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Mercedes-Benz gets on the CASE with Generation EQ close-to-production electric concept

At the Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its close-to-production concept Generation EQ electric vehicle—the forerunner of Mercedes-Benz’s new product brand for electric mobility, EQ. The name EQ stands for “Electric Intelligence” and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of “Emotion and Intelligence”.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes‑Benz Cars, said that the mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric (CASE), adding that Mercedes-Benz has formed a CASE team. The Generation EQ is the logical fusion of all four pillars, he said.

(This sounds similar in concept, if not in instantiation, to Volkswagen’s Think New strategy’s focus on electric, autonomous, connected and intuitively usable cars, with the new I.D. as its standard-bearer. Earlier post.)

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The “Generation EQ” concept vehicle, with the appearance of a sporty SUV coupé, previews a new generation of vehicles with battery-electric drives. A dynamic exterior design underlines the focus on the electric drive system: two electric motors, with a system output that can be increased to up to 300 kW thanks to scalable battery components, and permanent all-wheel drive deliver the guarantee of dynamic high-level performance with a range of up to 500 km (311 miles).

The basis for dynamic high-level performance and safety comes courtesy of the electric all-wheel drive with axle-variable torque distribution and a battery installed deep in the vehicle floor between the axles. With a total output of up to 300 kW in the most powerful variant and a maximum torque of up to 700 N·m Generation EQ accelerates to 100 km/h in under five seconds.

In the transfer to series production, Mercedes‑Benz benefits not only from its in-house development and production expertise, but also from the Group’s cross-model-series modular strategy for alternative drive systems and direct access to key components for electric mobility. The high-efficiency lithium-ion battery originates from the Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE. With a modular design, the battery systems have a model-specific total capacity of more than 70 kWh.

Generation EQ also brings together the latest-generation charging technologies. The vehicle is ready both for charging at home by induction or wallbox and for fast charging.

Significantly reduced charging times will come with the introduction of fast charging by the Combined Charging System (CCS). This European charging standard allows for fast charging with a far greater capacity than at present. Currently, charging capacities from 50 kW up to sometimes 150 kW are possible. In the medium- to long-term, a charging capacity of even up to 300 kW is planned. This would enable sufficient power for 100 locally emission-free kilometers to be recharged within five minutes.

Generation EQ also features the latest driver assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. Using highly accurate maps from Daimler partner HERE, the systems know such things as the precise curve radii as well as the position and size of a roundabout. The vehicle can then automatically adjust the speed and driving dynamics to give the driver even greater comfort and relaxation. EQ thus takes a further step on the road to autonomous driving, but always under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations.

Generation EQ is equipped with Car-to‑X technology and can exchange information with the infrastructure and other vehicles—an ideal basis for a series of new driver assistance features that build on existing systems and thus take a further step in the direction of accident prevention.

Another highlight is the high-detail 3D city view, based on the map platform from HERE. This makes it possible, for example when searching for points of interest, for restaurants, shopping opportunities and tourist attractions to be especially highlighted. Other buildings recede elegantly into the background. A further focus in the design of the new HERE maps lies in reduced visual complexity while the vehicle is in motion.

This means that the driver can see only those buildings and information that are relevant for navigation. There is an exceptional interplay between cockpit and map, with the buildings on the map reflecting details of the instrument lighting. At the same time, the map display also gives a preview of new features, especially for electric vehicles: the driver is provided with information on charging stations as well as opportunities for inductive charging along the route. The high-detail display also includes an indication of the current energy consumption along the route.

The focus of the user interface is on optimal driver assistance, such as when the main concern is to make best possible use of the available energy in the batteries in order to achieve the best possible range.

New architecture. The new generation of electric vehicles will be based on an architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models, which is scalable in every respect and usable across all models: the wheelbase and track width as well as all other system components, especially the batteries, are variable thanks to the modular building-block system.

The vehicle concept is thus optimized to meet every requirement of a future-oriented, battery-electric model family. The basic architecture is suitable for SUVs, sedans, coupés and other model series.

Similarly to the latest series-produced models from Mercedes‑Benz, the vehicle architecture builds on an intelligent multi-material mix of steel, aluminium and carbon fiber.

Interior. The focus of the driver-oriented cockpit is on simple, touch-based controls with a new electro-look consistently reflecting the exterior styling. The asymmetrical design of the instrument panel with its large, floating wide-screen display is tailored to the driver. The innovative, digital user experience differentiates Generation EQ from the familiar control logic in today’s vehicles, while giving a peek into the future of user interaction at Mercedes‑Benz.

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Generation EQ dispenses with traditional switches and knobs, except for the electric seat adjustment typical of Mercedes. Two of the three narrow spokes on the steering wheel are provided with touch controls, which are integrated into OLED displays. They indicate icons and symbols in the respective menus. The driver can swipe through the various menus and confirm their selection with a click.

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The 24-inch (53 x 11 cm) TFT high-definition wide-screen display presents all the relevant information, such as speed, range, driving data or navigation and map details. There is differentiation between a highly reduced and a complex display, including intermediate stages. Whether there is a low information density with a very clean look to the display, or whether extra content is on view, is left to the driver's personal preference.

The information density can be increased step-by-step from a digital display and built up into a single- or dual-tube instrument containing more detailed information and feedback on speed and range. These modular displays allow the content to be individualized.

The center console appears to float in space: dispensing with mechanical controls, it is equipped with touch-sensitive elements. Similarly to the touch controls on the steering wheel, the driver can use a finger to operate the automatic climate control and the infotainment system. As Generation EQ is devoid of conventional exterior mirrors, cameras are used to project an image of the traffic behind onto integrated displays in the doors. Both the door openers and the electric window lifters are touch-controlled.

Comments

HarveyD

Good going for Mercedes. An extended range of 311 miles competes well with TESLA's 100D.

Charging at 300 KW rate is the minimum required for a 150 kWh battery pack. A higher rate of 600 KW to 750 KW would be better for quicker charges.

The horizontal digital dashboard display (a copy of Toyota's 2016/2017 Prius) is more practical than the vertical 17 inch TELSA display. TESLA should update its format ASAP.

electric-car-insider.com

Harvey, a 150kWh pack would be enough for 450-500 miles on a single charge. The notion that there is a viable market for cars that can quick-turn after 7 hours or more of driving is very far outside the realm of sound thinking.

A 600 mile trip - 10 hours of driving in real world conditions - would only require 13 minutes of enroute charging time at Tesla's 135kW standard.

Even Musk has said that it is unlikely that Tesla will produce cars with batteries greater than 100 kWh.

Speculating about 600 to 750 kW charging for passenger cars just makes you look uninformed or daft, unless you qualify it with a very far time horizon. Even if it could be done cheaply and safely, it may never happen because the customer requirement doesn't exist.


ChrisL

Looks like a conversion car, with that big, tall, boxy front end — designed to house an ICE under the huge hood?

Leland

"The notion that there is a viable market for cars that can quick-turn after 7 hours or more of driving is very far outside the realm of sound thinking."

Actually, there is a very viable market for such vehicles. In fact, you've described many gasoline- and diesel-fueled cars. And the ranges keep getting longer: there are probably a dozen cars on sale now with ranges of more than 600 miles.

DaveD

eci,
Harvey has an irrational fear of any car with less that 500 miles of range because he lives in Canada where it gets cold. Yet he's ok with H2 vehicles that have nowhere to fuel up regardless of range.

You're discussing logic with someone who is not willing to talk about it rationally.

DaveD

Leland,

You're conflating the fact that vehicles have been required to improve their mileage so they are going longer distances with the same amount of fuel...with some market demand for driving 600+ miles without stopping.

Sure, it's a convenience because you don't have to go to a gas station as often. But if you want to go there, then there are 70 million American homes with a place to plug in and they would never have to go to a gas station because they can charge up every night at home. In fact, that's a big driver behind many early EV sales.

electric-car-insider.com

Agree, DaveD.

Leland, the capability of an ICE to travel several hundred miles on a single tank of fuel that can quickly be refilled does not indicate a sizable market for people who want to drive more than 10 hours at a stretch. As DaveD points out, it's more a function of the fact that ICE cars can not be conveniently and safely be refueled at home while the owner sleeps.

Refueling at a gas station is inconvenient, people want to do it infrequently. Thus, longer range requirements for ICEs than EVs.

Harvey pretends that people want to drive 7 hours, recharge from full to empty in 12 minutes, and then drive another 7 hours. That's a vanishingly small market; most people traveling that far would fly. Fewer still would pay what it would cost to carry a super large battery around for the once every few years trip. Fewer still would pay what it would cost for 600-750 kW charging, even if it were feasible.

Harvey's other concern, that battery and cabin heat require electrical load, is similarly misplaced. Better insulation, preconditioning from mains and liquid bio or synfuels are much more likely to provide cost effective heating in extreme cold conditions.


Leland

Unfortunately, both DaveD and electric-car have misread my post.

electric-car pooh-poohed a 150kW battery pack, stating "the notion that there is a viable market for cars that can quick-turn after 7 hours or more of driving is very far outside the realm of sound thinking." I simply pointed out that there are millions of vehicles with exactly that feature. However, I did not make any claims as to exactly how that fact plays into the conversation.

electric car is correct in stating "the capability of an ICE to travel several hundred miles on a single tank of fuel that can quickly be refilled does not indicate a sizable market for people who want to drive more than 10 hours at a stretch." However, that is why I did not make that claim, which electric car failed to notice.

DaveD assumed that I am "conflating the fact that vehicles have been required to improve their mileage so they are going longer distances with the same amount of fuel...with some market demand for driving 600+ miles without stopping." Actually, I wasn't saying that, either. Rather, I was saying as little as possible in the hope that a meaningful discussion on range and customer expectations might arise.

For example, many modern cars can indeed do what electric-car says no one wants: drive for ten hours on a tank of fuel. And not counting the credit card transaction, that can take as little as a minute (I've timed it repeatedly). This is not, as DaveD says, a function of improved fuel economy, as OEMs could have reduced fuel tank size on such vehicles.

So why do millions of cars have this feature? And how important is it? Can you provide any data? By the way, I am not anti-EV; indeed, I am in the business. I do, however, believe in looking at EVs with a critical eye so as to better understand and mitigate their weaknesses - something early adopters are not always willing to do.

HarveyD

Reality says that future BEVs/FCEVs will have extended all weather range as an acceptable cost option.

Typical range will be about 300 miles (for early extended range BEVs/FCEVs) for city and suburban driving in mild weather.

However, improved extended range of up to 500 miles will soon be available for people driving in cold/snowy adverse weather conditions. It's just a question of time, mainly for batteries and FC normal evolution.

With regards to ultra quick charging facilities, the average poster will evolve and soon see the advantages of (automatically adjusting) 400+ KW DC pulsating units, much the same way as they accept current 140 KW to 150 KW units because almost nobody like to sit around for 30+ minutes for a full charge.

electric-car-insider.com

I apologize if I read something into your post that you didn't intend, Leland.

Naturally, extreme range and hyper quick charge are a function of cost. If Harvey's fantastic projections could be accomplished in a time frame worth talking about, it would be an interesting topic of discussion.

But unless you're considering fully autonomous cars (vans, more likely) the utility (and safety) of driving more than 10 hours at a stretch without a break becomes highly questionable.

As long as the tiny fraction of the population who needs that requirement can be served by liquid fuels, what would be the purpose of spending the obscene amount of money required to accomplish the feat with a BEV?

HarveyD

Like with current ICEVs/PHEVs, people should have the choice to buy 300 miles medium range BEVs/FCEVs or 500 miles extended range BEV/FCEVs.

Any range below 300 miles (except for city BEVs) is passé and so are slow Level II public chargers. Near future (before 2020) Level III units will charge at 150 to 200 KW and future (before 2025) Level IV chargers will charge at 300 to 400 KW.

Our current Toyotas HEVs do between 800 and 1,000 Km per tank on regular basis. We normally fill up at 600+ Km, specially during winter times, for safety/security reasons.

Technology will evolve and range restriction for BEVs/FCEVs (less than 500 miles) will be past history by 2025/2027 or so. Much better Batteries and FCs + improved much lighter vehicles will make it possible.

electric-car-insider.com

if battery energy density doubles within 10 years, a Tesla class automobile could carry 509 miles worth of range. And if someone wants to pay the freight, bully for them.

But it's probably less interesting than to consider what the optimum price/performance point is, and when it will be reached.

Reasonably priced 200 mile BEVs and 50 mile PHEVs, which provide all the utility that most consumers require, will be big winners.

Dr. Strange Love

Self driving vehicles will always be in the shop for Suspension and Wheel repairs. This is a Risk that cannot be quantified right now.

HarveyD

Sorry e.c.i.c, I (and the majority of current ICEV users) have no use for 200 miles good weather BEVs. However, 50 miles PHEVs are a worthy solution for people with home charging facilities and 50 miles (or less) daily runs.

The majority of current ICEV users to not have easy access to home charging facilities and need BEVs that can be quick charged (in 10-12 minutes) once a week at a public quick charge station. To pick up enough electrons in 10-12 minutes to drive around for a full week (an average of 346 good weather miles) may require improved (new generation) charging facilities. Those new charging facilities will have 2X to 3X current TESLA installations capabilities.

Both, improved battery packs for extended all weather range and quick charge facilities will be available by 2025/2027 at an acceptable price.

Concurrently, FCEVs with enough all weather extended range and ultra quick refill (4 minutes) will be available at about the same price.

electric-car-insider.com

Harvey, given that demand charges are already an issue for QC, what makes you think that increasing charge speed (massive infrastructure upgrades required from substation to charge point) would be more likely than multi-family-dwelling and on-street charging. These are already being installed in California, soon on a massive scale, as we (and Mike here at GCC) reported on early this year.

Up to 30 mile commutes could easily be facilitated by Level 1 overnight charging.

Have you ever looked at commute stats? Care to guess what percentage of the population that covers?

Of the remaining folks, how many do you think go shopping once a week and could easily charge for an hour without any waiting or inconvenience - even 10-12 minutes as you suggest?

What is the rational basis for suggesting that a liquid fuel paradigm is a requirement?

HarveyD

e.c.i.com: Near future graphene enhanced, ultra quick charge, (up to 1000 Wh/Kg) batteries will solve most low range current restrictions for BEVs and PHEVs by 2025/2027.

Improved public charging facilities will also have to be greatly improved by up to 4X together with improved units, cables and connectors: to pick/deliver enough electrons for 300 to 500 miles in about 12 minutes. Could also be done by 2025/27 or so.

HarveyD

By the way, three (3) existing 150 KW charging units with three (3) conductor cable and connector could charge at 450 KW rate.

Whenever (very soon) individual charging facilities are increased to 200-250 KW, a 3 in 1 facility could charge at 600-750 KW?

Alternatively, future 300+ kWh battery packs could easily be temporarily split into three (3) smaller 100+ kWh packs for quicker charging with three (3) chargers.

By 2025, ultra quick charge graphene enhanced lithium batteries will need improved charging facilities to transfer enough energy in about 10-15 minutes for 300 to 500 miles of normal driving.

Please do not give up on normal technical evolution. Early 100 miles BEVs with soon be replaced with 300+ miles units.

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