Seeing a concept car on the pages of a magazine or on the interwebs these days can be said to be a pretty normal thing, however looking forward to seeing one at the motor show in the flesh is something many look forward to. Now, imagine seeing one in person on a normal but swelteringly hot Thursday morning. It’s like shaking David Coulthard’s hand and introducing yourself while controlling yourself from becoming a rabid fan. Seeing this concept in person for the very first time is pretty much the same thing.
First shown at the Paris motor show in 2016, the Concept EQ is not only a preview of what’s to come in the nearest future from Mercedes-Benz but rather an important car for the brand as it represents the beginning of EQ, a new brand represents future mobility with a comprehensive suite of services, technologies and innovations joining the brand’s portfolio alongside Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach. Now, the drivable concept electric SUV made its first-ever appearance in Malaysia and Southeast Asia to give a glimpse of the future of motoring.
More than just moving sculpture, the Concept EQ demonstrates Mercedes-Benz’s futuristic approach to interior ergonomics, connectivity, electric vehicle architecture and drive systems alongside autonomous self-driving features.
“The EQ brand from Mercedes-Benz stands for Electric Intelligence and is derived from the brand values of emotion and intelligence. It encompasses all major aspects of customer-oriented electric mobility and goes beyond the vehicle itself. As such, EQ offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem of products, services, technologies and innovations. As the premium market leader, we are committed to remaining an industry pioneer with state-of-the-art products and innovations. In short, we are boldly flipping the switch – creating tomorrow today by developing the needs for the coming mobility landscape,” said Dr Claus Weidner, President and CEO, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia.
EQ offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem with products, services, technologies and innovations. The spectrum ranges from electric vehicles to wall boxes and charging services to home energy storage units. Mercedes-Benz will market future battery-electric vehicles under the brand name EQ. The name stands for “Electric Intelligence” and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of “Emotion and Intelligence”.
“The Concept EQ is a cornerstone of our new electric mobility brand, EQ. It presents an innovative product approach as part of a holistic and comprehensive ecosystem for future mobility. In every way, this vehicle proudly manifests its claim of being a technology leader – meeting the demands of sustainable and future-driven motoring. We are delighted to be able to showcase the Mercedes-Benz Concept EQ here in Malaysia, marking the beginning of a pure-electric product offensive which will wear the EQ badge,” said Mark Raine, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Passenger Cars, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia.
The Concept EQ isn’t just based on a one-off platform, in fact, the concept car is based on a scalable architecture specifically for battery-electric vehicles. The wheelbase and track width, as well as all other system components especially the batteries, are variable designed within the modular building-block system.
This enables engineers and designers the flexibility to build SUVs, saloons, coupes, and other model series in the future. Constructed 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 fibre. This ensures that the requirements in terms of lightweight design, strength and cost efficiency are ideally met.
As an SUV crossover, the dimensions of the Concept EQ for length, width and height are 4730 mm, 1948 mm and 1560 mm respectively, marginally smaller dimensions to the current production Mercedes-Benz GLC. With the upcoming Audi E-Tron SUV nearing its development completion, and the massive pool of spy shots of the production EQ testing on the internets, suggests the production version could see the light sooner than we think.
The exterior design could be said to be as close to production, however rough on the edges still. The squat, elongated greenhouse gives rise to muscular proportions and the new electro-look is the result of a flowing transition from the gleaming black bonnet across the windscreen to the dark-tinted panoramic roof – an exciting contrast to the alubeam silver paintwork.
Scarcely visible body panel joins, concealed windscreen wipers, cameras instead of exterior mirrors and an absence of conventional door handles emphasise the stretched, dynamic silhouette, which the exterior cameras may not be seen on the production version due to government regulations. An intentionally reduced side view, broad shoulders and large 21-inch light-alloy wheels gives this concept a really sporty stance
The driver-centric interior is minimalistic and boasts touch-based controls that reflect the smooth and seamless exterior styling. The asymmetrical design of the instrument panel with its large, floating wide-screen display is the only familiar element in contemporary Mercedes-Benz models.
The innovative, digital user experience differentiates Concept EQ from the familiar control logic in today’s vehicles, while giving a peek into the future of user interaction at Mercedes-Benz, and could likely feature the brand’s latest MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User eXperience) user experience system in the production version.
With the world now accustomed to touchscreens, the Concept EQ features an all-new user interface, which ditches traditional switches and knobs in favour of touch-sensitive surfaces, 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 (OLED = organic light emitting diode). 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 massive 24-inch TFT high-definition wide-screen display presents all the relevant driving information, such as speed, range, driving data or navigation and map details. The innovation is apparent from the 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 the extra content is on view, is left to the driver’s personal preference.
The new brand encompasses all key aspects of customer-focused electric mobility and extends beyond the vehicle itself. Future models will embody the essentials of state-of-the-art electric mobility: the fusion of emotively appealing and intelligent design, exceptional driving pleasure, high everyday practicality and maximum safety, a hallmark of every vehicle from the inventor of the automobile.
What gets the heart pumping are two electric motors on the front and rear axles and a battery in the vehicle floor. The electric all-wheel drive with axle-variable torque distribution and a battery installed deep in the vehicle floor between the axles boasts a total output of up to 300 kW (402 hp) in the most powerful variant and a maximum torque of up to 700 Nm!
The Concept EQ accelerates to 100 km/h in under five seconds and has a range of up to 500 kilometres. Electric vehicles are no longer milk carts. The high-efficiency lithium-ion battery originates from the Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE. Thanks to their modular design, the innovative battery systems have a model-specific total capacity of over 70 kWh.
The Concept EQ brings together the latest-generation charging technologies. The vehicle is ready for charging at home by induction or wallbox for faster charging times. Mercedes-Benz energy storage units of the future could form an ideal symbiosis with the cordless charging system via induction or wall box. Households that have their own photovoltaic system and which store their surplus solar power in a Mercedes-Benz energy storage unit can thus benefit from a “green” source of power that is extensively independent of the energy market.
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 up to sometimes 150 kW is 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 kilometres to be recharged within five minutes.
It goes without saying that Concept EQ also features the latest driver assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. Using highly accurate maps from our 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, always under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations. There is a special focus on the optimised interplay between the individual features, so-called “sensor fusion”, i.e. the intelligent combination of data from different sensors. In the opinion of experts at Mercedes-Benz, this is one of the key requirements on the way to automated driving.
But, the engineers have gone one step further: the Concept 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. It is also helpful for the driver to be informed about
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. The innovative consumption display provides the driver with feedback on their driving style while drawing attention to energy-saving possibilities.
The wide-screen display can be used to tell the driver that the current range is not just sufficient to reach the desired destination, but would also allow a detour for a spur-of-the-moment visit to friends. In addition, the driver can collect bonus kilometres as a reward for the especially efficient use of the traction battery – a functionality similar to the one already familiar from current models. The trick is that the collected bonus kilometres make the occupants aware of the attractions or interesting places they can reach from the current location thanks to their driving style.