One could argue Mercedes set the paradigm for the luxury sedan in the internal-combustion era with icons like the S-Class and the W124 — but other manufacturers have usurped Mercedes's status in the electric realm. Tesla introduced the Model S back in 2012 and has made continual improvements since. And its biggest challenger on range and performance, the Air, comes from another EV startup, Lucid Motors.
But expect that dynamic to change. Mercedes has already unveiled the seriously impressive EQS sedan, an electric counterpart to the S-Class, which can deliver up to 350 miles of EPA range. Mercedes-Benz's new Vision EQXX concept, unveiled today, shows that the brand is already thinking well beyond that.
The headline for the Vision EQXX is electric range. Mercedes says the concept car can deliver 620 miles, enough to account for even the most elaborate and contrived range anxiety scenario, on a single charge. Mercedes notes that it's enough juice to travel from New York City to Cincinnati, Ohio or Paris to Berlin without stopping.
As impressive is how Mercedes achieved this range: groundbreaking efficiency. The Vision EQXX has a benchmark drag coefficient of just 0.17, well below the Mercedes EQS's record of 0.20. (In other words: the Vision EQXX is more aerodynamic than an American football.) Mercedes says the battery components on the Vision EQXX are 30 percent lighter than the EQS and take up 50 percent less space.
Mercedes says the Vision EQXX has a new electric drive system that delivers energy from the batteries to the wheels with 95% efficiency, well north of the 30% from a combustion car. The Vision EQXX offers more than six miles of range per kWh, which Mercedes says would be the equivalent of a combustion car earning 235 mpg. Mercedes also adds efficiency to the production process with the EQXX using sustainable materials derived from funguses, cacti and bamboo.
One should take the Vision EQXX with a few caveats. First off, it's a concept car. Being able to build a vehicle that can perform great feats with an endless budget is not the same as being able to do it at a reasonable cost with a production car. And the Vision EQXX, even if it could be put into production, might not be a viable production car; most Mercedes buyers would opt for more performance rather than a sleek, low-horsepower range specialist. Still, the Vision EQXX is still an exciting sign of where Mercedes-Benz plans to be when the brand goes all but electric by 2030.