What would be an acceptable range if you switched from an internal combustion engined car to an electric vehicle? Would 400 kilometers suffice? How about 600 kilometers? Mercedes-Benz has just announced that its one-off Vision EQXX concept car has a world-beating efficiency in real-world driving of 1,000 km (621 miles) on a single charge.
According to Mercedes, the all-electric EQXX left Germany on Tuesday, April 5, drove for 12 hours nonstop across the Swiss Alps on one charge, and arrived in France with 140 kilometers of range remaining in its battery pack. It demonstrates what is possible when cutting-edge lightweight materials, a slick body design, advanced battery technology, an F1-inspired electric motor setup, and aerodynamic tires are combined into a single vehicle.
The team traveled from Sindelfigen near Stuttgart to Cassis on the Cote d’Azur, passing through Germany, Switzerland, Italy past Milan, and finally onto the port town of Cassis near Marseille in the south of France. The EQXX was driven on normal roads ranging from highways to mountain passes, including roadworks, with a top speed of 140 km/h or 87 mph. According to Mercedes, the battery pack was about 15% charged when it arrived in France, resulting in a remaining range of around 140 kilometers and an average consumption of a record-breaking low of 8.7 kWh per 100 kilometers.
“We accomplished it! “Powering through more than 1,000 kilometers of real-world driving with ease on a single battery charge,” said Mercedes-Benz Group AG Chairman of the Board of Management Ola Källenius, reports Forbes. “The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX is the most fuel-efficient vehicle ever built.” The technology program that underpins it is a watershed moment in the evolution of electric vehicles.
The EQXX is packed with innovations that enabled it to achieve the world-record range, including a surprisingly low Cd value of 0.17 for a road-legal car—a number around 0.20 considered aerodynamically sound.
It all starts with the basic teardrop body shape, which has a smooth-surfaced greenhouse-shaped cabin that flows like a droplet towards the back of the car. The small frontal area of 2.12 m2 and the reduced rear track are also aerodynamically beneficial. Because the rear wheels are 50 mm (2 inches) narrower than the front wheels, they roll in the slipstream of the front wheels. The active rear diffuser, which deploys automatically at 60 km/h, improves airflow and thus contributes significantly to reduced drag.
The EQXX, which resembled a futuristic aerodynamic Aston Martin DB5, benefited greatly from its bespoke Bridgestone tires, which had an extremely low rolling resistance rating of 4.7. The Japanese tire manufacturer created a unique 185/65 R 20 97 T Turanza eco tire with a large diameter and narrow tread that helps the car slice through the air and generate the record-breaking range in collaboration with Mercedes Benz.
The lightweight design concept of the EQXX is revolutionary, from the materials used to the innovative bionic structures that deliver an impressive power-to-weight ratio. The sustainable carbon-fiber-sugar composite material used for the upper part of the battery, which is also used in Formula 1, is an example of this.
The dedicated electric chassis with lightweight F1 subframe and aluminum brake discs contributes significantly to the weight efficiency. Another example is the battery. The power storage unit developed specifically for the VISION EQXX has nearly the same amount of energy as the EQS battery at 100 kWh. It does, however, have half the volume and is 30% lighter. The resulting compact battery is also relatively light, weighing only 495 kilograms and fitting into a small car. The electric drive was created in collaboration with Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team engineers.