Beware of calm water or water that dots, as the saying goes.
In the automotive industry this adage seems to come from and corresponds to Mercedes-Benz Group (DDAIF) .
The German brand has so far remained in the background as competitors announced their projects and products in the very lucrative electric vehicle market.
To believe that Mercedes-Benz, whose technological knowledge is not disputed, had lost the memo distributed by Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report and its CEO Elon Musk is a question that was beginning to bother even the most loyal fans of the star brand. According to this memo, or the so-called Master Plan, the car of the future will be electric and autonomous.
All vehicle manufacturers, legacy carmakers and new actors, wear by and for electric vehicles. Each week is thus marked by a flurry of announcements despite the fact that supply chains are disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the shortage of chips and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
We must believe that during all this time Mercedes-Benz had not fallen asleep, since the German car manufacturer has just made a spectacular announcement.
1,000 Kilometers Without Recharging
A prototype electric car, the EQXX, from Mercedes-Benz has traveled more than 1,000 kilometers without recharging, with a battery similar in capacity to current models, a feat celebrated by the manufacturer as a “pioneer” in the battle for autonomy.
The car traveled 1,008 km (626 miles), in real-world conditions and traffic, between the group’s research center in Sindelfingen in southern Germany and Cassis on the French Riviera, Mercedes announced in a statement. The battery’s state of charge on arrival was around 15 percent, amounting to a remaining range of around 140 kilometers (87 miles), and the average consumption was a record-breaking low of 8.7 kWh per 100 kilometers (7.1 kWh per 62 miles). It arrived after almost 12 hours.
“We did it!” boasted Ola Källenius, chairman of the Board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. The “EQXX is the most efficient Mercedes ever built. The technology program behind it marks a milestone in the development of electric vehicles.”
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Equipped with a battery of one hundred kilowatt hours (kWh), the particularly efficient prototype consumed less than half of current comparable models.
The Mercedes-Benz electric S class EQS, current spearhead of the group’s luxury electric vehicle at more than 100,000 euros ($108,308), consumes between 16 and 17kWh over 100km, often more in real conditions. The autonomy is 780km according to the WLTP standard.
Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S, their direct competitors, display up to 650 km of autonomy for a consumption generally between 16 and 20 kWh per 100 km.
This feat raises fears that Mercedes-Benz will rob Tesla of leadership in innovation. Tesla’s advantage and strength so far has been based on its technological prowess over its rivals.
The Consumer Will Soon Be Able to Benefit From These Innovations
Mercedes-Benz said it used aerodynamic profile, improved braking energy recovery, a lighter battery, solar panels on the roof to power the on-board systems, new lighter materials and a transmission system with very little loss of energy.
The same car with the most efficient thermal engine would have consumed certainly three to four liters of fuel for 100 km, according to the company.
The electrical energy consumed is equivalent to about one liter but the efficiency of the traditional transmission is less advantageous than electric technology, Mercedes-Benz said. A new battery chemistry allows in particular to make it denser, therefore smaller and less heavy for as much.
This is the next generation of chemistry, which the manufacturer intends to deploy more widely by 2024, it said.
“Many of the innovative developments are already being integrated into production, some of them in the next generation of modular architecture for compact and midsize Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” said Markus Schäfer, chief technology officer responsible for development and purchasing. “We will keep testing the limits of what’s possible.