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Paris show: Mercedes forges EQ range

Graphic EQ: Mercedes refers to the styling of its Generation EQ concept as the ‘electro-look’ with Fast and the Furious-style black bonnet and cool blue lighting throughout.

Generation EQ concept marks start of Mercedes’ all-encompassing electric future


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30 Sep 2016

MERCEDES-BENZ has pulled the covers from its eagerly anticipated electric concept car at the Paris motor show, but the German car-maker says the Generation EQ does not just represent the way its vehicles may evolve, but marks the birth of an entire “electric ecosystem” for the company.

As expected, the concept’s styling is a blend of Mercedes SUV and futuristic evolutions inside, finished with extensive cool blue illumination, but the Generation EQ’s most significant feature lies under its skin.

Its steel, aluminium and carbon-fibre construction introduces a new architecture for Mercedes and is scaleable to suit a wide range of future electric SUVs, sedans, coupes and other model series, says the car-maker.

As previously reported, the company has applied for rights in the United Kingdom to the EQA, EQC, EQE, EQG and EQS trademarks, which suggests electric EQ-Class models will be offered in nearly all of the segments that the company currently competes in.

Speaking at the reveal of the “close-to-production concept”, Daimler AG CEO and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dieter Zetsche said the vehicle symbolises the start of volume electric cars for the three-point badge.

“We’re now flipping the switch,” he said. “We’re ready for the launch of an electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class.”

For the Generation EQ concept, Mercedes says it can alter the dual-motor system power output up to 300kW thanks to a scaleable battery, and the same process could be applied to an entire range of vehicles allowing compact models with shorter ranges for city driving, or larger cars and SUVs with more performance and range.

Confusingly, Mercedes says the EQ model brand stands for “Electric Intelligence” but may be a play on the words Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

Now that the all-electric product line-up has started to emerge, Mercedes will build what it calls an electric ecosystem – the services, technologies and innovations to produce electric cars and their supporting infrastructure.

Part of that holistic electric future is the home wallbox charging and electricity storage systems that Mercedes announced in 2015, while other essential measure will involve company wide accommodation of the new EQ line such as dealership facility upgrades, training and promotion.

As a near-production vehicle, the pioneer of the brand is likely to herald a number of features expected to roll into Mercedes showrooms when the first full electric production model arrives in 2019.

The EQ’s SUV styling is described as the electro-look and is headlined by the contrasting black bonnet, dainty cameras instead of door mirrors, blue illumination for the cosmetic grille, side sills and recharging socket flap.

The model’s EQ icon is also illuminated on the rear registration plate mount and is a clever combination of a plug socket for the E and a rotated power switch symbol as the Q.

Inside, the design goes from daring to outlandish with more piped blue light everywhere and a simple but stunning black and white upholstered cabin for four with Matrix-style “pixel rain” decoration on the door trims and seats.

Virtually all switches have been confined to the various touchscreens apart from the trademark electric seat controls, vehicle information is displayed on a vast 24-inch single-piece dash screen, the air-vents resemble an intergalactic spaceship exhaust, while brake pedal and accelerator pedals have plus and minus symbols on them for drivers who are uncertain of their purpose.

The user interface and main 3D screen display is in white, blue and bronze colours with the latter repeated in rose gold trims throughout the cabin and on the 21-inch alloy wheels. More displays are integrated into the gloss black seat backs for rear passenger entertainment.

Images from the side-view cameras are eerily displayed on panels immediately to the left and right of the dashboard, which flows into the doors with a continuous unbroken line.

Mercedes says the concept also offers an insight into the emerging future of its autonomous technologies which may explain why some of the official images indicate that the car is moving at 65km/h with no one in the drivers seat.

The EQ’s various driver assistance systems draw on the accurate mapping of technology partner HERE and “sensor fusion” and Car-to-X communication, which Mercedes says are essential steps along the way to full vehicle autonomy.

Images also suggest the car is equipped to allow contactless charging in addition to a more conventional Combined Charging System (CCS) plug-in connection. The European standard currently offers a charge rate of up to 150kW but Mercedes predicts that 300kW will soon be possible, allowing a 100km top-up in just five minutes.

The show car has a range of about 500km and can accelerate to 100km/h in less than 5.0 seconds thanks to a motor on each axle for all-paw traction and 700Nm of torque. Its 70kWh lithium-ion battery is hidden away under the floor and is produced by Daimler subsidiary Accumotive.

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