That’s very interesting news. If the concept really presents new construction methods, Mercedes-Benz will be the first legacy automaker to follow Tesla’s manufacturing idea. Sandy Munro has been preaching about that for years, which explains why he was so happy to see the Model Y present that idea in its teardown.
Schäfer could be talking about smaller castings, but that would make no sense. Many cars use them nowadays, and there is nothing “pioneering” about them anymore. In other words, the Mercedes-Benz COO would only mention them if there was something unique about them – at least for the German brand.
If Mercedes-Benz follows the same strategy as Tesla, it will have a massive casting for the front structure, a gigantic one for the rear underbody, and a structural battery pack in the middle. That solution is said to reduce weight, present better quality than a common monocoque body-in-white, and ensure a stiffer structure.
All that would be crucial for the VISION EQXX to achieve an energy efficiency of more than 6 mi/kWh (9.7 km/kWh) and a single digit for kWh per 100 km. That’s the least Schäfer said he expects to get from the electric concept.
With these numbers and the estimated range of more than 1,000 km (621.4 miles) on a full charge, we can calculate the size of its battery pack: around 100 kWh. The COO said that the same battery pack would be used “in a forthcoming Mercedes compact car.” That can mean the VISION EQXX sits on the future MMA platform. A new Mercedes-Benz CLA, perhaps? It was once the most aerodynamic car in the world…
If anyone guessed that it would have the same battery pack as the EQS, with 108 kWh, that would make it travel 9.2 km/kWh and be a flawed bet. The Mercedes-Benz COO already said it goes a little further than that.
Schäfer also mentioned that the German automaker is working to improve energy density by 20% at the cell level. That could mean that the VISION EQXX will present one of the new chemistries Mercedes-Benz is working on: anything at the cell level has to do with that.
The few concept teasers Mercedes-Benz presented at the event show a really low EV. Volkswagen would call that a flat vehicle, as it refers to its Project Trinity. In a way, the VISION EQXX seems to be to Mercedes-Benz what the Artemis Project is for Audi.
More than making a compelling electric car, Mercedes-Benz has a reputation to defend: it has to prove it can do better than young companies like Tesla or Lucid, even if with a much more cautious approach. While Tesla already sells a car with mega castings, Mercedes-Benz may put one into a concept and study if it is a good idea to “integrate these new technologies in future Mercedes road cars,” as Schäfer said.
Expect that to happen only if millions of kilometers of tests prove that the cars can be as safe and reliable as the current ones. Tesla is known for its “deliver now, fix later” approach, which allows it to be faster but often with compromises for customers.