Mercedes Benz has pulled off something that is quite extraordinary, driving a car more than 1,000 kilometers on a single charge, a feat that would make even Lucid blush.
On April 5th, 2022 in Sindelfingen, Germany, a Mercedes Benz driver set off on a massive road trip to showcase their stunning efficiency credentials. The car travelled from Sindelfingen across the Swiss Alps and Northern Italy, to its destination of Cassis on the Côte d’Azur.
We know Formula 1 uses a hybrid drive train, but the team turned to the experts from Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team to help achieve the impossible.
The VISION EQXX concept may not be a production car, but they put this vehicle through a real-life range test, with an average speed of 87.4km/h, but a top speed of 140km/h.
For those unfamiliar with electric vehicles, higher speeds are your enemy, with the increased air pressure on the front of the vehicle creating higher drag than at low speed. This is your worst enemy if you’re attempting to maximise range, however in Germany, these speeds are common on freeways, so it makes sense they include at least some of the journey at these speeds.
Also working against the team was cold temperatures, from start to finish the thermostat ranged from 3 to 18 degrees Celsius. Typically EV range is negatively impacted in cold weather.
The team arrived at their destination, covering 1,008km and still had around 15% of their range, or 140km remaining on arrival.
We did it! Powering through more than 1,000 kilometres with ease on a single battery charge and a consumption of only 8.7 kWh/100 km in real-world traffic conditions. The VISION EQXX is the most efficient Mercedes ever built. The technology programme behind it marks a milestone in the development of electric vehicles. It underpins our strategic aim to ‘Lead in Electric’Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.
So, how did Mercedes achieve such a feat, a distance that exceeds the longest range EV on the market right now, a Lucid Air Dream Edition, offering as much as 836km in the Range variant.
For Mercedes to beat the range of this car is impressive, but consider this, Lucid use a 118kWh battery pack in their car, while Merc used just 100kWh in the VISION EQXX – stunning.
So how did they achieve such a feat?
This story starts with aerodynamics. Firstly, the car is extremely slick through the air, with a tiny drag coefficient of just 0.17. Lucid previously held this record at 0.21, which made me look for what my Model 3 Performance offers, a lame 0.23.
Next is weight. My Model 3 P tips the scales at 1,844 kg, while the Merc concept is lighter at just 1,755kg, also counting in its favour. The most important component is the battery and somehow the engineers were able to squeeze out this range from a pack just 50% in volume and 30% lighter than conventional EV batteries. This compact battery measures just 200 x 126 x 11 cm, and is light at just 495 kilograms.
Now for the real star, the efficiency, Mercedes’ concept car just sipped at the battery, drawing a tiny 8.7 kWh per 100 km, while my car is as much as 16.6kW/100km.. that’s right, virtually double.
Finally, Mercedes did have one trick up their sleeve, a fixed solar roof including 117 solar cells. This solar booster increased the range by more than 2% which may have you thinking it’s a key reason for the range, but adding just 25 kilometres on a journey of over 1,000 kilometres is negated by them finishing with 140km of range left.
While there are no costs mentioned for any of this ground-breaking technology, this solar example, proves how unhelpful and unviable solar panels in the roof of an EV really are, particularly one with a range of more than 1,000km.
What Mercedes has achieved here is seriously impressive and as much as I hate concept cars, this is absolutely stunning and something I can’t wait to see in a production vehicle.
“With our successful road trip to the South of France, we’ve shown that efficiency is the new currency. And this success also clearly speaks for our new collaborative development process, incorporating many learnings from the Mercedes-AMG F1 team and its cutting-edge expertise in electric powertrains. The VISION EQXX is the result of a comprehensive programme that provides a blueprint for the future of automotive engineering. Many of the innovative developments are already being integrated into production, some of them in the next generation of modular architecture for compact and midsize Mercedes‑Benz vehicles. And the journey continues. With the VISION EQXX, we will keep testing the limits of what’s possible,”Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer responsible for Development and Purchasing.