Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX – refining aerodynamics

The creation of a new car typically sees its designers and engineers try to achieve goals which seemingly require different things from its shape, and this would seem to be particularly pronounced with the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX.

Its debut on January 3 is just about around the corner now, though it has been a long road leading to the creation of the EQXX so far; “hundreds” of sketches were created before its overall shape could be finalised, said director of advanced exterior design Steffen Köhl.

In order to achieve its range target of more than 1,000 km, it would take more than simply a larger battery. The EQXX will have 20% greater energy density at the cell level compared to that of the EQS, and to make the best of that battery development, aerodynamics comes into play.

Aerodynamics engineers prefer to keep things as narrow as possible, while all others, particularly designers and driving dynamics engineers, prefer a wide design at the rear end of the car, said head of aerodynamics Teddy Woll. Aerodynamics accounts for around 60% of the vehicle’s total energy losses at cruising speed, which becomes more crucial at higher speeds, Woll continued.

Nature is the best inspiration for the ideal wind-cheating shape, as Köhl cites the shapes of birds and sharks, and while those creatures manage to taper completely to serve their functions, they don’t have wheels which complicate the path to the objective of a slippery shape; “once you add wheels, full taper becomes impossible” as they pose the greatest aerodynamic problem of all,” said Woll.

To “achieve the beauty of an object” whilst retaining the required aerodynamic efficiency calls for special spoilers and movable airflow-shaping elements such as diffusers and other parts “so that you can keep your perfect shape”, said Köhl.

These measures go towards the EQXX designers’ goal of achieving a drag coefficient even lower than that of the EQS, which is already a production car-best of 0.2 Cd. The stated target for the EQXX is an average energy consumption of six miles (10 km) per kWh.

Mercedes-Benz Cars COO Markus Schafer is blunt about the goal for this car; to be the longest range and highest efficiency electric car the world has ever seen. Shanghai to Beijing on one charge? The target range for the Vision EQXX is certainly in the ballpark.

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