The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX has beaten its own efficiency record (from Stuttgart in Germany to Cassis in France) by completing a 1,202 km summer road trip from its home base to the Silverstone racetrack in the UK on a single battery charge.

To prove its real-world capability across a wide range of conditions, the experimental Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX undertook a record-breaking maiden trip to cover 1,008 km to Cassis on the French Mediterranean coast. With temperatures ranging from a chilly 3ºC to a more Spring-like 18ºC, it completed the journey with an energy consumption of 8.7 kWh/100 km and a remaining range of about 140 km on arrival.

However, once was not enough. After demonstrating its capability in lower temperatures and with the demanding energy usage and recuperation scenarios presented by the Alps, the next challenge was to see how the car coped in hotter summer conditions with temperatures of up to 30ºC, as well as increased traffic density, as found around Stuttgart and in the southeast of England. 

Thanks to the exceptional efficiency of its innovative and compact thermal management system, the 180 kW electric drive unit generates only minimal waste heat. The carefully engineered interaction of aero-shutters, coolant valves and pumps ensure the unit maintains the most efficient temperature balance at a minimum energy cost. 

After negotiating an autobahn closure and demanding cross-country diversion near Stuttgart, the Vision EQXX crossed the French border near Strasbourg and then cruised across northern France at highway speeds to Calais, where it boarded the Eurotunnel. High ambient temperatures and stop-and-go motorway traffic necessitated cooling of the electric drivetrain and passenger cabin, but the on-demand cooling system took it all in its stride.

The multi-source heat pump in the Vision EQXX proved highly efficient at keeping the cabin temperature cool in the warm weather. During the 14 hours and 30 minutes of driving time, the air conditioning was operational for just over eight hours, yet it had minimal impact on the overall energy consumption.  

A Visit to Brackley

Continuing its journey in the UK, the Vision EQXX negotiated the M25 motorway around London and then paid a visit to the home of the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 Team in Brackley, some 13 km to the southwest, where it received an enthusiastic welcome from the team from Mercedes-AMG HPP and Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix who played a pivotal role in its design.

Working with the engineering team in Stuttgart, the Formula 1 and Formula E specialists helped slash system losses in the drivetrain and develop an entirely new compact and lightweight battery pack. After a driver change, HPP’s Advanced Technology Director Adam Allsopp took over at the wheel for the final leg to Silverstone. 

The significance of the drive to the racing circuit, which hosted the very first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1950, was not lost on Allsopp as motorsport at Mercedes-Benz has made, and still makes, a significant contribution in accelerating the technologies that underpin its electrification strategy.

Waiting at the track to greet the Vision EQXX was Mercedes-EQ Formula E racing driver Nyck de Vries. The 27-year-old Dutchman, who scored four Formula E wins in the last two seasons, has plenty of experience coaxing every last drop of efficiency from an advanced electric drivetrain. 

However, he did not go easy on the Vision EQXX, taking it up to its maximum limited speed of 140 km/h at every opportunity on the fabled tarmac. He took the chequered flag after 11 laps, using up the last of the charge in the pit lane with 1,202 km on the clock. 

Throughout the road trip, the research vehicle demonstrated its adeptness by achieving an average consumption of 8.3 kWh/100 km – proving the effectiveness of Mercedes-Benz electric efficiency technologies in many real-life traffic scenarios.

Festival of Speed

Following a brief recharge, the Vision EQXX continued to Brixworth, 33 km away, for an overnight stop and full recharge in preparation for its next outing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Appearing at the renowned celebration of historic motorsports alongside other Mercedes icons of the past, present and future, the Vision EQXX also took its turn running up the famous hill.

With two successful 1,000 km+ road trips under its belt, the Vision EQXX has truly justified its claim as the most efficient Mercedes ever built. But the team continues to work on developing many of the Vision EQXX technologies for application in future series-production vehicles. To gather invaluable real-life data, the most important question for them is: Where to next?

Report by Ferdi de Vos | Images © Mercedes-Benz 


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