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Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX emphasize range and efficiency over outright power

The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX has officially debuted ahead of the 2022 CES Show, highlighting the brand’s latest push toward making highly efficient vehicles. Inspired by road trips, the Vision EQXX is the result of a software-defined research program to make one of the most efficient cars ever. The result? A battery-electric vehicle that can travel over 1,000 km or 621 miles on a single charge. Mercedes says that the Vision EQXX has a consumption rating of 10 kWh per 100 km or 6 miles per kWh, which is higher than many EVs on sale today.

Getting to that high level of efficiency didn’t require using a massive battery. The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX’s battery is less than 100 kWh and it’s backed by a 150-kW (201 hp) electric motor. Working together with Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP), the company improved the battery pack’s energy density without increasing its size. Adam Allsop, Advance Technology Director at HPP, said that the Vision EQXX’s battery has the same energy density as the one in the EQS but it’s 30 percent lighter and is small enough that it can be used in a compact car. This was achieved via technology improvements in anode chemistry, which now have higher silicon content and higher integration levels within the pack.

The Vision EQXX uses a dedicated platform created through the collaboration between Mercedes-Benz research and development and HPP. It’s lighter, has room for more cells, and features a separate compartment for the electrical and electronic components that Mercedes calls the OneBox. This dedicated space incorporates new safety gear specifically to improve operational efficiency. The engineering team also added a high-voltage system with over 900 volts to assess its feasibility for future production models. To further cut weight, the battery has a lightweight lid made of reinforced carbon fiber and composites derived from sugar cane waste engineered by HPP and Mercedes-Grand Prix.

Further improving the Vision EQXX’s efficiency is its ability to generate minimal heat waste. Mercedes carefully engineered the interaction between the active grille shutters, coolant valves, and water pumps to ensure that the powertrain stays at its most efficient temperature balance without using too much energy. A cooling plate under the floor takes advantage of air flowing under the vehicle’s underside to keep the powertrain cool during normal conditions. Mercedes says this allows the car to get an extra 20 km or 12 miles or additional range in its most aerodynamic mode. During hard driving or high temperatures, the active grille shutters open to let additional air in. There’s also a cooling fan that activates when cooling is needed at a standstill.

A heat pump absorbs the heat generated by the drive system and from the air outside to warm the cabin quickly and improve efficiency in cold weather. There’s also a 117-cell solar panel on the roof that reduces the drain on the main battery and helps power the climate controls and infotainment system. Mercedes notes that under ideal conditions, this can add 25 km or 15 miles on a long drive.

To achieve the Vision EQXX’s long driving range, Mercedes worked with Bridgestone for a specific rubber. It uses the Turanza Eco tires, which are lightweight and use eco-friendly ENLITEN and ologic technology to get its super-low rolling resistance, The sidewalls are also aerodynamically optimized to match the covers on the 20-inch forged magnesium wheels with Rose Gold accents.

The exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX was also done with efficiency in mind. As a result, exterior designers made sure it’s as slippery as possible hence why it’s shaped like a low-slung wedge with a coupe-like roofline. The result is a drag coefficient of 0.17, meaning the car will use less energy cutting through the air at high speeds. Designers and engineers collaborated to achieve the Vision EQXX’s distinct look, most of which were modeled digitally. A lightweight retractable rear diffuser that deploys at high speeds neatly tucks back into the car when it’s not needed.

To keep weight in check, many of Vision EQXX’s parts are made of aluminum. The rear floor, for example, is made of BIONEQXX, an aluminum structural casting developed digitally using software and optimized with compact dimensions. UBQ Materials worked with Mercedes-Benz to make use of sustainable plastic substitutes made of waste that usually ends up in a landfill. These materials remove 6.0 pounds of trash from landfills with 0.6 pounds made up of water. A total of 42 UBQ patches produced on a 3D printer were made with high stiffness and sound dampening qualities in mind. This method has the potential for a weight savings of between 15 to 20 percent versus conventionally made parts

Mercedes also applied the BIONICAST castings on the Vision EQXX to further cut weight. These are used on the damper domes that house the suspension components in front of the car and can reduce the vehicle’s overall weight by around 9.0 pounds. The bracket holding the windshield wipers and motor were also made using bionic engineering to keep them light while staying within the packaging constraints of the vehicle. Low CO2 ultra-high-strength steel made from 100 percent scrap via an electric-arc method is used extensively on the Visio EQXX including the body-in-white. Its doors are made from plastics reinforced with glass or carbon fiber.

Step inside the Vision EQXX’s interior and you’ll immediately notice the focus on lightweight design and simplicity. Extensive use of sustainable materials and design inspired by organic forms while retaining its focus on luxury and comfort. Mercedes also ditched animal products on the Vision EQXX. In its place are two sustainable vegan leather alternatives, the first called MyloTM made from mycelium, which is the root-like structure of mushrooms. The second is Deserttex, which is made of cactus-based biomaterials combined with a bio-based polyurethane matrix to create the supple, leather-like finish. Floor mats are made from 100 percent bamboo fiber while other pieces are composed of recycled materials and PET bottles.

Software plays a leading role in the Vision EQXX’s user interface. A massive 47.5-inch display spanning the dash is the centerpiece and features 8K resolution. The lightweight mini-LED display connects the occupants with the outside world. Mercedes worked with NAVIS Automotive Systems to develop a real-time 3D navigation system for a vehicle with a screen this big. It can zoom and scroll from satellite view to a height of 33 feet in a three-dimensional representation of cities. A virtual assistant just like in the MBUX interface is also onboard but has been improved with a distinct personality made through a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and Sonatic. The system also gives you tools to help you drive more efficiently by showing information regarding terrain, battery status, and the direction and intensity of the sun and wind. You can also show additional information including acceleration, gradient, wind, rolling resistance, and real-time energy consumption.

The audio system in the Vision EQXX has been calibrated so that it reduces energy consumption. This was done by reducing the sound wave degradation when they are absorbed by or bounce off surfaces within the cabin. Mercedes also reduced the speaker count and positioned them close to occupants to reduce the distance sound travels.

The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX is a showcase of doing more with less and sustainable mobility. Additionally, the car also highlights the importance of software in the age of electrification as companies move quicker during the development stage and adopt the latest innovations into production models. Although we might not see the Vision EQXX go into production, many of the pioneering manufacturing methods, materials, and technologies will eventually find their way into future Mercedes-Benz models.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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