Logging 747 miles on test, Mercedes EQXX basks in EV glory

  • Driving the EQXX might be considered unremarkable, although it inspires confidence when the driver sees how many miles are left before recharging.
  • Compared to the 107.8 kWh battery in the Mercedes EQS, the EQXX’s pack is half the size and 30% lighter.
  • The next task for EQXX’s development team – a daunting task – is to adapt its advanced technologies to production electric vehicles, which means drastically reducing costs.

    If cars were like professional athletes, they would be elected to their respective halls of fame by committees of designers, engineers, executives and journalists, and there might be a required waiting period of some number of years after the end of production. for a particular vehicle to become eligible.

    At Mercedes-Benz, its Vision EQXX high-mileage electric concept car is certain to be a first-round winner, perhaps even earning its place at the company museum in Stuttgart purely by consensus, without even taking a vote. Museum curators probably already know what exalted place of distinction best suits this ultra-efficient four-door with the wild interior, solar-panel roof, thin tires and oddly sloping rear end like that of the Shelby Daytona Cobra.

    It’s more aerodynamic than an American football, with a coefficient of drag of an astonishing 0.17, aided by slim side mirrors that cut the wind. Aerodynamics may be more important than you think: a typical electric vehicle today devotes nearly two-thirds of its battery capacity to navigating through the air.

    The EQXX is just two years old, yet it has demonstrated that electric vehicles can be sexy, comfortable and functional, while delivering over 621 miles of range on a single charge, far better than an internal combustion vehicle. typical running on a full tank of petrol and rivaling the most efficient diesel engines, before being sullied and banished by a scandal that began 325 miles away in Wolfsburg.

    Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX.

    Mercedes-Benz

    It’s the powertrain that makes the EQXX truly special, as evidenced by a brief test drive of this one-of-a-kind prototype at Mercedes’ proving grounds in Immendingen, south of Stuttgart. It was designed for efficiency rather than tight acceleration, yet the 241bhp EQXX picks up speed quickly and can be paddled for frictionless cruising or, conversely, one-pedal riding to regenerate speed. battery. It’s not a snap at all, but the driving experience was completely unremarkable, moving this four-door four-seater with as much confidence as any other EV on the market today.

    But the EQXX surely instills more confidence when the driver sees how many miles are left before recharging. Who Needs Range Anxiety?

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Interior of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX.

    Mercedes-Benz

    In April, the product development team powered the car’s nearly 100 kilowatt-hour battery and drove 626 miles from Sindelfingen near Stuttgart through the Alps to Cassis on the south coast of France, at a average speed of 54 mph. There was no recharging along the way and upon arrival the car still had juice to go another 87 miles.

    Emboldened by this success – and eager to get more fan love from European motorists who saw the EQXX on public roads and wanted to know all about it – the team planned another jaunt two months later. This started in Stuttgart and headed northwest, crossing the Chunnel into the UK and meeting the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team at Brackley en route to Silverstone Circuit, where the Formula E driver Nyck de Vries clocked a tough 11 laps (at a top speed of 87mph) as the car eventually ran out of electrons in the pit lane. This trip totaled 747 miles on a single charge, with an average speed of 52 mph.

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX battery.

    Tom Murphy

    For context, the now available Lucid Air EV can deliver up to 516 miles of EPA-estimated range, or 4.6 miles per kWh of electricity – it’s one of the most efficient cars ever produced. . The Lucid Air also has a larger 112kWh battery compared to the EQXX.

    And Again on a consumption basis, the EQXX easily beats the Lucid Air, running 7.5 miles on every kWh of electricity on the June trip to the UK.

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX.

    Mercedes-Benz

    These days, any electric vehicle that consistently delivers more than 3 miles per kWh is considered efficient. The Tesla Model 3 RWD would also be up for the title of most efficient car, often clocking in at 4.5 miles per kWh. This Tesla is EPA-rated at 132 mpg-e (1 mpg-e better than the Lucid Air) with a much smaller battery capable of 60kWh capacity and a range of 272 miles.

    Perhaps most notable about this EQXX experience is that the car doesn’t run on next-generation supercapacitors or solid-state batteries, but rather an optimized lithium-ion architecture rated at 920 volts. But the automaker considers its air-cooling of the module, as well as the battery management system and overall packaging, to be revolutionary.

    With Formula 1 thinking, Mercedes’ battery chemists have squeezed the energy of the largest all-electric sedan EQS into the dimensions of a compact car. Compared to the EQS’s 107.8 kWh battery, the EQXX’s pack is half the size and 30% lighter. The EQXX uses Active Cell Balancing, which means drawing energy evenly from the cells, giving it greater endurance. The battery weighs 1091 pounds, including its electronic controls.

    You’re probably reading this wondering why isn’t Mercedes just producing this EQXX that could quickly accelerate the arrival of the tipping point for electric vehicles over conventional petrol vehicles?

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Vision EQXX’s slim side mirror.

    Tom Murphy

    It’s not a simple answer. The engineers were able to throw all the weight-saving ideas into this development project, because Stuttgart’s goal was a concept car that could travel at least 1,000 km (621 miles) on a single charge, regardless of be the cost. Engineers rarely hear those last four words, so the ideas flowed.

    Many lightweight strategies have been incorporated into the finished product, such as the ultra-thin sunroof, a subframe derived from Formula 1 racing cars, a lightweight battery box, carbon fiber reinforced plastic doors and glass, aluminum brake rotors (instead of cast steel), glass fiber reinforced plastic springs and magnesium wheels carrying thin tires optimized for ultra-low rolling resistance rather than a grip.

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX.

    Mercedes-Benz

    With so much moonshot tech on board, it’s no surprise the development team is hesitant to put a price tag on this futuristic prototype. Think seven digits.

    The EQXX weighs 3858 pounds, which is slender compared to the latest EVs such as the Mercedes EQS (weighing up to 5952 pounds), Cadillac Lyriq (up to 5915 pounds), Lucid Air (up to 5236 pounds) , Audi e-tron GT (up to 5060 pounds) and the BMW i4 (up to 5018 pounds). Some versions of the similarly sized Tesla Model 3, with its much smaller battery, actually reduce the EQXX, to 3648 pounds, while others go up to 4250 pounds.

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Mercedes Vision EQXX seats.

    Tom Murphy

    The new transmission, designed and manufactured in-house, achieves what Mercedes-Benz describes as a benchmark: 95% of the energy passes from the battery to the rear wheels. This compares to 90% efficiency for production Mercedes EQS and around 40% for the most efficient internal combustion engines.

    Because the transmission is so efficient, it generates minimal waste heat, which means the thermal management system can be extremely small and light, while being aided by aero flaps, coolant valves and pumps water. There’s also a cooling plate in the floor to take advantage of the air flowing under the car, keeping the drive unit cool and even extending the range by around 12 miles in the most aerodynamic mode.

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Thin tires on magnesium rims for Vision EQXX.

    Tom Murphy

    With a top speed of less than 90mph, the EQXX was clearly designed to maximize range rather than satisfy thrill seekers. At this rate, the car would rarely venture into the left lane on the freeway, but for most Americans on the freeway, a car with this much power would be more than adequate.

    The entire EQXX program went from the drawing board to the road in just 18 months. This all-electric monocoque halo car sets the blueprint for the future of Mercedes-Benz. The next daunting task is to adapt these technologies to production electric vehicles, which means reducing costs.

    mercedesbenz eqxx
    Vision EQXX has an F1-inspired subframe.

    Tom Murphy

    And yet, during last week’s media demonstrations at the Immendingen circuit, the mood among the young team that developed the EQXX was upbeat and lively, you might even say electric. They have to see the potential.

    Mercedes-Benz has spent a lot of money developing its Vision EQXX concept car, but do you think its technologies will help extend the range of future production electric vehicles? Please comment below.

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