Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled a concept car that combines the most significant and innovative trends in the automotive industry today, which it’s calling the “Generation EQ”.
The Generation EQ might be a concept car, but it’s actually the beginning of a brand-new line of electric cars from Mercedes. Oh, and the German carmaker says the name EQ means “Electric Intelligence,” if you were wondering. “The mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared und Electric. ‘Generation EQ’ is the logical fusion of all four pillars,” says Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“The emission-free automobile is the future. And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive electric ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations.”
On the surface, the Generation EQ looks like a typical concept car: there’s glowing, Tron-esque lights, swooping, sculpted metal and ridiculous alloy wheels – but a closer look reveals technology that will actually be in the cars of the near future.
As with most concept cars, the Generation EQ is powered by an electric drivetrain. In its current, prototype form, Mercedes says the Generation EQ is powered by two electric motors and should have a range of 500km. More importantly, Mercedes says the battery tech is scalable, so it can be fitted to other EQ cars of various sizes to offer differing capacities. Interestingly, the lithium-ion battery used in the Generation EQ will come from Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, a subsidiary company of Daimler. Thanks to their modular design, the innovative battery systems have a model-specific total capacity of more than 70kWh.
You can’t ignore how the Generation EQ looks, and according to Mercedes, some of these looks will carry through into the new range of EQ cars. In the same way BMW’s i division looks distinctive but still like a BMW, Mercedes-Benz’s EQ cars could feature glowing interiors, futuristic body styling and a combination of aluminium and carbon-fibre parts – but they’ll still look like Mercedes cars.
As you’d expect, the Generation EQ features a sci-fi-inspired interior, but it also hints at technology that could actually make it to the road. Get past the crazy design, and the Mercedes concept shares many features with its existing road cars. The steering wheel features touch-sensitive controls – but with added OLEDs, while the dashboard is dominated by a 24in TFT HD widescreen display. In the concept shown, this screen displayed everything from highly detailed maps to estimated range – but the driver can determine what it displays.
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That means the EQ will benefit from highly detailed maps, which should help with driver-assistance systems, including autonomous tech. Just as Audi showed us recently, Here will act as a foundation for car-to-x and swarm technology. This means the EQ will benefit from information such as the nearest available charger, from both the charging infrastructure and other Here-equipped cars.
It also looks like the Generation EQ will feature wireless charging, possibly licensed by Qualcomm’s Halo division. Mercedes says the cars could work with its own household batteries, and the Generation EQ would also use the Combined Charging System (CCS). According to Mercedes, this new European charging standard will allow electric cars to achieve 100km of range from a charge of just five minutes.
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An electric future for Mercedes
The Mercedes tagline for this year’s motor show is “Ready to Change”, and it’s all part of a huge push into the EV market. Alongside the Generation EQ, Mercedes has also parked brand-new, all electric smart cars, and there’s a real sense that Mercedes is ready to make electrification and hybrid technology a huge focus in the next five years.