Calling the Mercedes Vision EQXX a concept car may well be doing it a disservice. Concept vehicles are often made from papier-mâché sitting on wooden frames and spend their lives on stands at auto shows wowing audiences from a distance.
Not so with the EQXX which runs, drives, and puts up immense range numbers everywhere it goes, all since its launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and with just 18 months total development.
Back in June Mercedes road-tripped the EQXX 747 miles from Stuttgart to Silverstone on a single charge with enough juice left over for Formula E driver Nick de Vries to put in 11 laps of the grand prix circuit once it arrived. The car averaged a highly impressive 7.5 miles/kWh over the journey.
A lucky few journalists were invited to drive the EQXX at Mercedes' testing facility in Immendingen, Germany recently and their reviews give fascinating insight into what amounts to a very interesting and important car for Mercedes and the wider EV market.
Mercedes Vision EQXX Key Specs
Efficiency is king for the EQXX and the obsession with wringing every inch of range from the 100 kWh pack informs every aspect of its design. It weighs 3900 lbs. and uses bio-mimicry in its chassis design to strip away any unnecessary weight resulting in computer-designed structures that resemble bones. Like the Lucid Air the EQXX uses a 900-volt electrical architecture and features a single motor on the rear axle making 241 horsepower. Top speed is electronically limited to 87 miles per hour and the 0-60 waft takes a relaxed 7.0 seconds. It's all about doing the most with the least energy possible, not vaporizing tires with thousands of horsepower.
Mercedes claims the powertrain operates at 95% efficiency, helped no doubt by 117 solar cells on the roof and rear window area which contribute to powering the car's accessories and leave the battery to deal with propulsion. The interior is not as, shall we say, understated as the exterior with cacti-this and mushroom-based-that though the steering wheel and main controls are classic Mercedes parts. The Hyperscreen rears its blinding head here too, though it can dim sections of itself when not in use to save power.
The Vision EQXX features four stages of regenerative braking from "off" to "stops really quite quickly" and this allows it to make use of lightweight aluminum brake discs thanks to one-pedal driving handling most of the slowing down. Handling is reportedly good thanks to the low-slung design and centre of gravity provided by the batteries though the real game for everyone who's had a go in it seems to be eking out as much range as possible.
The art of aerodynamics is one of the cornerstones of the EQXX's efficiency with its tiny frontal area and elongated teardrop shape giving an extremely-slippery 0.17 drag coefficient. There's an active diffuser out back which extends 7.8 inches at speeds over 37 mph to further smooth its lines while the tires are bespoke from Bridgestone with sidewalls that sit perfectly flush with the carbon bodywork and magnesium wheels. The track is two inches narrower at the rear than up front.
The Vision EQXX eschews the usual water-cooled EV motor setup in favor of air cooling managed by active flaps in the nose and underbody. In fact, the design does its job so effectively that Mercedes engineers had to wrap the motor in a thermal blanket to get it up to its optimal operating temperature. The air-cooled design saves weight by doing away with the usual amount of water and improves aero performance thanks to the lack of cooling radiators which the air has to pass through.
The EQXX's battery was designed with help from Merc's Formula 1 and Formula E outfits with the result being a pack that has the same punch as the one found in the EQS limousine while being 50% smaller and 30% lighter. All this is linked together by control electronics that have been obsessively designed for minimal energy losses.
The upshot of the marriage between aerodynamics and efficiency is a vehicle that "effortlessly coasts on flat ground without losing speed" with Car and Driver's test reporting, air conditioning and all, the equivalent of 262 mpg in a gas-powered car.
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Coming 2024... Sort Of
Mercedes has confirmed that major elements of the Vision EQXX's powertrain will be seen in its road cars by 2024, though the general consensus is that it's unlikely to feature in a package that looks like this rolling test bed because of its sloping roofline limiting rear space and the popularity of crossovers and SUVs. Handsome as it is, the Vision EQXX may be too good for this world. Whatever it eventually turns out to be it's one hell of a statement of intent from Mercedes.
James Walker is an Automotive Journalist at Torque News focusing on Lucid Motors. If it's got wheels he's interested, and he's looking forward to seeing what kind of cars the EV revolution brings us. Whether it's fast, slow, new, or old, James wants to have a look around it and share it in print and on video, ideally with some twisty roads involved. You can connect with James on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.