ENTER THE MERCEDES-EQS |
As Mercedes aspires to redefine the luxury sedan vehicle segment, it is also redefining the venerable S-Class. Enter the EQS – the first all-electric luxury sedan from Mercedes-EQ.
Brimming with state-of-the-art technology and a host of new features, the EQS is Mercedes-EQ’s first model based on the modular architecture for luxury and executive-class electric vehicles. The first two models on the market will be the EQS 450+ with 245 kW and the EQS 580 4MATIC with 385 kW and a range up to 770 km (WLTP).
New Era, New Technology
New to Mercedes and the EQS is Navigation with Electric Intelligence, which plans the fastest and most convenient route, including charging stops, and it reacts dynamically to traffic jams or other situational externalities that may affect the selected route, estimated time of arrival, and state of charge.
The EQS is also the first Mercedes to offer the option of activating completely new vehicle functions via over-the-air updates (OTA). However, the bulk of this offering still seems to be in development. Currently available to download are two special driving programs for young drivers and service staff, a selection of games and a demo program. In future, it will also be possible to increase the rear axle steering angle with OTA.
The augmented sound in the EQS further highlights the paradigm shift from the traditional internal combustion S-Class to the new all-electric S-Class. In combination with the Burmester surround sound system, the EQS features two soundscapes, Silver Waves and Vivid Flux, which can be selected or switched off on the central display. An alternative soundscape can be unlocked using OTA. Expanding on the existing Energizing Comfort feature, the EQS adds three Energizing Nature programs, Forest Glade, Sound of the Sea and Summer Rain. In combination with other programs that form part of Energizing Comfort, lighting moods and images create an immersive experience of sound and sight.
Taking a comprehensive approach to air quality in the EQS, the new Energizing Air Control Plus system uses a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter with a superior filtration level that enables it to trap fine particles, micro-particles, pollen and other substances. Thanks to an activated charcoal coating, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and odours are also reduced. According to Mercedes, the HEPA filter is also “certified in the area of viruses and bacteria”.
Available as an optional extra, at a price not yet disclosed, the all-new MBUX Hyperscreen is the pièce de résistance of the EQS interior. This large, curved glass unit sweeps almost from door to door in the front. No less than three screens are fitted behind the cover glass, merging with the sweeping glass unit to give the appearance of a single large screen. The Hyperscreen or, more correctly, hyper glass panel, contains a 12.3” digital instrument cluster in front of the driver, a 17.7” OLED infotainment screen in the middle, and a 12.3” OLED screen for the front passenger. Relying on intelligent, camera-based locking logic, the front-passenger display is automatically dimmed if the camera detects that the driver is looking at the front passenger display.
Also new to the EQS, and available as an optional extra, are automatic comfort doors at the front and rear, with the door handles extending automatically as the driver approaches the car and the driver’s door opening automatically when the driver is nearby. Using MBUX, the driver is also able to open the rear doors.
Form Follows Function
Although the EQS is a close relative of the new S-Class, it is built on an all-electric architecture. This completely new concept makes a rigorous purpose design possible. With its one-bow lines and cab-forward design with fastback, the EQS is distinguishable from vehicles with combustion engines, even at first glance. The design philosophy of Sensual Purity, combined with Progressive Luxury, is reflected in generously sculpted surfaces, reduced joints and seamless transitions.
The result is a car with the best drag coefficient ever, with a cd value of only 0.20, thus improving on the cd value of 0.208 of the Tesla Model S Plaid. This remarkable feat, achieved with 19” AMG wheel/tyre combination (available in the EU from the end of 2021) in Sport driving mode, will make the EQS the most aerodynamic production car in the world, with excellent benefits for operating range, wind noise levels, and recuperation of up to 290 kW of power for the battery.
Equipped with two permanently excited synchronous electric motors, the dual-motor all-wheel-drive EQS 580 4MATIC boasts an output of 385 kW and 855 Nm of torque. Equipped with Mercedes-EQ’s Torque Shift function, the required drive torque at the wheels is checked 10,000 times per minute and adjusted if necessary, making it much faster than would ever be possible with a mechanical all-wheel drive while ensuring intelligent, continuously variable distribution of drive torque between the rear and front electric motors. Brute power and intelligent torque distribution combine to accelerate this large luxury saloon from 0-100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds. Remarkably, this is significantly quicker than the internal combustion engine S 500 4MATIC (5.4 seconds).
The single-motor rear-wheel-drive EQS 450+, with 245 kW of power and 568 Nm of torque, accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. To optimise range, both the 4MATIC and the 450+ have a top speed that is electronically limited to 210 km/h, which is slightly slower than the electronically limited 250 km/h for its internal combustion engine S-Class siblings.
Showing a pragmatic approach to electric propulsion for its top-tier luxury offering, the modular drive concept employed by Mercedes-EQ allows for a wide range of maximum power (from 245 to 385 kW), as well as a future performance version with up to 560 kW. The modular powertrain concept also ensures lower pricing for the rear-wheel-drive versions, long-range for the 4MATIC versions, and high performance for its future performance (AMG?) version.
An Antidote for Range Anxiety
The EQS marks the launch of a new generation of batteries with significantly higher energy density. The battery in the EQS uses nickel, cobalt, and manganese chemistry in a ratio of 8:1:1. This reduces cobalt content by approximately 10% compared to previous cell chemistries used by Mercedes. We estimate that the EQS 580 4MATIC is fitted with a 120 kWh battery, with a usable energy content of 107.8 kWh, which is approximately 26 percent more than the battery in the EQC. Mercedes did not reveal the usable energy content of the battery used in the EQS 450+ but confirmed that the innovative battery management software, which also allows for over the air updates, was developed in-house. Mercedes provides an industry-leading warranty for the battery to maintain a minimum of 70% capacity for up to 10 years or up to 250,000 km.
Using a 400-volt system architecture, the EQS can accept a maximum charge of 200 kW using a DC fast charging station capable of at least 200 kW and 500 amps. Using such a public charger, Mercedes claims that 300 km of range can be added in 15 minutes. Fitted with a 22 kW onboard charger, the EQS can be conveniently charged overnight at home or at public charging stations with AC. In Japan, bidirectional charging with the EQS will also be possible. In addition, there are various intelligent charging programs that can be activated automatically depending on the location, and functions such as battery-saving charging.
Mercedes claims to have access to more than 500,000 public chargers in 31 countries, including over 200,000 in Europe. All European Mercedes me Charge customers can use the fast charging IONITY Unlimited network free of charge for one year. However, in the interim, chargers capable of 200 kW are as scarce as hen’s teeth across the globe and are mainly limited to the busiest highways.
With an operating range of up to 770 km (WLTP) for the EQS 580 4MATIC, the EQS most certainly meets every expectation of the Mercedes S-Class segment.
Sensing Car from the Future
As an exceptionally intelligent vehicle, the EQS boasts up to 350 sensors, depending on the version and optional extras. These sensors record distances, speeds and accelerations, lighting conditions, precipitation and temperatures, seat occupancy, and even the driver’s blink of an eye or the passengers’ speech. This wealth of information is processed by control units that employ algorithms to make interventions at lightning speed. Mercedes-EQ also hints that the new EQS may be able to expand its capabilities by the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. We are eager to learn more about this.
Equipped with robust sensors that monitor the vehicle’s surroundings, the parking systems assist the driver with manoeuvring in many areas. The driver can park and “unpark” the car via smartphone using Remote Parking Assist. With the optional extra Intelligent Park Pilot, and if equipped with the corresponding Connect service (depending on the country), and limited to car parks equipped with Automated Valet Parking (AVP) infrastructure, the EQS contains the technology required to park and unpark fully automatically, and without the driver in the car.
Also aimed at the future, yet currently available as an optional extra, Drive Pilot will enable the EQS to drive in conditionally automated mode at up to 60 km/h where traffic density is high or in tailbacks on suitable motorway sections. Initially available in Germany, this is not quite Full Self Driving, yet holds promise for the future.
Safe as a Mercedes
Apart from being equipped with sensors unparalleled in other Mercedes-Benz models, the EQS comes equipped with all the same passive safety features that have made the S-Class the envy of all in its segment. The Mercedes-Benz principle of Integral Safety, in particular accident safety, also applies to the EQS, making it even safer by virtue of the placement of the battery beneath the cabin, thereby improving side-impact rigidity, roll-over stability (thanks to a low centre of gravity), and superior front impact absorption, given the lack of a large engine block. As with all Mercedes models, the EQS is destined to achieve similar top safety awards from various regulatory agencies worldwide.
By 2030, Mercedes-Benz aims for more than half the cars it sells to feature electric drive systems, including fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Based on what is evident in the EQS, we take that to be an extremely conservative goal. While the EQC and EQA are slightly more than compliance cars, which explains their underperforming sales in most markets, we envisage the Mercedes-EQS as Mercedes’ first serious effort at producing an all-electric vehicle, designed from the ground up to exploit all the advantages inherent to an electric car. With a class-leading range and S-Class-leading performance and styling, the new EQS has everything it takes to conquer not only the luxury EV sector but the entire luxury sedan sector. More than a car for today, the EQS already anticipates the future, and as such, should catapult Mercedes into an all-electric future sooner than expected. We look forward to this future.