The Stuttgart-based luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz just revealed its plan to go all-electric by the end of this decade. To kick off the transition in style, the company will unveil the EQXX concept car with a range of 620 miles (1000 km) next year, per the recent statement. Elon Musk and engineers at Tesla surely have a lot of work ahead of them as competition heats up in the electric vehicle field.
Sticking to their guns, Mercedes is aiming to deliver high performance even as it transitions to a largely unknown space. With countries set to outright ban sales of fossil fuel-powered cars in the near future, Mercedes knows that the time to go electric is now and the company is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to occupy a top spot in the electric vehicles segment as well.
The company plans to begin its ambitious journey with a futuristic car with real-world range achieved by making the most efficient car, the segment has seen. The record range on a single charge will not be delivered by fitting a larger battery pack. Instead, the company claims to have streamlined the aerodynamics alongside developing a high-performance powertrain (HPP) to deliver a range of six miles (~10km) per kWh at normal highway speeds.
To develop the next-generation motors, the company has acquired Oxford-based YASA, developers of high-performance and high-efficiency electric powertrains using axial flux technology. The company is also improving the energy density of its batteries by using silicon-carbon composites in the anode, which will provide it a higher range as well as decreased charging times. Additionally, the company has planned eight gigafactories that will make the 200 Gigawatt of battery capacity that the company will require as it goes all-electric.
With the largest network of charging stations that comprises over 530,000 AC and DC chargers, Mercedes is also teaming up with Shell to tap into their charging network in Europe, China, and North America and provide a seamless charging infrastructure with automated authentication and payments processing for its customers.
Investing over 40 billion euros (US$47 billion) in this transition until the end of the decade, Mercedes will roll out vehicles in three categories, the MB.EA focusing on luxury passenger cars, AMG.EA will focus on performance cars and the VAN.EA will deliver light commercial electric vehicles and vans, with options of only electric vehicles in applicable countries.
On the sustainable production front, the company’s production facilities are set to become carbon neutral by 2022 while it plans to begin operations of a battery recycling plant in Kuppenheim by 2023.