2022 Mercedes EQXX to use a production car’s battery pack

With the Mercedes EQS sedan, Daimler is proud to have an electric car in its portfolio that can travel 780 km (485 miles) as per WLTP (revised) on a single charge, but it’s not putting further innovations in this regard on ice. Work is already in progress to develop an EV with a range of more than 750 miles!

After introducing the EQS to the world, Christoph Starzynski, Vice-President Electric Vehicle Architecture, Mercedes-Benz, was asked in an interview if the EQS’s range was “the end of the line.” In response, Starzynski said:

No, it doesn’t stop at 770 kilometers. We have already announced the next step with the Vision EQXX technology program. Our development department is tasked with pushing the boundaries of range and efficiency. That’s why we’ve put together a cross-functional and multi-disciplinary team in Stuttgart, supported by specialists from the British Mercedes-Benz F1 HPP Group. The colleagues contribute their expertise in electric motors as well as their motorsport-inspired development pace. Innovations from this technology program will be rapidly transferred to series production models.

Christoph Starzynski, Vice-President Electric Vehicle Architecture, Mercedes-Benz, in an interaction published on Daimler’s media site.

This isn’t the first time we hear a Daimler official talk about Mercedes-AMG HPP’s involvement in the development of the Mercedes EQXX. In March 2021, Hywel Thomas, MD, Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said the same in an internal interview while talking about how that division participates in the development of some road cars.

We are invited to take part in projects – albeit in different ways. From doing peer reviews on development that is going on, to co-developing concepts with our colleagues in Germany. One great example of that is our participation in the EQXX technology program, where we work alongside our engineering colleagues to take the next step in the reach, efficiency and charging of electric vehicles.

Hywel Thomas, MD, Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains

In addition to F1 and Formula E, Thomas said that Mercedes-AMG HPP is concentrating hard on the Mercedes-AMG Project One and Mercedes-Benz EQXX projects. “That means we are developing the technologies in our racing program and introducing them in road car projects where appropriate,” Thomas added.

Daimler announced the Mercedes EQXX at the Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update event in October 2020. The event was about the future of Mercedes-Benz (incl. Mercedes-AMG) concerning electrification, and it included a surprise announcement of the Mercedes EQXX concept (Mercedes Vision EQXX), which will be the most efficient electric vehicle in the world.

Mercedes EQXX

The highlight of the 2020 strategy update, though, was the announcement of a Mercedes EQXX electric concept, which is touted to be the “longest range, highest efficiency electric vehicle the world has ever seen.” The silhouette of the Mercedes EQXX was shown as a teaser. However, it was not mentioned when Mercedes would show the concept car. The IAA 2021 (Munich) programed in September could be a good platform to unveil the concept.

Speaking about its range capability, the Mercedes EQXX would do Shanghai to Beijing in one charge; the two cities are separated by a distance of 754 miles (1214 km). The Mercedes EQXX electric concept will chase the next-generation technology, the brand said. However, it did not divulge details on the battery pack’s size, electric motors’ capacity, or cell chemistry.

Mercedes Vision EQXX concept
The silhouette of the Mercedes EQXX features an aerodynamic body with a long-tail. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Cd was as low as 0.19. Image: Daimler

As to how the Mercedes EQXX will achieve this range, the company said they will be pushing the aerodynamics to the maximum possible and will optimize the drivetrain for maximum efficiency. We get a hint of the first part with the silhouette of the EQXX, which looks streamlined with a long-tail back.

The lower the Cd, the better, as drag acts against the vehicle’s direction, making it consume more power to cover the same distance. Electric car makers understand this and are constantly battling the air resistance in their wind tunnel facilities to get their Cd values as low as possible. The Tesla Model 3 has a Cd of 0.23, which commanded praise in 2018. Since then, Porsche has one-upped Tesla with its Taycan electric with a Cd of just 0.22. We would not be surprised if the Mercedes EQXX hit a number as low as 0.19.

More details on the EQXX revealed at the 2021 strategy update

Ola Kallenius, CEO, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, talked about the Mercedes EQXX project at the ‘Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive’ on July 22, 2021. Kallenius said that anybody could shove in a massive battery pack and achieve a 1,000 km range car. The challenge is to keep the car light and cost-effective, and still manage to squeeze out a four-digit range. A regular-size battery means that the EQXX doesn’t need to be an oversized vehicle.

Back in 2020, we initiated an exciting next step in electric vehicle development and put together a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary team of experts supported by specialists from the Mercedes-AMG F1 team. We instructed them to aim beyond 1,000 km on one charge. But not by making the battery bigger. Anybody could do that. No, they’re working with a normal-sized battery, destined for series production in a forthcoming Mercedes compact car.

Ola Kallenius, CEO, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive)
Mercedes Vision EQXX side view teaser 2021
Aerodynamics is what the development team is focusing on, Kallenius revealed. The aim is to make the car even more aerodynamic than the EQS, which is at 0.20 Cd. Image: Daimler

The goal is to massively reduce consumption – with extraordinary efficiency improvements in almost all areas. In terms of aerodynamics, this project aims at going even beyond what’s been achieved with the EQS, already the world‘s lowest Cd series production car ever.

Ola Kallenius, CEO, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive)

Daimler is taking more steps to reach the 1,000 km range goal, like increasing the energy density, improving the efficiency of other components, enhancing the battery design, etc.

We are also working on increasing the energy density by additional 20% at the cell level compared to the EQS. Our eDrive experts are making rapid gains in efficiency and pushing the boundaries of what‘s possible in terms of eMotor, inverter, battery design, packaging and thermal management. They’re chasing marginal gains that compound to substantial increases in range.

Ola Kallenius, CEO, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive)

Daimler wants to lower the energy consumption of its EVs to a single-digit figure for kWh/100 km. It aims to increase the miles/kWh rating to over 6 miles/kWh. The company will use the learnings from the Vision EQXX in production models. The goal is to integrate these new technologies in future Mercedes road cars. We now really look forward to next year when Mercedes will demonstrate its (EQXX’s) real-world driving range.

Gallium Nitride

Coming to the internals, Konstantin Neiss, Director of R&D Transmission and eDrives, Mercedes-Benz, said the company would try to move away from Silicon Carbide and focus on Gallium Nitride. While the former is still pretty high-tech, researchers say Gallium Nitride is the Silicon Nitride of the future.

Owing to its wider band gap than Silicon Carbide, Gallium Nitride can sustain higher voltages than silicon can survive, and the current can run through the device faster too. Gallium Nitride is proven to be more efficient than its Silicon counterparts as it loses less energy and can survive at higher temperatures. According to one researcher report, replacing current electronics with Gallium Nitride could cut power use by 10 to 25 percent.

Mercedes electric car architecture
While Silicon is pretty high tech in 2020, Gallium Nitride is expected to be the future Silicon Carbide according to researchers. Image: Daimler

Mercedes F1 HPP will bring the expertise in eMotors plus motorsport-inspired development speed. The technology on the EQXX promises to fascinate, and what’s thrilling is that these technologies could cascade into lower models and the next-generation Mercedes electric SUVs.

Featured image: Daimler