Squeezing more range from an electric vehicle takes more than just mounting the largest battery pack possible within the axles. With the groundbreaking Vision EQXX introduced yesterday, Mercedes claims it's the first automaker to smash the 1,000-kilometer barrier. How was it possible with a sub-100-kWh battery when the EQS can only cover 770 kilometers (478 miles, WLTP) despite having a larger 107.8-kWh pack?
Aside from being considerably smaller and therefore lighter, at 1,750 kilograms (3,858 pounds), the all-electric concept is also much sleeker. It has a drag coefficient of only 0.17 whereas the EQS has a Cd of 0.20 shared with the smaller EQE. That might not seem a huge difference, but the three-pointed star claims a reduction of only 0.01 adds approximately 2.5 percent to the range. It's not possible to make blocky SUVs as efficient, but Mercedes is working on flowy shapes.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV Spy Photos
Speaking with Autocar, chief technology officer Markus Schäfer said: "The matter of fact is that the biggest factor in achieving efficiency is aerodynamics times the factor of the size of the vehicle." He went on to say SUVs of the future will be differently shaped for the sake of better aero, which will require lowering the rear of the car to optimize airflow.
He went as far as to say SUVs that will do without a combustion engine might even have differently sized axle widths. Schäfer mentioned that even though the "customer loves SUVs, no doubt," as they are now, the shape will change in the years ahead to maximize range. However, Daimler chief designer Gordon Wagener admitted SUVs will never be as efficient as these lower cars, hence why the Vision EQXX was conceived with a "low, sedan-ish" profile.
He added sedans will always be more aerodynamically efficient than SUVs, but hinted the high-riding EQS and EQE debuting later this year will bring notable improvements compared to conventionally powered models. We'll remind you the fullsize GLS has a drag coefficient of 0.32 while its kid-brother GLE has a Cd of 0.29. Spy shots have revealed the two EVs will have a smoother, more rounded shape for improved range.
As a refresher, the smaller EQC has a 0.27 Cd, but it's built on an electric adaptation of the platform used by the GLC rather than being developed from the ground up as an EV like the EQE and EQS SUVs. The EQA and EQB – both with a 0.28 Cd – also originate from gasoline- and diesel-fueled models, namely the GLA and GLB, respectively.