Mercedes-Benz yesterday unveiled the new EQS, an all-electric luxury sedan that will go on sale in Europe and America later this year. The car is part of the German carmaker’s electric mobility plan to have only EVs in its portfolio within the next two decades. The EQS, which is part of the brand’s S-Class segment, has been designed for extreme aerodynamics. It boasts a drag coefficient value of just 0.202, which is the lowest in the world for any production car. “The EQS is designed to exceed the expectations of even our most demanding customers. That’s exactly what a Mercedes has to do to earn the letter ‘S’ in its name because we don’t award that letter lightly,” says Ola Källenius, CEO, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG.
The EQS uses a new generation of batteries with significantly higher energy density and usable energy capacity. A new battery management software allows for it to be updated remotely. The batteries power a 385kW electric motor. Depending on the type of charger used, the battery can take five to 10 hours for a full charge, ensuring a driving range of 770 km. It can also be charged up to 200kW at DC fast-charging stations in just 15 minutes, which is good enough for a range of around 300km. Mercedes is also working on a more powerful 560kW variant of the motor.
According to Mercedes, EQS buyers will have access to more than 200,000 charging stations across Europe. If and when the car comes to India – and there is no official word from the company, the situation will be very different. The country currently has only around 1,800 operational charging stations. Tata Power, one of the major players in the EV charging infrastructure, presently runs around 400 charging stations across 45 cities. The number is expected to go up to 100,000 stations across 100 cities by 2025, but we don’t know how many of those will be fast chargers.
Although the EQS is a classical S-Class Mercedes when it comes to cabin space and luxury standards, it is built on a different, all-electric architecture optimized for electric powertrains rather than the IC engine. Besides the batter, it is packed with a new generation Mercedes technology in a host of other areas, including the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience), which visualizes all vehicle-related data on the dashboard screen, and AI-powered navigation that responds dynamically in real-time to changes in traffic conditions and plots the fastest and most convenient route to the driver’s destination.
It’s no surprise then that Mercedes calls EQS is an ‘exceptionally intelligent vehicle’. The car is fitted with around 350 sensors, which record a range of information like distances, speeds, acceleration, temperatures, seat occupancy and much more. Onboard computers process the information with the help of AI, which over time fine-tune the car’s behavior to suit the driver’s habits and requirements.
One of the most striking part of the car is the massive 3-part’ Hyperscreen,’ which stretches right across the cockpit and displays every imaginable bit of information about the car that one might want to view. The touchscreen provides haptic feedback when any of its on-screen controls are operated, and its menus and sub-menus have been designed for context-sensitivity and intuitive control.
Other notable high-tech bits on the EQS include rear-axle steering (which makes for easier maneuverability at low speeds and improved cornering stability at higher speeds), an intelligent parking feature that lets the driver use a smartphone app to park the car, and powerful new LED headlamps (which can provide guide markers and warning symbols to be projected on the road, where required). In certain countries, where permitted by law, the EQS will also offer fully autonomous self-parking and self-driving, where the car will be able to drive itself in fully automated mode at speeds of up to 60kph.
In a bid to extend the range and eke out every last mile from the batteries, the EQS features a highly optimized 3-level energy recuperation system, which automatically accounts for traffic conditions and the topography so that power is shunted back to the batteries with every instance of deceleration.
Two variants of the EQS have been announced – the EQS 450+ and the EQS 580 4MATIC, with 245kW and 385kW, respectively. The less powerful variant takes 6.2 seconds to go from zero to 100kph. The more powerful one does it in a mere 4.3 seconds, though top speed is restricted to 210kph for both models.
With an estimated starting price of $100,000 in the US, the EQS represents the very top of the heap in terms of electric automotive luxury; there’s more to come in terms of more mainstream electric luxury cars from the German manufacturer. “Our electric initiative is in full swing. With the EQE business saloon and the SUV variants of the EQS and EQE, further models based on the new architecture will follow soon,” says Christoph Starzynski, Vice-President, Electric Vehicle Architecture, Mercedes-Benz AG.