Electric vehicles are here, like it or not, and car companies have turned their attention (and vast resources) to making sure range anxiety is a thing of the past. Since that concern is a major hurdle for most Americans, the appearance of a Mercedes-Benz machine with a four-figure range is A Big Deal.
Well, four figures in metric measures, anyway.
No, the EQXX isn’t going to show up in Mercedes dealerships tomorrow, nor will it likely stand cheek-to-jowl with today’s G-wagens and AMGs. What it does represent is an effort to make sure we’re not all driving soulless transportation pods that need recharging every 100 miles once the last internal combustion engine is shut off for good.
According to the company, the Mercedes-Benz EQXX utilizes a battery pack with less than 100kWh of usable battery energy content, a sum currently enjoyed by a number of EVs on the road today. Where the EQXX seems to pack on the range is in the aerodynamics department, with a claimed 0.17 coefficient of drag and curb weight of 3,850 pounds. The former is aided by lozenge-like styling decisions while the latter is helped along by the use of lightweight materials. Horsepower, if you’re wondering, is in the ballpark of about 200 ponies.
An estimated-in-a-simulation 600+ miles out of a 100kWh battery pack is no mean feat, given that Merc’s own EQS is good for about 200 less than that with a similarly-sized bundle of electrons. Sure, the slicktop shape of this Mercedes-Benz EQXX helps but the company is keen to point out their strides in battery technology. Rather than simply increasing the size of it, Benz and their partners say they have developed a completely new battery pack for this concept, achieving what they describe as “remarkable energy density” which means there’s more juice per square inch.
The increase in energy density comes in part from progress in the chemistry of its anodes. Their higher silicon content and advanced composition mean they can hold considerably more energy than commonly used anodes. Energy density is also aided by highly integrating the battery pack into the platform, creating more space for cells that keep tabs on weight. The battery development team also decided to experiment with an unusually high voltage, pushing that figure to more than 900 volts. Doing so apparently permitted the engineering boffins to gather data on such a setup with eyes on developing something similar for future road-going vehicles.
Other concepts baked into the EQXX include a new take on thermal management, with a so-called ‘cooling plate’ installed in the vehicle floor. That’s a solar panel on the car’s roof as well, responsible for contributing an estimated 25 miles of driving range under certain conditions (read: The California sun) by permitting ancillaries like infotainment to be powered by this source of harvested energy instead of the main battery.
Here’s a stat for your next pub quiz: Mercedes says the super-low drag coefficient makes the EQXX more aerodynamic than an American football. No word on if it will be picked off by Brandin Echols and returned to the 50-yard line.
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