Mercedes-Benz is not resting. Driven by the idea of zero impact on our planet and a highly responsible use of green energy, Mercedes inspired their engineers to go above and beyond. They are working intensively to take range and efficiency to a whole new level. The VISION EQXX is the result of a mission to break through technological barriers across the board and to lift energy efficiency to new heights. It demonstrates the gains that are possible through rethinking the fundamentals from the ground up. This includes advances across all elements of its cutting-edge electric drivetrain as well as the use of lightweight engineering and sustainable materials. Complete with a barrage of innovative and intelligent efficiency measures, including advanced software, VISION EQXX allows us to explore new frontiers of efficiency.
There’s a reason why road trips have been a cultural touchstone for at least 70 years, telling stories from the highway in books, movies and music. The road trip defines freedom, individuality, the very spirit of the automobile and the passing world. Stick a pin in the map – and drive. Be in tune with the tarmac, and with the car. This urge to explore, discover and revel in the world beyond our horizon is part of what it is to be human. It’s the pioneering spirit that pairs vision with the tenacity to make it happen.
The journey to electric mobility is a road trip; as exhilarating as it is challenging, as unknown as it is certain. The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX is a vehicle designed for that road trip. It answers the progressive demands of a modern generation of customers for and emotionality through innovation. Part of a far-reaching technology programme, this software-defined research prototype was engineered by women and men with the creativity, ingenuity and determination to deliver one of the planet’s most efficient cars – in every respect. They did so using the latest digital technology, the agility of a start-up and the speed of Formula 1.
The result is an efficiency masterpiece that, based on internal digital simulations in real-life traffic conditions, will be capable of exceeding 1,000 kilometres3 on a single charge with an outstanding energy consumption of less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometres (efficiency of more than 6 miles per kWh).
By ripping up the automotive engineering rule book, Mercedes-Benz has built a software-driven electric car that re-imagines the road trip for the electric era. At the same time, it presents a highly progressive interpretation of the fundamental Mercedes-Benz principles of modern luxury and Sensual Purity. Rather than simply increasing the size of the battery, the cross-functional, international team focused on maximising long- distance efficiency. They pulled out all the stops in drivetrain efficiency, energy density, aerodynamics and lightweight design.
“The technology programme behind the VISION EQXX will define and enable future Mercedes-Benz models and features,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, Chief Technology Officer responsible for Development and Procurement. “As a halo car, the VISION EQXX firmly establishes Mercedes-Benz as the brand that pairs luxury with technology in the automotive world and beyond. And the way we developed it is as revolutionary as the vehicle itself. VISION EQXX has seen the best minds from our R&D centres work together with engineers from our Formula 1 and Formula E programmes. They are proving that innovations from motorsport – where powertrains are already highly electrified – have immediate relevance for road car development. We are challenging current development processes with innovative spirit and outside-the-box thinking. This truly is the way forward.”
The VISION EQXX is an exciting, inspirational, yet completely realistic way forward for electric vehicle technology. In addition to its ground-breaking energy efficiency, it offers meaningful answers to pressing issues. For instance, sustainable materials throughout cut the carbon footprint considerably. Its UI/UX features a radical new one-piece display that comes to life with responsive real-time graphics and spans the entire width of the vehicle. Other elements of the UI/UX help the car and driver work together as one, and even use technology that mimics the workings of the human brain. And the software-led development process that delivered it revolutionises the way electric cars are designed.
This car is one outcome of an ongoing programme that is delivering a blueprint for the future of automotive engineering. Many of its features and developments are already being integrated into production, including the next generation of the MMA – the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture for compact and medium-sized cars.
At its heart, efficiency means achieving more from less. This is nothing new – Mercedes-Benz has always strived for efficiency in its vehicles, achieving massive technological strides over the decades. These have benefitted consumers through consistent improvements in fuel consumption, comfort and convenience. However, the imperatives of electric mobility and sustainability have shifted the framework for efficiency.
The most familiar expression of automotive efficiency is that of fuel consumption or fuel economy. This is expressed in different ways depending on where we are in the world (e.g. litres per 100 kilometres, miles per gallon or kilometres per litre). Regardless of convention, they all relate units of fuel (energy) with units of distance. Electric mobility is no different in that respect.
By making efficiency the new currency, Mercedes-Benz has created a common denominator for quantifying technological development across the board – beyond fuel efficiency alone. As well as meaning more range from less energy, it also means more tangible luxury and convenience with less impact on nature, and more electric mobility with less waste.
The VISION EQXX demonstrates that this is all within reach in a real-world vehicle that pushes the envelope on all fronts. It gives Mercedes-Benz customers a clear insight into what premium efficiency for the electric and digital era looks like and feels like. Beautiful design and intuitive operation enhanced by advanced digital technologies deliver sustainable, long-haul electric mobility that has Mercedes-Benz written all over it.
On any road trip, it’s the car that does the work – soaking up the miles and leaving the driver and passengers to experience the journey. In the long-haul mindset that makes the VISION EQXX so special, efficiency is king.
With output of around 150 kW, the super-efficient electric drivetrain (encompassing everything from battery to electric drive unit to wheels) in the VISION EQXX provides the power and stamina underpinning this exceptional long-distance runner. More than a composition of individual parts, it is a work of engineering art in its own right. Tasked with a very clear and specific set of targets, the team set out to create an electric drivetrain with a world-beating combination of efficiency, energy density and lightweight engineering. So, let’s throw in a figure here – 95% efficiency. That means up to 95% of the energy from the battery ends up at the wheels – pure and simple. Compare that to just 30% from even the most efficient ICE drivetrain or around 50% from an average (human) long-distance runner.
The Formula 1 experts at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth (United Kingdom) know a thing or two about making every kilojoule of energy count. In an intense collaboration, Mercedes-Benz R&D worked with them hand-in-hand to redesign the drivetrain and slash the system losses.
“One of the best ways to improve efficiency is to reduce losses,” explains Eva Greiner, chief engineer of the electric drive system at Mercedes-Benz. “We worked on every part of the system to reduce energy consumption and losses through system design, material selection, lubrication and heat management. And our fantastic simulation tools helped us find out quickly what works and what doesn’t.”
The electric drive unit in the VISION EQXX is a dedicated unit consisting of the electric motor, transmission and power electronics featuring a new generation of silicon carbides. The power electronics unit is based on the one in the upcoming Mercedes-AMG Project ONE hypercar.
On every car, it is the tyres that form the all-important interface with the road. For the VISION EQXX Mercedes-Benz engineers worked in cooperation with Bridgestone. Together, they took advantage of Bridgestone’s Turanza Eco tyre combined with lightweight and environmentally friendly ENLITEN and ologic technology enabling ultra-low-rolling-resistance.
The tyre design also features aerodynamically optimised sidewalls to match the covers mounted on the 20-inch, lightweight, forged-magnesium wheels. The semi-transparent double-spoke design of these covers meets all aerodynamic requirements while at the same time retaining a view of the rose-gold accents adorning the wheels.
Marking the launch of a new, super-purist design style, the VISION EQXX represents a new expression of efficiency in interior design. In a departure from the conventional design approach, the interior layout focuses on just a few modules and the beautiful simplicity of lightweight design. This is expressed through the absence of complex shapes and the integration of lightweight structures into the interior aesthetic in a wholly organic way, making traditional trim elements superfluous.
From mushrooms to vegan silk, nature’s influence continues when we step inside the VISION EQXX. The lightweight luxury feel of the interior comes from extensive use of lightweight, sustainable materials and organic-inspired design detailing. The basic principle is maximum comfort and style with minimum weight – and absolutely no animal-derived products.
The interior features a large number of innovative materials sourced from start-ups around the world. For example, the door pulls are made from AMsilk’s Biosteel fibre. This high-strength, biotechnology-based and certified-vegan silk-like fabric comes from the inventor of biofabricated (nature-identical) fibre. Combining revolutionary science with true environmental integrity, its use here marks a first in the automotive sector.
Another sustainable material gracing the interior of the VISION EQXX is MyloTM, a verified vegan leather alternative made from mycelium, which is the underground rootlike structure of mushrooms. It is certified bio-based, which means it is made predominantly from renewable ingredients found in nature. This completely new material category created by the power of biotechnology is designed to be less harmful to the environment and is used for details of the seat cushions in the VISION EQXX.
The animal-free leather alternative called Deserttex® is a sustainable cactus-based biomaterial made from pulverised cactus fibres combined with a sustainable bio-based polyurethane matrix. In this combination, the leather alternative has an exceptionally supple finish that is extremely soft to the touch. Forthcoming versions have a higher cactus content, giving this material the potential to halve the ecological footprint associated with conventional artificial leathers.
On the floor, the carpets in the VISION EQXX are made from 100% bamboo fibre. In addition to being fast- growing and renewable, this natural raw material offers an extremely luxurious look and feel. Mercedes-Benz chose these sustainable, innovative, high-performance materials because they, and others like them, have the potential to replace all sorts of petroleum- and animal-based products currently used in automotive applications. Together, they show a way forward for luxury design that conserves resources and is in balance with nature.
Elsewhere, the VISION EQXX makes extensive use of recycled waste materials, such as the recycled PET bottles used in a shimmering textile to enhance the floor area and door trim. Higher up in the interior, the designers used Dinamica made from 38% recycled PET to create a wrap-around effect linking the upper edge of the one-piece screen with the doors and headliner. The interior also features UBQ material, a sustainable plastic substitute made from household and municipal landfill waste.