In the past decade or so, most car concepts from manufacturers have been an EV of some sort. But most of them are just a design showcase with a propulsion system just good enough to roll it on and off the stage. If we’re lucky, the concept results in a production-spec model that has none of the things that made the concept interesting in the first place. However, that’s not the story of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX.
What is the Vision EQXX?
It’s a concept EV that debuted near the start of 2022. The EQXX represents the next generation of efficient mobility in terms of tech, software, aerodynamics, compact design and lightweight construction. Mercedes also roped in its F1 powertrain department to help develop the battery and electric drivetrain.
The bespoke platform is earmarked for production as well to spawn real-world cars in the future. It’s designed for efficiency while still being capable of sporty performance.
Looking through the specifications
Its battery pack has an energy capacity of just under 100kWh while being half the size and 30% lighter than the battery pack offered in the Mercedes-Benz EQS which has a usable energy capacity of 107.8kWh. All the electrical and electronic components are tucked away together into something called the ‘One Box’ which made room for more battery cells in the pack. Complete with its lightweight construction and packaging, the battery pack weighs just under 500kg.
The EQXX has a single motor setup to drive the rear wheels. It’s a dedicated drive unit comprising the motor, transmission and electronics in a neat package. The key focus is energy efficiency, i.e., minimal drop-off between the battery and the motors. Frugal combustion engine models tend to have an efficiency of around 30% and the EQXX is targetting an efficiency of up to 95%. In the concept taken for real-world testing, the motor was tuned to an output of 180kW (241hp) while the concept was rated at 150kW.
Pretty and slippery by design
The Vision EQXX has a long and low bonnet with smooth surfaces. There are air curtains at either end to direct the flow around the wheels while there is an air dam along the bottom lip with flaps for active cooling. The bonnet has two small outlets that can direct air from under the car and through the air dam up and over the smooth shape of the cabin. There are vents behind the front wheel arches to help release turbulent air that is channelled down the side to further reduce turbulence.
The covered wheel design cleverly incorporates elements of both aerodiscs and spokes. While the door handles sit flush in the bodywork and pop out when approached, the conventional rear view mirrors as opposed to tiny cameras suggest the true production intent for the EQXX.
It tapers and extends towards the end, like a raindrop, which is one of nature’s most aerodynamic forms capable of holding volume. The rear lip extends over the rear fascia to direct the airflow with minimal disturbance. Its taillamps are the illuminated strips that outline the rear profile design. The coolest part at the back is the two-stage retractable rear diffuser that deploys at higher speeds.
The final result of these design details is that the Vision EQXX has a drag coefficient of just 0.17.
Keeping it light(weight)
While the Vision EQXX does feature carbon fibre and carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP), it uses many more clever and eco-conscious materials to keep it light on its treads. That includes using MS1500 ultra-high-strength steel with low CO2 grades for parts of the bodyshell, doors use a mix of carbon and glass fibre, and aluminium for the structure. Additionally, the brake discs are aluminium, the springs are made from glass fibre reinforced plastics, the wheels are made of forged magnesium, lightweight and low-rolling-resistance tyres from Bridgestone, and a minimalistic interior.
Mercedes-Benz used BIONEQXX casting to come up with structural designs that offer the required level of stiffness and strength while reducing the amount of specialised material used.
The final kerb weight of the four-seater Vision EQXX, that was tested, stood at 1,755kg.
A ‘green’ cabin
The environmentally friendly ethos of the EQXX carries through to the materials used inside the cabin. Its minimalistic interior also matches the focus of reducing weight as do the materials used. Some of the new-age sustainable elements are vegan silk-like fabric called AMsilk’s Biosteel fibre, vegan leather made from mycelium by Mylo, and a cactus-based biomaterial called Deserttex. The carpet is made from bamboo fibre while designers also used Dinamica from 38% recycled plastic bottles for other elements around the cabin.
It’s still a Mercedes-Benz, so it gets a lot of premium touches as well. There’s a giant screen spanning the width of the dashboard, clever infotainment systems, and ambient lighting too. However, the system controls are tuned towards efficiency as well that can dim selective elements in the cabin that are not required or not in use to dedicate as much of the charge towards the range instead.
There’s no sunroof because the Vision EQXX has solar panels in the sunroof that can help top up the battery under bright sunlight which further enhances the total range of the EV.
Now that we’re all caught up on the EQXX concept, let’s get into its incredible real-world achievement.
Details of the Euro Trip
Mercedes engineers mapped out a road trip for the Vision EQXX from Sindelfingen in the Southern half of Germany to Cassis on the Côte d’Azur in France. That’s a total distance of 1,008km. Its route included different types of driving environments like the Autobahn section, the Swiss Alps and the heat of Italy.
The journey was taken during the daytime so that the EQXX would also encounter traffic. According to the data shared, the EV set off from Sindelfingen at 7 A.M. on April 5 (a Tuesday). On the motorways, the EQXX would maintain a peak speed of 140kph or just below the local speed limit. For the hilly areas, the lightweight build made it energy efficient on the way up while the clever electric powertrain was good at recuperating energy thanks to braking on the way down.
In the end, the EQXX reached the finish line in France at 7:02 P.M. having averaged a speed of 87.4kph and energy consumption of 8.7kWh per 100km. The most surprising detail was that the concept EV still showed that it had around 15% of charge remaining which was estimated to be sufficient for another 140km. So, it would seem acceptable to state that the EQXX can cover 1,100km from a single charge, and that’s pretty freaking amazing for a four-seat luxury EV.
While the extensive use of various specialist materials used to manufacture it possibly makes it unlikely for this exact EV to make it to production. However, Mercedes-Benz will be working on a compact and lightweight EV with a high energy density battery pack using the learnings from the Vision EQXX concept.