Paris Motor Show, late September 2016. Mercedes-Benz issued invitations to a major press conference. The place was packed long before the start as journalists from all over the world secured the best positions to find out what everyone in the hall was waiting for: what the inventors of the motor car have to say about the future of the automobile. There are still 30 seconds to go according to the countdown on the LED screen. Music plays and beats fill the air along with an attention-grabbing light show.
Latest generation with environmentally friendly drive.
The time has come: Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, appears on stage. “Bonjour from Mercedes-Benz and smart!” He immediately introduces the main theme of the press conference: electric mobility. It took longer than anticipated for this phenomenon to gain momentum. Only one brand has never been shy about getting involved: smart. The first all-electric city runabout rolled off the production line in 2007. Now, here in Paris, Zetsche has unveiled the latest generation to feature an environmentally friendly drive system. The spotlight is on three models: the smart fortwo coupé, the smart fortwo cabrio and now the smart forfour which for the first time is also running on electric power. These three vehicles are ideal for urban traffic: with a range of up to 160 kilometres, charging time has been reduced by around half.
|smart fortwo coupé:|
|Fuel consumption combined: 4.5–4.1 l/100 km;|
|combined CO₂ emissions: 104–93 g/km.*|
|smart fortwo cabrio:|
|Fuel consumption combined: 4.3–4.2 l/100 km;|
|combined CO₂ emissions: 99–97 g/km.*|
|Fuel consumption combined: 4.7–4.2 l/100 km;|
|combined CO₂ emissions: 108–96 g/km.*|
Start of an electric offensive, which covers all vehicle segments.
Zetsche addressed a spellbound audience at the Paris Motor Show regarding the various step changes in the automotive market. He calmly set out Daimler’s response. It is clear that the company has always been travelling the road to the future, but that the way now demands some serious leaps – with electric mobility the next major objective. “Now is the time to flip the switch,” says Zetsche while unveiling the new “EQ” product brand from Mercedes-Benz for electric mobility. The Group is ready for the launch of an electric product initiative covering all vehicle segments from the compact to the luxury class. The abbreviation EQ stands for “Electric Intelligence”. Daimler’s CEO had brought the first example with him: the EQ show car appears on stage. The concept vehicle, with the appearance of a sporty SUV coupé, gives a preview of a new generation of vehicles with battery-electric drive system.
The dynamic exterior design and the front section in particular reveal the focus on the powerful electric drive system: the “Black Panel” front grille is the distinguishing feature of the EQ. With two electric motors on the front and rear axles, the EQ is a powerful vehicle concept. Exceptional vehicle dynamics and safety come courtesy of the electric all-wheel drive with axle-variable torque distribution and a battery installed deep in the vehicle floor. The vehicle is based on the new Mercedes-Benz technology architecture for all-electric vehicles. The most powerful variant offers a total output of 300 kW and maximum torque of 700 Nm. The SUV accelerates to 100 km/h in under five seconds. With the help of a sophisticated operating strategy, the concept vehicle has a range of up to 500 kilometres.
5-minute charge time for 100 kilometres.
Latest-generation charging technology means that the battery with a total capacity of more than 70 kWh is recharged fast and efficiently. The EQ show car is suitable for charging at home by means of induction or a wallbox as well as for fast charging thanks to 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 are possible. In the medium to long term, even up to 300 kW is planned. This would enable sufficient power for 100 locally emission-free kilometres to be recharged within five minutes.
Scalable electric-vehicle architecture.
Specially developed for battery-electric models, the electric-vehicle architecture is scalable in every respect and usable across all models. The wheelbase, 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 optimised to meet every requirement of a battery-electric model family. The basic architecture is suitable for SUVs, saloons, coupés, cabriolets and other model series. Similarly to the latest series-produced models from Mercedes-Benz, the vehicle architecture builds on a precisely tailored material mix of steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. Requirements in terms of lightweight design, strength and cost efficiency are thus met in the optimum way.
“User Interaction” in the interior.
A look into the interior reveals a cockpit that is oriented around the driver with a large, 24-inch widescreen display, which appears to float. Operation is based on touchscreen controls. This means that the concept vehicle dispenses with the control logic of today’s vehicles and provides a glimpse of the future of what experts call “user interaction”. There are new design highlights to be found elsewhere in the vehicle interior, too. For example, the vehicle is equipped with four individual seats. The reduced volume, impression of floating in space and avant-garde seat upholstery layout make for a visual lightness. A tailored sound experience is provided by speakers integrated into the head restraints. The side bolsters are covered in light-white leather. Perforations with a pixel rain look reveal a view of particles in rose gold.
Vehicle notifies you when charging stations are nearby.
It goes without saying that the EQ offers the latest driver assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. The EQ thus takes the next step on the road to autonomous driving, always under the premise of safety and in compliance with statutory regulations. There is a special focus on the optimised interplay between the individual components, so-called “sensor fusion”, i.e. the combination of data from different sensors. In the opinion of experts at Mercedes-Benz, this is one of the key requirements of automated driving. But the engineers have gone one step further: for example, the vehicle is equipped with car-to-x technology and can exchange information with the infrastructure and other vehicles.
This is 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 nearby recharging opportunities. As soon as the EQ notices that the destination cannot be reached on the available battery charge, it advises the driver of appropriate options on the navigation map. Yet the digital interface can do considerably more: another highlight is the high-detail 3D city view with its new design.
Technical basics HERE.
Technically, this view is based on the map platform from HERE. This makes it possible, for example, to show restaurants, shopping opportunities and tourist attractions within the map view. A further focus lies in reduced visual complexity while the vehicle is in motion: the driver can see only those buildings and information that are relevant for navigation. The driver is provided with information on charging stations as well as opportunities for inductive charging along the route. The show car’s high-detail display also includes an indication of the current energy consumption along the route.
Comprehensive, electromobile ecosystem.
The EQ brand from Mercedes-Benz offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem with products, services, technologies and innovations. The spectrum ranges from electric vehicles to wallboxes and charging services to home energy storage units. Future EQ vehicle models will embody the essentials of state-of-the-art electric mobility: emotively appealing design, driving pleasure, high everyday practicality and maximum safety. The EQ show car in Paris signals the start. “We are ready for the future,” says Dieter Zetsche. “It will involve a revolution – although it will be a quiet and peaceful one.”