Like many carmakers these days, Mercedes-Benz has already gone on record saying electric cars are the future. The company plans to unleash at least 10 EVs on the world in the next three years, as part of a plan to make its entire fleet of new vehicles carbon-neutral by 2039. So far, however, Mercedes’s forays into the Tesla-fighting arena have been rather timid; the new Mercedes-Benz EQC electric crossover is about the most ambitious effort on sale yet, and that’s a GLC-Class-based crossover with barely more than 200 miles of range.
The new Vision EQS concept car, however, is exactly the sort of step the company needs to take if it’s serious about throwing its hat into the EV ring.
Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday, the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS is a conceptual version of an S-Class-sized electric luxury sedan. One look at it is all it takes to know it’s a concept car: the array of exotic lighting elements, the Hot Wheels proportions, the lack of necessary features like, y’know, door handles. Still, the basic flowing shape isn’t all that farfetched; the carmaker says those general forms and proportions “are stylistic heralds of a new generation of electric Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” so expect the basic shape to land in dealerships in the near future.
(One detail that we’d love to see reach production: the array of 188 LEDs that sit where the front grille would be on an internal-combustion car, allowing it to signal direction changes and other info in free-floating, creative ways.)
Inside lies an opulent, superyacht-inspired cabin for four adults to lounge around in, with a flowing center console running between the port and starboard seats fore and aft. The dashboard is an expanse of gilded, pin-striped wood, while the steering wheel a boxy yoke — neither of which seems likely to appear in a road-going Benz anytime soon. Nor does the infotainment system, which can project information all over the dash and other interior surfaces. The roof upholstery that incorporates recycled plastics into its textile composition, however, seems more likely to reach the streets.
Of course, as a concept car, any powertrain or performance specs are largely imaginary — but the Vision EQS’s hypothetical ones strike a nice balance between realistic and intriguing. A pair of electric motors — one front, one rear — deliver a combined output of more than 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, putting it roughly on par with a modern V8-powered luxury sedan and delivering a claimed 0-60 mile-per-hour dash of roughly 4.5 seconds. More impressive is the claimed range of up to 435 miles via a battery pack of around 100 kilowatt-hours, which would be a game-changing advance for Mercedes’s EVs.
Perhaps most excitingly, the EQS won’t be relegated to the auto show floor forever. On Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius told Autocar that the car would indeed reach production as an EV flagship to sit alongside the conventionally-propelled S-Class at the top of the lineup (though he admitted the concept would need plenty of changes before being ready for dealerships). Kallenius didn’t peg the car’s production release to a specific date, but given Mercedes’s aforementioned plans for those 10 EVsm by 2022, we wouldn’t be shocked to see it by then.
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