Mercedes-Benz officially revealed its comprehensive electrified-mobility strategy at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, while unveiling a new electric concept vehicle, the Generation EQ, that previews an electric SUV slated for production by 2019.
The new strategy, named CASE—which stands for Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric—incorporates all electric mobility-related activities under the EQ brand. These will include a diverse range of services including energy storage units, designed for both private and commercial customers and charging technologies, including inductive charging. Sustainable recycling will also be included.
Mercedes-Benz says that by 2025, the company aims to have more than 10 all-electric vehicles in its model range. Heavy investment, over €1B ($1.12B U.S.) will be made in battery production around the world. €500 M ($560 M) will be invested in a second battery production site in Kamenz, Germany.
Describing the new electric models, Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, said, "The new generation of electric vehicles will be based on an architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models, which is scalable in every respect and usable across all models. It is suitable for all model series as well as sub-models, such as SUVs, saloons and coupés. Wheelbase and track are variable."
This dedicated architecture will incorporate two electric motors driving both front and rear axles, with a total power and torque output of up to 300 kW (402 hp) and 700 N·m (516 lb·ft). The Generation EQ concept car has a range of up to 500 km (310 mi), Dr. Weber claimed.
The design of the new EVs will include a specific “radiator” grille and new exterior lighting treatment. Inside, the only traditional switchgear to survive will be the electric seat adjustment switch. All other controls will use touch-sensing switchgear.
This includes the steering wheel spokes, where the touch controls are integrated into Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays. A 24-in (609-mm) TFT dashboard display carries all relevant driver information. The displays can be customized to suit individual needs.
The scalable architecture of the new EVs will provide for varying wheelbase lengths and track width. Battery architecture will also be scalable using a modular system, with the batteries contained in the floor section within the wheelbase. Mercedes-Benz has chosen to build the cars in a mixture of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber.
Features include tight panel gaps, concealed windscreen wipers, cameras replacing conventional door mirrors and no conventional door handles. The front features a black panel with a three-pointed star illuminated in white and surround illuminated in blue, with LED headlamps. At the rear LED optical fiber illuminates the rear panel surround and switches to red when the vehicle is moving, providing a tail light function.
The concept EQ will illuminate automatically when the driver approaches, with digital lighting embedded in the interior door panels. Mercedes-Benz mapping partner HERE (co-owned with BMW and VW Group) will provide mapping that can integrate with autonomous drive functions.