Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz debuted its innovative Vision EQXX Concept – a streamlined battery-electric sedan that it claimed could travel up to 1,000 kilometres between charges. Now the automaker has backed its claims up with a real-world test, taking the Vision EQXX from Sindelfingen in Germany all the way to Cassis in the south of France without ever stopping to charge the vehicle.
This trip would be impressive even if the driver of the Vision EQXX drove relatively slowly and turned off the climate control to extend the usable range of the battery, but Mercedes-Benz didn’t need to take hypermiling measures to achieve this feat. Travelling out of Sindelfingen and headed toward the Swiss Alps, the driver of the vehicle reached speeds of up to 140 km/h on Germany’s world-famous Autobahn – with the EQXX easily slicing through the air at these speeds thanks to its absurdly low drag co-efficient of 0.17.
The Vision EQXX isn’t just aerodynamic – it’s also extremely lightweight, tipping the scales at 1,755 kilograms. This aided the Vision EQXX on the approach to the Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland heading for Italy, where it ascended a 14-kilometre stretch of road with a 5 per cent grade. A heavier vehicle would use more energy to ascend the hill, but it was a breeze for the featherweight EQXX. The battery is housed by a protective cell made from a sustainable carbon-fibre-sugar composite material, contributing to its light weight, while items like aluminum brake rotors and magnesium wheels also help shed pounds.
Mercedes says that “after the Gotthard Tunnel, the road goes downhill for a very long way,” allowing the Vision EQXX to recuperate some of the energy it lost on the ascent through kinetic energy harvesting. It also received an additional jolt of energy once the Mercedes team arrived in sunny Italy thanks to the 117 solar cells affixed to the roof. This solar panel increases the range of the vehicle by more than 2 per cent in ideal conditions – which adds up to 25 kilometres of range on a journey of over 1,000 kilometres.
After 11 hours and 32 minutes of driving time, the Vision EQXX ended its trip in Cassis, France, concluding a 1,008-kilometre journey and boasting a remaining range of around 140 kilometres. This means the vehicle could have continued driving along the Mediterranean coastline without recharging – aided by its kinetic energy harvesting and solar panel roof along the way. Going forward, Mercedes-Benz hopes to take the EQXX on similar proof-of-concept road trips to show the world just how efficient EVs can be.
“The Vision EQXX has unequivocally proven the real-world potential of outstanding efficiency for electric vehicles,” the automaker proclaims. “This first road trip to Cassis is a watershed moment on a much bigger journey that is far from over. There’s a lot more to come.”