VISION EQXX – taking electric range and efficiency to an entirely new level

“The Mercedes-Benz VISION EQXX is how we imagine the future of electric cars. 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 kilometers2 (620 miles) on a single charge using a battery that would fit even into a compact vehicle. The VISION EQXX is an advanced car in so many dimensions – and it even looks stunning and futuristic. With that, it underlines where our entire company is heading. We will build the world”s most desirable electric cars.” Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.

VISION EQXX – designed for the road trip to electromobility

There’s a reason why road trips have been a cultural benchmark 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 road, 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 an advanced technology program, 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 kilometers3 (620 miles) on a single charge with an outstanding energy consumption of less than 10 kWh per 100 kilometers (efficiency of more than 6 miles per kWh).

VISION EQXX: main points at a glance

A car with a mission – the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built

Efficiency means achieving more from less. The VISION EQXX comes with efficiency improvements that push the envelope with a mixture of technology and teamwork. The outcome will be a road-legal research prototype that delivers more range from less energy, more tangible luxury and convenience with less impact on the environment, and more electric mobility with less waste. A raft of digital tools and a software-led approach also delivered more car in less time.

Pioneering drivetrain for the electric era – waste not, want not

On any road trip, it’s the car that does the work. It soaks up the miles and leaves the driver and passengers to experience the journey. In the long-haul mindset that makes the VISION EQXX so special, efficiency is king.

With an 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. Moreover, 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.

Battery development at its best in collaboration with HPP

Rather than simply increasing the size of the battery, Mercedes-Benz does something different. The HPP team developed a completely new battery pack for the VISION EQXX. It’s achieving a remarkable energy density of close to 400 Wh/l. This benchmark figure is what made it possible to fit a battery pack with just under 100 kWh of usable energy into the compact dimensions of the VISION EQXX.

“In effect, we fitted the energy of the EQS into the vehicle dimensions of a compact car,” says Adam Allsopp, Advanced Technology Director from HPP. “The battery has almost the same amount of energy but is half the size and 30% lighter. The battery management system and power electronics have been designed with an absolute focus on reducing losses. In achieving this efficiency milestone, we learned a lot that will flow into future development programs.”

Let the sunshine in – more range thanks to solar power

The sun is the original source of all energy on Earth, but it can take a very circuitous path. So, it made perfect sense for the Mercedes-Benz development engineers to cut out the “middleman.”

Rather go straight to the big boiler in the sky for some extra oomph.

The electric system powers many of the ancillaries in the VISION EQXX. In addition, it draws energy from 117 solar cells on the roof. Moreover, it was developed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE – Europe’s largest solar energy research institute. The net result of reducing the energy drain on the high-voltage system is an increase in range. On a single day and under ideal conditions, this can add up to 25 km (15 miles) of range. That’s on long-distance journeys.

The solar energy is stored in a lightweight lithium-iron-phosphate battery. It supplies a climate blower, the lights, the infotainment system, and other ancillaries. Mercedes-Benz and its partners are working towards using solar power to charge the high-voltage system, too.