Though electric vehicles (EVs) can look like the cars we have been using for decades, the fact that they have very different powertrains mean that their architecture can be optimised and made more efficient. However, until recently, most manufacturers took the easy approach by just substituting the internal combustion engine powertrain with an electric motor, using the same design and retaining the same drawbacks.
Now things are changing as EV development is accelerating and new models are being revealed which have been developed from scratch and specifically for an electric powertrain. The latest example is the Generation EQ by Mercedes‑Benz which shows how electric cars can soon move into the fast lane. The close-to-production concept car marks the launch of an architecture for battery-electric vehicles across all models.
Mercedes‑Benz will market future battery-electric vehicles under the brand name ‘EQ’. which stands for ‘Electric Intelligence’ and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of ‘Emotion and Intelligence’.
The concept car, unveiled at the Paris Motorshow gives a preview of a new generation of vehicles with battery-electric drives. The dynamic exterior design with its new electro-look underlines the focus on the powerful 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.
Similar to the latest series-produced models from Mercedes‑Benz, the vehicle architecture builds on an intelligent multi-material mix of steel, aluminium and carbonfibre. This ensures that the requirements in terms of lightweight design, strength and cost efficiency are ideally met.
With a range of up to 500 kms and the typical Mercedes strengths of safety, comfort, functionality and connectivity, Generation EQ is said to meet every demand in terms of contemporary, sustainable mobility.
Also on the inside, the vehicle offers innovative solutions, including a completely new interior concept. 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.
The interior is characterised by contemporary luxury, this finding its main expression in an all-new user interface, which combines emotive appeal with intelligence and user-friendliness while dispensing with traditional switches and knobs, except for the electric seat adjustment. 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 information density on the displays can be increased step-by-step from a digital presentation and built up into a single- or dual-tube instrument containing more detailed information and feedback on speed and range. An attractive user interface design is ensured by, among other things, a world of colours in electric blue, white and rose gold – the colours of the instrument displays adapt, depending on driving mode or charging process, to allow fast and intuitive recognition.
Bordered in rose gold, the centre console appears to float in space: dispensing with mechanical controls, it is equipped with touch-sensitive elements. Similar 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 there are no 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.
“The mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. ‘Generation EQ’ is the logical fusion of all four pillars,” said Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes‑Benz Cars. “The emission-free automobile is the future. And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive electric ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations.”
“In 2007, the e-smart was a pioneer of electric motoring. We’re now ‘flipping the switch’ for the launch of an electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class.”