Battery electric vehicles could have increased range if they also had a solar component that ensured some charge went into the battery when hit by sunlight. There are currently no mainstream manufacturers to offer an electric vehicle with meaningful solar charging, but Mercedes-Benz wants to change that with the Vision EQXX.
The EQXX is a sedan designed to drive more than 1,000 km or 620 miles on one charge, but its battery pack is actually smaller than that of the longest range EQS. Mercedes doesn’t give the exact capacity, but it is just under 100 kWh, and it is thanks to solar charging that it achieves the impressive claimed range.
Mercedes explains that the solar array comprised of ultra-thin individual panels, which spans most of the vehicle’s roof, give the vehicle around 25 km or 15.5 miles of extra range on an average day. If you’ve been following other solar EVs, then you will know companies state the average range gain, but you actually may get more on a really sunny day.
But it’s not just solar charging that allows the EQXX to achieve its super impressive efficiency and range numbers. Its remarkably low mass (for a big vehicle sitting on a long 2.8-meter wheelbase), which the manufacturer says is around 1,750 kg, as well as the low coefficient of drag also play a major part.
Mercedes says it's 0.18 Cd in official the press release, but during the presentation, officials stated that it was actually even lower, 0.17 Cd; we've reached out to the manufacturer to clarify and we'll update the post when we hear back.
Sheer acceleration was not a key concern for this vehicle, although they did try to eke out as much go out of the powertrain as possible and employed some Formula 1 tech to do it. It has a single electric motor that makes 150 kW (201 horsepower), so factoring in its mass, we would estimate it sprints to 100 km/h or 62 mph in around 7.5 seconds; top speed is not mentioned, but it probably won't exceed 180 km/h or 112 mph.
Gallery: Mercedes Vision EQXX
The manufacturer says it is also experimenting with an electric architecture that supports over 900 volts, although it’s unclear if this will make its way into the production vehicle. In the press release, Mercedes says that being
Tasked with pushing the envelope of technical feasibility on all levels, the battery development team also decided to experiment with an unusually high voltage. Increasing the voltage to more than 900 volts proved an extremely useful research tool for the development of the power electronics. The team was able to gather Page 7 a great deal of valuable data and is currently assessing the potential benefits and implications for future series production.
The battery pack is especially light for its capacity - just 495 kg or 1,091 lbs. It features an advanced thermal management system with an integrated heat pump and relies on what Mercedes calls cooling on demand, which
Has been further developed for the VISION EQXX not only for optimal cooling based on the prevailing circumstances. The exceptional efficiency of the electric drive unit means it generates only minimal waste heat. This helped keep the thermal management system extremely small and lightweight. The carefully engineered interaction of aero-shutters, coolant valves and water pumps ensures the electric drive unit, comprising the power electronics, electric motor and transmission, maintains the most efficient temperature balance at minimum energy cost.
Other cool EQXX features include a bespoke platform based around an F1-style lightweight subframe, wider front track, aluminum alloy brake disks and aero wheels shod in ultra-low-rolling-resistance tires that have also been aero-optimized. And it’s clear that because so much thought went into each and every part, we will see these all these features in the production version.
We expect the exterior design to make it to production virtually unchanged, although the interior seems more concept car-like, although it does have seat belt buckles, so it seems like some parts are already close to final and already functional. The full-width screen that spans the width of the dashboard may also make it to production.
And if you were wondering what the XX in the EQXX’s name stands for, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, CTO responsible for Development and Procurement explains that
As a halo car, it firmly establishes Mercedes-Benz as the luxury tech brand in the automotive world and beyond. And the way we developed it is as revolutionary as the vehicle itself. VISION EQXX has seen the best minds from our R&D centres work together with engineers from our Formula 1 and Formula E programmes. They are proving that innovations from motorsport – where powertrains are already highly electrified – have immediate relevance for road car development. We are challenging current development processes with innovative spirit and outside-the-box thinking. This truly is the way forward.