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Article published : Tuesday, September 10th, 2019 (4:00 am)
theverge.com
[theverge.com]
Mercedes-Benz’s Vision EQS concept charts a new path for the company’s EVs Images: Daimler Mercedes-Benz is just one car into its ”EQ” family of all-electric vehicles, but the company is already redefining what the future of that lineup will look like with an all-new concept car released today at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The new concept, called the Vision EQS, is supposed to help sketch out the ”thrilling, futuristic design for EQ models from Mercedes-Benz” going forward, according to the German automaker. It’s an electric land yacht Let’s get the performance specs out of the way first, since they’re the most straightforward thing about the Vision EQS (even though this is a car that will likely never go into production as-is). Mercedes-Benz says it’s aiming to squeeze up to 700 kilometers (or 435 miles) of range out of a (roughly) 100kWh battery pack, with ”more than 469 horsepower” on offer. The automaker says the concept would be able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 4.5 seconds, which is fast, but certainly not record-setting fast. One thing that’s interesting about the Vision EQS from a strategic perspective is that Mercedes-Benz says the concept was designed around a ”fully-variable battery-electric drive platform” that is ”scalable and usable on a cross-model basis.” In other words, Mercedes-Benz is further teasing the idea of developing a modular electric platform that it can adapt to multiple models, much like Volkswagen is doing with its MEB architecture. This could theoretically help Mercedes-Benz both save money and bring more electric cars to the market faster, and build some of those vehicles with bigger battery systems than the one found on its first long-range EV, the EQC, which was not a truly ground-up EV. But the Vision EQS is a concept car from a wealthy legacy automaker, so let’s get to the really fun ludicrous bits, starting with the interior, which Mercedes-Benz says ”draws its inspiration from the world of luxury yachts.” The automaker likens the ”deep and open spatial architecture” inside the car to that of the deck of a boat, which I can’t really argue with based on the photos provided. Mercedes-Benz says it has also ”systematically developed the use of sustainable materials” in the Vision EQS, which is a breathy way of saying there’s a lot of recycled plastic in this car. The interior is lined with a leather alternative that’s made from recycled plastic bottles, while the roof liner has been formed out of a ”high-quality textile that was created by adding a quantity of recycled ’ocean waste’ plastic,” which Mercedes-Benz says takes ”the use of sustainable materials to a whole new level.” (The plastic bottle material is, in some places, contrasted by a diamond pattern of rose gold-colored highlights.) The Vision EQS uses a lot of recycled plastic Inside the Vision EQS, there are also ”organically emerging displays and projection surfaces,” which Mercedes-Benz says can allow ”digital content [to] be immersively experienced over the entire area.” That sounds not far off from what the automaker showed off in the F015, a self-driving concept car from 2015, which was theoretically designed to make it look to passengers like they were rolling through any kind of outdoor setting. Unfortunately Mercedes-Benz didn’t provide any images or additional information that explains what this part of the EQS experience means, so on balance, it simply sounds like you might be able to watch Succession in 180 degrees while kicking back in the car’s luxurious seats, which sounds lovely. That experience will undoubtedly feel luxe regardless of whether or not the fake leather feels plasticky, because there’s also more rose gold on the speaker covers, and there’s a ”fragrance flask encased in a decorative holder like a jewel.” (This is another touch thaat has been unfortunately left undocumented in Mercedes-Benz’s press images.) These touches, Mercedes-Benz says, help ”showcase exquisite craftsmanship and round out the trendsetting interior of the Vision EQS.” Gawking aside, Mercedes-Benz is also using the EQS as a platform to discuss the automaker’s ambitions to go beyond switching to clean electric mobility by adopting a more wholesale carbon neutral approach. Mercedes-Benz says it wants to eventually buy battery cells that are CO2-neutral in their production, for instance, which it says can be accomplished by using power generated from renewable energy sources ”plus recycling and respect for human rights in the supply chain.” Large corporations, and especially automakers, don’t have the greatest track record when it comes to putting the environment — or human lives — before profit, so this concept offers a chance to hold Mercedes-Benz to its word in the next few years. In that sense, the Vision EQS really is a glimpse of what’s to come from the world’s oldest automaker.
Author : Sean O’Kane