A Mercedes-Benz AG electric car drove more than 1,000 kilometers from Germany to the French Riviera on a single charge, taking the fight to take the spotlight from Tesla Inc. to the next level.
The EQXX prototype went from Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, through Switzerland and Italy, to the Mediterranean coastal town of Cassis, the carmaker announced on Thursday. The lightweight chassis and aerodynamic profile of the sedan allowed it to complete the journey with a half-size battery of Mercedes’ flagship EQS electric vehicle.
EQXX “is the most efficient Mercedes ever built,” CEO Ola Kallenius said in a statement. “The technology behind it marks a milestone in the development of electric vehicles.”
Mercedes plans to spend € 60 billion by 2026 to overtake Tesla and regain the title of best-selling luxury carmaker in the world from rival BMW AG. The company aims to sell only electric vehicles where possible by the end of this decade and intends to set up eight partner battery factories.
After years of criticism for delaying the adoption of electric cars, the famous German manufacturer stepped up its game last year with the launch of EQS, which boasts a leading industry. Mercedes is stepping up its momentum this year with its all-electric EQE sedan and EQB sport utility vehicle. However, when it comes to deliveries of electric vehicles, Tesla is still the second leader.
With EQXX, Mercedes is trying to prove that it can overtake the American company in terms of electrical technology. The prototype traveled at speeds of up to 140 km per hour and had 15% of the remaining load on arrival. The car’s battery features a new chemistry developed with the help of Formula 1 experts from the Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains division in the UK. The plan is to implement the cells in Mercedes compact cars starting in 2024.
Mercedes reduced the development time of the EQXX by 18 months to about 40 months, relying on simulations and digital design tools, rather than physical tests and parts production. Modern cars need shorter delivery times so they don’t look outdated once they hit showrooms, said Mercedes chief development officer Markus Schaefer.
“We need to keep up with what’s happening on the software and technology side, and this is a rapidly changing industry,” Schaefer said in an interview. “We need to be fast-paced, much faster than we’ve been in the past.”