Words by: Alisa Priddle, Photos:By Manufacturer
Mercedes-Benz is using the Paris Motor Show to unveil Generation EQ, a close-to-production concept EV with a range of 300 miles and a vehicle which ushers in a new electric brand for the German automaker.
The SUV coupé concept is the forerunner to a new product brand for electric vehicles. It has two electric motors and scalable battery components to increase output up to 300 kilowatts. The SUV also has permanent all-wheel drive and a range up to 300 miles—slaying the Tesla Model X.
EQ stands for Electric Intelligence. “The emission-free automobile is the future,” said Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. He said the new EQ brand goes beyond electric vehicles and stands for a comprehensive electric ecosystem of services, technologies, and innovations.
The new generation of electric vehicles will be based on an architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models, and it is scalable in every respect and usable across all models. It is also suitable for every body style. Future vehicles will use a mix of steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber to keep their weight down for added efficiency.
Gorden Wagener, the new Daimler design chief, said the new brand will reinterpret design to create an avant-garde, contemporary, and distinctive electro-look, and the cars have a new distinct interior with touch-based controls and no knobs. The instrument panel has a large 24-inch floating wide-screen—think Tesla—and shows the direction of user interaction at Mercedes-Benz with an opportunity to individualize content and colors of the display.
The center console appears to float in space and has touch-sensitive elements. Climate controls and infotainment are also activated with the touch of a finger on the steering wheel. Side mirrors are replaced by cameras to view traffic behind the car and project the information onto displays in the doors which are themselves opened with a single touch.
It is a four-passenger vehicle with the stereo speakers integrated into the head restraints and three screens in the back of the seats for rear-seat entertainment. The navigation map shows all the destinations that can be reached on the current battery charge. Generation EQ has Car-to-X technology, meaning it can exchange information with its surroundings as part of its suite of drive assist technologies and to let drivers know of nearby charging stations.
Beyond the vehicle itself, EQ attempts to be an electric mobility ecosystem with products, services, technologies, and innovations including charging services and home energy storage units.
Zetsche said this marks an “electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class.”
Plug-in hybrid with 31 miles of electric range.
Barely two months have passed since Volkswagen last showed a concept SUV, so by the company’s internal timeline we’re long overdue for another. Ahead of the Beijing auto show, Volkswagen is teasing a premium SUV concept with a lounge-like interior, a digital infotainment display, and a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
More so than the earlier CrossBlue concept that previewed the three-row SUV expected to debut this year in the U.S., this new Volkswagen SUV concept is focused primarily on advanced technology. Advanced lighting design is one of the first ways we see this, with a new boomerang-shaped headlight signature that extends straight across the grille and through the VW emblem. The shape is echoed in the foglight housings below with thick C-shaped LED daytime running lights and horizontal bars on the side mirrors. At the rear are distinctive LED taillights with digital horizontal bars built in.
Although we won’t have a look at the interior until the Beijing show or close to it, VW’s newest concept promises to have a highly advanced, interactive digital display system. The new design is apparently part of a lounge-like interior, clearly appealing to the chauffeur-driven passengers who will make up much of the audience at the Beijing show. Expect advancements like gesture control and touchscreens to play a big role.
Another clear nod to the Chinese market is the concept’s plug-in hybrid powertrain. Full details still aren’t being released, but we know that the SUV concept boasts an all-electric range of 31 miles. Total system output is 376 hp and an impressive 516 lb-ft of torque, undoubtedly offered with all-wheel drive. The concept is said to sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.0 seconds on its way to a top speed of 139 mph.
The earlier Cross Coupe GTE concept from the 2015 Detroit auto show also used a plug-in hybrid powertrain, so something similar could be employed this time around. The Cross Coupe GTE used a 3.6-liter gas-powered V-6 engine with two electric motors (one at each axle) for a total of 355 hp.
Check back soon for more details on the latest Volkswagen SUV concept as the Beijing auto show approaches.