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.)
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.
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.
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.