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MERCS NEXT GEN

The carmaker seeks sheer efficiency

COMPILED BY Dyan Seneviratne

The next generation of electric Mercedes-Benz cars unshackles itself from heritage hangovers that have dictated the size, shape and construction of everything from current EQA to EQS electric models.

Take a deep breath… because Vision EQXX is a relatively light and simple compact car that’s been created with a sharp focus on efficiency. But isn’t that the DNA of Mercedes-Benz, anyway?

For the driver, this will manifest itself as an unprecedented long-range vehicle with potentially 600 plus miles (or a staggering 965 kilometres or so – since we are more attuned to the metric system) between charges and a fresh new cabin.

But hold on, there’s more!

Its innovations include a battery pack that’s light, small and efficient; Mercedes-Benz’s lowest ever coefficient of drag; a smart battery cooling system; solar panels (finally, these are going mainstream) along with chic earth friendly materials – and more!

Among the vehicles that helped inspire it is the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE hyper car, which provided the power electronics unit. Inevitably, the record-breaking Formula One cars, and Formula E and its awesome teams, were involved in this project.

Vision EQXX is not a concept car. Instead, it reveals possibilities of wondrously fresh technology and new wave styling, as well as awesome user experiences and creative processes associated with Mercedes-Benz cars of the near future.

And it only took a breathtaking 18 months to create Vision EQXX – yes, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

The effort was put in by Mercedes-Benz teams in Germany, India, the US and the UK with expertise from specialists in myriad external startups. According to insiders, it was the clarity of the original idea that drove the project forward so quickly and efficiently.

According to these vibrant teams, once you take lap times – as on the racing track – out of your mind, you can develop a power train focussed on achieving the optimal combination of efficiency, energy density and low weight.

In fact, Mercedes-Benz claims 95 percent efficiency (i.e. 95% of the battery’s energy reaches the wheels compared to a mere 30% from an internal-combustion engine). That’s a jaw-dropping advancement!

Forget about high cornering speeds. There’s also no need to have a bulky heavy-duty suspension or brakes. And the cooling system is ultra simple. Besides, the efficiency of the electric drive unit means that it generates little heat waste so it doesn’t need a large cooling system. A plate in the floor exploits the cooling properties of the air under the moving car and the aero shutters do the rest.

And here’s the solar bit: the car’s roof has 117 cells that help power some of the ancillary systems and in turn, reduce the drain on the main battery. In ideal conditions, this could add around 24 kilometres to the range on one charge. And research is ongoing to find ways to use solar power to charge the high-voltage system.

The Vision EQXX is truly the greenest ever Mercedes-Benz car. These are exciting times, indeed!

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