumption by lighting only areas necessary for displaying currently vital information. For instance, navigation software automatically zones out from high-detail 3D view to overview mapping when moving from city downtown to highway driving.

Beyond the navigation features, the infotainment system serves as an intelligent road trip assistant that offers tips on boosting real-time driving efficiency, tour-guide-style information, and even DJ-like music selection.

The Vision EQXX's 4D audio system reduces size and energy consumption through the use of headrest speakers and seat-integrated bass exciters. By placing the audio drivers closer to the passengers' ears, Mercedes is able to cut down the total number of speakers and the power needed to drive them. Beyond the usual multimedia audio, the sound system plays audio cues from the efficiency assistant and vehicular sounds and warnings.

The Vision EQXX's thin roof-integrated solar panels add to its efficient, long-range capabilities
The Vision EQXX's thin roof-integrated solar panels add to its efficient, long-range capabilities

Using a highly software-dependent approach, Mercedes developed the Vision EQXX over the course of 18 months. The car is clearly much more of a futuristic concept than a production preview, but it does take an initial step toward the type of highly advanced, efficient and luxurious breed of electric grand tourer that Mercedes believes will be among its stable of the "world"s most desirable electric cars." Mercedes plans to integrate many of the concept's features and technologies into production and future car architectures.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

View gallery - 27 images
12 comments
12 comments
verdico
They should send this car to Munro live, his head will explode.
Bob Stuart
There seems to be no interest in how much this can carry. It seems likely to average under 10% payload. Do Mercedes owners also throw away 90% of everything else they buy to show off?
guzmanchinky
I am so excited to be born in 1970 and watch vehicles transform from the completely mechanical to the completely digital. The only thing keeping Benz behind Tesla now is the charging infrastructure and the self driving capabilities...
michael_dowling
Nice car,but I don't have those kind of bucks. Will wait for the Model 2,due out this year.
SplineDoctor
Well, the exterior design is awesome (reminds me of the Intermeccanica Italia IMX '69). The interior... meh... Chinese style. Also, the full width screen is totally unnecessary... what the heck can the driver can see in front of the passenger?
The technology is innovative... or actually, it WILL be innovative, if they could start the production 2 years later... while Tesla and many Chinese EV manufacturers already producing hundred thousands of much more affordable yet high-tech cars for everyday use, rather than a niche luxury tech-toy.
paul314
When can they start deploying that battery pack technology in other vehicles? 30% increase in range for the same weight plus getting back volume seems like a pretty big deal.
Pablo
I doubt Elon Musk is too concerned about Mercedes "Overthrowing" Tesla. They're so far apart on reliability and cost of ownership, it isn't even a contest...
SteveMc
I think Tesla needs to take a close look at the junk cars they are producing in China if they really are able to ignore the other manufacturers ability to catch up. I’m a Model S owner since 6 years ago but will think twice about buying another if it’s going to be imported from a slave labour factory in China with misaligned doors and panels, crap paintwork, brittle windscreens and certainly not priced as ‘Made in China’. My next car may indeed be a Mercedes or a Rivian for that reason alone.
SplineDoctor
@SteveMc
Actually, Teslas manufactured in Chine are better quality than US models. Sorry.
Jinpa
Look at the roof slope, then tell me that you would want to be sentenced to having to sit in the back seat. Tesla isn't the only competitor with that same neck/spine-compressing problem, which is likely to occur when the car hits a significant pothole or other pavement drop. There is a metric for head clearance for each seat position, but you won't see that in ads for these pretty posers.
Load More