After launching some of the best luxury EVs in the market like the EQS and EQE, the EV division at Mercedes-Benz has set its sights on creating the most efficient and aerodynamic EV with the Vision EQXX concept. Unlike its other offerings, the EQXX concept will be the future of all EV offerings by the brand. With its slippery design and efficient powertrain, Mercedes claims that the EQXX can go 745 miles on a single charge, which is significantly higher than most EVs available in the market. The secret to this range is the teardrop design that makes sure there is minimal wind resistance.
The development time for the EQXX was surprisingly short, taking just 18 months since its inception in June 2020. The initial aim was to develop an EV capable of delivering 1000 km or 621-mile range on a single charge. To achieve this with a 100 kWh battery on board, the team had to attain an efficiency of 10 kWh/ 62.1 miles. Engineers from Mercedes’ Formula 1 and Formula E teams came together for the research and development of the EQXX.
The Race for Aerodynamic Efficiency
Just like with regular IC options, aerodynamic capabilities are just as important for EVs, especially for vehicles that focus on long range and performance. Less aerodynamic drag will result in less power being used, thus improving range. With the Vision EQXX, Mercedes has employed a teardrop design, resulting in a narrower rear and a smooth curve from front to rear. The rear track is two inches narrower than the front. Moreover, the cabin comes in a tapered design and you can find a long tail with an active diffuser that extends almost 8 inches.
All this effort has resulted in a drag coefficient of just 0.17, a significant jump over the 0.20 rating of the EQS. The Vision EQXX is easily the most aerodynamic car ever built, offering unrivaled efficiency. According to Mercedes, this design is not possible with standard IC cars owing to engine placement. With such a high focus on efficiency, Mercedes claims that over 62 percent of the EQXX’s efficiency comes from aerodynamics. Most of the parts are made of lightweight alloy or carbon fiber. You can also find a cooling plate underneath the car to help with heat dissipation from the battery pack. Again thanks to the aerodynamic design and absence of an IC engine, there is little to no active cooling required.
The overall engineering efforts resulted in an efficiency of 95 percent i.e., 95% of power from the battery is available at the wheels. In comparison, the EQS had an efficiency of 90 percent. To boost efficiency, Mercedes has implemented adaptive aids at both ends. At the rear, the deployable diffuser manages airflow efficiently when required. At the front, the active shutters and cooling plate will direct airflow towards the battery pack.
Efficiency is the Name of the Game
Mercedes has already taken the EQXX on some road trips. On the first trip, the car clocked efficiency figures of 7.1 miles per kWh (while covering 626 miles from Sindelfingen, Germany to Cassis, Northern Italy). Notably, the car had enough juice left to cover another 87 miles. The second trip was from Stuttgart, Germany to Silverstone, France covering a total distance of 747 miles where the car averaged 7.5 miles per kWh. It must be noted that the car still had enough juice left to do 11 laps on the race track. Mercedes developed the EQXX after thoroughly testing EMMA (Mercedes Modular Architecture) on a test mule- Mercedes EQB. It employed a similar drivetrain and battery management system to fine-tune all the details and iron out the kinks. As a result, the EQXX is a polished and reliable concept that completed all the long-distance tests without a fuss.
So far, the biggest players in the long-range game include the Lucid Air Grand Touring with 516 miles and Tesla Model S Long Range with 405 miles. Despite the same 100 kWh battery found in the EQS, the EQXX offers a better range thanks to the teardrop aerodynamic design and a drop in weight by 30 percent. The EQXX is also surprisingly compact with a wheelbase of just 110.2 inches. Mercedes has used a carbon fiber top cover for the battery pack and arranged the cells differently. The vehicle also runs on a 900V architecture, which is higher than the ones equipped in any of its rivals. In order to achieve efficiency and weight saving, the EQXX also gets an air-cooled battery pack. Mercedes has tweaked the aerodynamics to provide a steady flow of cold air toward the battery pack.
Regenerative braking is also improved for the EQXX with four levels to choose from. In the highest mode, the EQXX can coast with no resistance. In its most aggressive setting, the EQXX can be driven without touching the brake pedal, making it an excellent option in urban conditions. To eke out even more range, the EQXX gets 117 solar panels on the roof that powers most of the car’s ancillaries through a 12V system, giving a 15-mile bump in the overall range. However, because of this addition, the rear window view is blocked.
A quick look at the spec sheet will reveal a power output of just 241 hp, which is lower than expected for a car of this class. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a single-speed automatic transmission. But, despite the modest figures, the EQXX feels fast and nimble with a strong surge of power right as you set off. Tipping the scales at just 3,858 pounds, the EQXX is also lighter than most of the competition. Because of its lower weight, it has better performance than even the EQS 450.
On the handling front, the EQXX feels composed and accurate around corners with a well-weighted steering and stiff suspension. However, the ride quality has not been compromised. Corners feel composed with minimal body roll despite the ultra-low-rolling resistance tires.
Step inside the EQXX and you’ll be greeted with a modern and simple interior design. It doesn’t look too sci-fi as seen in some EVs now. The centerpiece of the dashboard is a massive 47.5-inch curved OLED display that spans the entire length. Most of the materials used are from sustainable vegan sources. To improve efficiency, the car will shut off most of the display area unless necessary. Real-time 3D navigation is provided with crisp and near graphics.
Overall, the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX feels more like a production-ready offering than a concept. We can expect future Mercedes EV offerings to follow a similar design and architecture.