Mercedes‑Benz previews future of EVs with Generation EQ Concept

Article by Christian A., on October 4, 2016

Electric vehicles are not generally known for speed but Mercedes‑Benz hopes that with its Generation EQ which was introduced at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, electric cars will eventually have a place in the fast lane. Inside it are two electric motors. Since the elements of the batteries are scalable, it ensures a system output being raised to as much as 300 kW.

Meanwhile the permanent all-wheel drive assures that dynamic performance is at its highest level. Indeed, having a look similar to a sporty SUV coupé, this concept car does give customers a glimpse of what new battery-electric drives can offer.

There are various lighting elements placed inside the middle and side air vents, below the windscreen, interior door panels, door handles, and seats. There are even lighting elements on the center console and even surrounding the Mercedes star on its steering wheel. What is interesting about this lighting is that once the driver is near the vehicle, the system immediately activates in order to welcome the driver through a specific color mood inside.

Completing this welcome feature is the digital light that can be seen on the perforated door panels on the interior. Once the driver has been seated, the lighting changes at once to electric blue and then lights on the seats and doors are then slowly dimmed. Its wide-screen display then slowly builds up the required level and then shows the possible destinations on its navigation map based on the current charge of the battery.

As mentioned previously, content can be customized with the information density allowing for a step-by-step increment to result in a single-tube instrument, or a dual-tube version. The driver gets additional feedback and information on the current range and speed of the vehicle.

While the modular display ensures personalization of content, the user interface meanwhile has a design that offers a myriad of colors in white, rose gold, and electric blue. The instrument displays adjust these colors based on the charging process or the driving mode and this ensures intuitive and quick recognition. Its center console appears as if it is floating in space and it is surrounded by rose gold.

According to the brand, future battery-electric models will use the name EQ which means Electric Intelligence, which is based on the brand’s values of Emotion and Intelligence. This new range has every important characteristic for electric mobility to be customer focused.

However, the brand even goes beyond the vehicle itself. According to Mercedes-Benz, future models will have the basics of its advanced electric mobility which combines high daily practicality, maximum safety, excellent driving pleasure, and an intelligent and emotionally appealing design. All of these are the brand’s trademark qualities.

With the Generation EQ, the brand is signaling the start of architecture for battery EVs across all product lines. Mercedes-Benz Head Dieter Zetsche shares that it was in 2007 when e-smart pioneered what would be electric motoring. The brand is now turning the tide, he added, as it will launch an electric product that will encompass all vehicle classes from the compact class and even the luxury segment.

Exterior Design

While the exterior and the cockpit have the electro-look, both the interior and the exterior of the Generation EQ will come with a light signature that Mercedes-Benz expects will become the design trend for its EVs in the future. A distinct feature for this concept is the Black Panel front grille. While the Mercedes is illuminated in white, all the other light elements have been incorporated to this glazed design element.

With the blue-illuminated surround, it results in a new interpretation of the standard radiator grille expected from the brand. LED optical fibers are illuminated in electric blue and offer a light show that has some touches of color.

At the back, the rear lamps complement the design as it also has the Black Panel curve. Similarly it is bounded by LED optical fiber, also in blue, that can shift to red if the car is moving thus it can also function as a tail light. Similar to the front, the rear section has a Mercedes star at the center that has been illuminated in white as well.

In addition, the clasp-like light signature that is on the outside becomes orange once the direction indicator is triggered. Aside from these, there is also the Black Panel’s peripheral light strip where powerful and white LED lamps have been fixed to it. When looked at its side, there is the E-line. When combined with the beltline, this results in a frame on the mirror camera’s base.

Helping the transition towards the exterior are the spokes of its 21-inch diameter wheels and some touches of rose gold on the E-line moulding, which itself is plated in chrome. Adaptive ambience lighting is meant to improve the mood instantly.

Interior Design

Daimler AG’s Head of Design Gorden Wagener shares that the Generation EQ is both cool and hot at the same time. He adds that its charm is due to the brand’s sensual purity design principle being reinterpreted. Wagener says that this was in order for the Generation EQ to have a unique and contemporary electro-look. In addition, by reducing the design of this concept vehicle to its essentials, it shows an attractive progressivity, he continues.

That the brand has high hopes for this concept vehicle is mainly because the architecture that was made for the battery-electric models will be the ones used for the new electric vehicles. This is because it will be scalable in all aspects and therefore can be utilized on all the models. By implementing a modular building-block system, it allowed the track width and the wheelbase, and even other system components like the batteries, to be variable.

What this means is that the Generation EQ has been optimized in order to meet every need of a battery-electric model family with a focus on the future. Additionally, the basic architecture makes it suitable not only for SUVs but even for coupes, saloons, and other model ranges. Looking at the vehicle architecture, it uses a multi-material intelligent mix of aluminum, carbon fiber, and steel, much like the brand’s current series-produced models. These ensure that the prerequisites, when it comes to cost efficiency, strength, and having a lightweight design, are all achieved. Going back to the interior, it offers four individual seats. With the innovative way the seat upholstery has been set-up as well as its reduced volume, there’s a visual lightness.

Covering the side bolsters is light-white leather while the perforations have a pixel rain look which shows elements in rose gold. Giving that thrilling contrast is the deep-brown center section with a PCB look stitching. While the front backrests have been integrated with TFT monitors to provide entertainment for those sitting in the rear, speakers have been integrated to the head restraints for a more customized sound experience.

That the Generation EQ’s interior shows modern luxury is without question as the new user interface removes the need for the standard knobs and switches and mixes in user-friendly and intelligent features. Of course, there is still the electric seat adjustment, which is a standard feature of the brand. The steering wheel has three narrow spokes, two of which have touch controls that have been integrated with the organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays. Since these show the symbols and icons that are on the corresponding menus, the driver can simply swipe through them and click to confirm the choice.

To help the driver get all the pertinent information is the high-definition 53 x 11 cm display TFT with a 24-inch wide screen. Information shown here includes driving data, range, speed, map detail, and navigation data. It’s easy to see that there is a difference between the complex and highly reduced display, like the intermediate stages. It is up to the driver whether to look at additional content or to have low information density in order to have a clean look on its display.

Powertrain

In terms of the electric drive, the battery has been placed on the floor of the vehicle with one electric motor on the front axle and another one in the rear axle. The reason that the brand is confident about its power is because of the battery being placed within the vehicle’s floors and in the middle of the axles plus its all-wheel drive that has the axle-variable torque distribution. This not only offers excellent performance but safety as well.

With the most powerful version having an output of 300 kW, peak torque on the other hand can go for as high as 700 Nm. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h is possible in 5 seconds. When used with the brand’s intelligent operating strategy, this concept range ensures a maximum range of 500 kilometers. Once it will be shifted to the series production, the advantage is that the development was done in-house thus production expertise is readily available.

The brand will also benefit from its cross-model-series modular strategy implemented for alternative drive systems. It will also allow direct access to a number of significant elements when it comes to electric mobility.

Its lithium-ion battery for instance delivers a high efficiency and because of its modular design, its battery systems have a total capacity of at least 70 kWh. The battery is supplied by Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, a subsidiary of Daimler. Going inside, the cockpit is more oriented towards the driver given the easy controls, which are touch-based. Its instrument panel has the floating and large wide-screen display and given the asymmetrical design, is clearly customized for the driver.

While vehicles today have that all too familiar control logic, Generation EQ manages to keep itself distinct with the pioneering digital user experience. It also allows a closer look into what the future could be when it comes to user interaction. One clear observation for the cockpit is that it has a new electro-look which mirrors the style of the exterior. Indeed, looking at the exterior, the colossal basic form of this concept vehicle gets the dynamic attributes found in a coupe and mixes it with the elements of a SUV then adds at its rear section a shooting brake.

The muscular proportions are a result of the stretched out and thickset greenhouse. As mentioned, it also has an electro-look that is due to the flowing transition that starts from its gleaming bonnet in black and then goes through the windscreen and all the way to the dark-tinted panoramic roof. This also provides a thrilling contrast to the paintwork which is in alubeam silver.

Its dynamic profile has a stretched appearance and this is highlighted by the windscreen wipers being hidden and the body panel joints that are barely seen. Helping with this emphasis as well is the fact that there are no door handles and rather than exterior mirrors, it makes use of cameras.

This also lowers the air resistance while giving this SUV crossover a more unified appearance. The side view has been deliberately reduced. The broad shoulders plus the light-alloy 21-inch wheels ensures a dynamic presence without even moving.

Forget about the knobs, now we have touch-sensitive controls

Instead of the usual mechanical controls, it now comes with touch-sensitive components. Like the controls placed on the steering wheel, all it takes is a finger in order to activate features like the infotainment system or the automatic climate controls.

Since this concept vehicle does not use any exterior mirrors, the image of the vehicles at the back is projected to the displays integrated in its doors through cameras.

Now touch-controlled as well are the electric window lifters and the door openers. Overall, the EQ delivers a wide range of electric mobility ecosystem through innovations, products, technologies, and services. It also covers wall boxes, charging services, and even energy storage units for the home.

Press Release

Electric mobility: Mercedes-Benz flips the switch: Generation EQ – mobility revisited

With "Generation EQ", Mercedes‑Benz shows how electric cars can soon move into the fast lane: the concept vehicle, with the appearance of a sporty SUV coupé, gives a preview of a new generation of vehicles with battery-electric drives. The dynamic exterior design with its new electro-look underlines the focus on the powerful electric drive system: two electric motors, with a system output that can be increased to up to 300 kW thanks to scalable battery components, and permanent all-wheel drive deliver the guarantee of dynamic high-level performance. With a range of up to 500 kilometres and the typical Mercedes strengths of safety, comfort, functionality and connectivity, "Generation EQ" meets every demand in terms of contemporary, sustainable mobility. Also on the inside, the vehicle offers innovative solutions, including a completely new interior concept. Celebrating its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show, "Generation EQ" is the forerunner of Mercedes-Benz's new product brand for electric mobility, EQ. The name EQ stands for "Electric Intelligence" and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of "Emotion and Intelligence".

"The mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. 'Generation EQ' is the logical fusion of all four pillars," says Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes‑Benz Cars. "The emission-free automobile is the future. And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive electric ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations."

Electric-vehicle architecture for all models

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: the wheelbase and track width as well as all other system components, especially the batteries, are variable thanks to the modular building-block system. The vehicle concept is thus optimised to meet every requirement of a future-oriented, battery-electric model family. The basic architecture is suitable for SUVs, saloons, coupés and other model series.

Similarly to the latest series-produced models from Mercedes‑B enz, the vehicle architecture builds on an intelligent multi-material mix of steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. This ensures that the requirements in terms of lightweight design, strength and cost efficiency are ideally met.

Exterior design with new electro-look

"Generation EQ is hot and cool," says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. "Its fascination lies in a reinterpretation of our design philosophy of sensual purity, the aim being to create an avant-garde, contemporary and distinctive electro-look. At the same time, the design of the visionary show car, which has been reduced to the essentials, reveals an alluring progressivity."

The monolithic basic form of "Generation EQ" unites the genes of an SUV with the dynamic character of a coupé and a dash of shooting brake at the rear end. The squat, elongated greenhouse gives rise to muscular-purist proportions. The new electro-look is the result of a flowing transition from the gleaming black bonnet across the windscreen to the dark-tinted panoramic roof – an exciting contrast to the alubeam silver paintwork.

Scarcely visible body panel joins, concealed windscreen wipers, cameras instead of exterior mirrors and an absence of conventional door handles emphasise the stretched, dynamic silhouette, making the SUV crossover appear as a unified whole while reducing its air resistance. An intentionally reduced side view, broad shoulders and large 21-inch light-alloy wheels make for a dynamic presence even before the vehicle moves off.

Driver-oriented cockpit with new electro-look

The focus of the driver-oriented cockpit is on simple, touch-based controls with a new electro-look consistently reflecting the exterior styling. The asymmetrical design of the instrument panel with its large, floating wide-screen display is tailored to the driver. The innovative, digital user experience differentiates "Generation EQ" from the familiar control logic in today's vehicles, while giving a peek into the future of user interaction at Mercedes‑Benz.

Interior with new, touch-based controls and no knobs

The interior of "Generation EQ" is characterised by contemporary luxury, this finding its main expression in an all-new user interface, which combines emotive appeal with intelligence and user-friendliness while dispensing with traditional switches and knobs, except for the electric seat adjustment typical of Mercedes. Two of the three narrow spokes on the steering wheel are provided with touch controls, which are integrated into OLED displays (OLED = organic light emitting diode ). They indicate icons and symbols in the respective menus. The driver can swipe through the various menus and confirm their selection with a click.

The 24-inch (53 x 11 cm) TFT high-definition wide-screen display presents all the relevant information, such as speed, range, driving data or navigation and map details. The innovation is apparent from the differentiation between a highly reduced and a complex display, including intermediate stages. Whether there is a low information density with a very clean look to the display, or whether extra content is on view, is left to the driver's personal preference.

User interface design with individualised content

The information density can be increased step-by-step from a digital display and built up into a single- or dual-tube instrument containing more detailed information and feedback on speed and range. These modular displays allow the content to be individualised. An attractive user interface design is ensured by, among other things, a world of colours in electric blue, white and rose gold – the colours of the instrument displays adapt, depending on driving mode or charging process, to allow fast and intuitive recognition.

Bordered in rose gold, the centre console appears to float in space: dispensing with mechanical controls, it is equipped with touch-sensitive elements. Similarly to the touch controls on the steering wheel, the driver can use a finger to operate the automatic climate control and the infotainment system. As "Generation EQ" is devoid of conventional exterior mirrors, cameras are used to project an image of the traffic behind onto integrated displays in the doors. Both the door openers and the electric window lifters are touch-controlled.

Avant-garde, functional interior

"Generation EQ" comes with four individual seats. The reduced volume, impression of floating in space and avant-garde seat upholstery layout make for a visual lightness. A tailored sound experience is provided by speakers integrated into the head restraints. The side bolsters are covered in light-white leather, while perforations with a pixel rain look reveal a view of particles in rose gold. Stitching with a PCB look on the deep-brown centre sections produces an exciting contrast. TFT monitors for rear-seat entertainment are integrated into the front backrests.

EQ: the new electric mobility brand from the inventor of the automobile

EQ offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem with products, services, technologies and innovations. The spectrum ranges from electric vehicles to wallboxes and charging services to home energy storage units. Mercedes‑Benz will market future battery-electric vehicles under the brand name EQ. The name stands for "Electric Intelligence" and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of "Emotion and Intelligence". The new brand encompasses all key aspects for customer-focused electric mobility and extends beyond the vehicle itself. Future models will embody the essentials of state-of-the-art electric mobility: the fusion of emotively appealing and intelligent design, exceptional driving pleasure, high everyday practicality and maximum safety, a hallmark of every vehicle from the inventor of the automobile.

The close-to-production concept vehicle "Generation EQ" marks the launch of an architecture for battery-electric vehicles across all models. Dieter Zetsche: "In 2007, the e-smart was a pioneer of electric motoring. We're now flipping the switch. We're ready for the launch of an electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class."

Both inside and outside: new light signature for electric cars

With a new exterior and interior light signature, the inventor of the automobile presents the design trend for future electric vehicles with the star: the distinguishing mark of "Generation EQ" is the "Black Panel" front grille: the white-illuminated Mercedes star and all the light elements are integrated in this seamlessly glazed design element. The blue-illuminated surround gives a completely new interpretation of the typical Mercedes radiator grille. Illuminated LED optical fibres in electric blue produce a light show with exciting touches of colour.

The peripheral light strip of the "Black Panel" is equally typical of "Generation EQ". Embedded in it are the white, powerful LED headlamps. Viewed from the side, the flowing E-line and beltline form a frame around the base of the mirror camera. Touches of rose gold in the chrome-plated E-line moulding and the spokes of the 21‑inch wheels serve as a special eye-catching transition from interior to exterior.

The rear lamps are of matching design, taking up the contour of the "Black Panel" and surrounded by an LED optical fibre in electric blue, which changes to red when the vehicle is moving and acts as a tail light. The central Mercedes star at the rear end is likewise illuminated in white. Similarly to the front end, the clasp-like light signature on the outside changes to orange as soon as the direction indicator is operated.

Lighting mood: from welcome scenario to electric blue

As the driver approaches the car, it automatically activates to welcome him or her with a specific colour mood in the interior. The welcome scenario is rounded off by digital light in the perforated interior door panels. Once the driver has taken their place, the lighting mood switches to electric blue, with the lights in the doors and on the seats dimming slowly. The wide-screen display gradually builds up to present the energy level. The navigation map shows all the destinations that can be reached on the current battery charge.

Adaptive ambience lighting for a feel-good atmosphere

A special feel-good atmosphere is produced by the adaptive ambience lighting on board "Generation EQ". There are lighting elements in the light strip underneath the windscreen, on the side and middle air vents, seats, door handles and interior door panels, on the centre console and around the Mercedes star in the steering wheel.

Powerful electric drive: 300 kW total output with a range of up to 500 kilometres

With two electric motors on the front and rear axles and a battery in the vehicle floor, "Generation EQ" embodies a powerful vehicle concept. The basis for dynamic high-level performance and safety comes courtesy of the electric all-wheel drive with axle-variable torque distribution and a battery installed deep in the vehicle floor between the axles. With a total output of up to 300 kW in the most powerful variant and a maximum torque of up to 700 Newton metres, "Generation EQ" accelerates to 100 km/h in under five seconds. In combination with the intelligent operating strategy from Mercedes-Benz, "Generation EQ" has a range of up to 500 kilometres.

In the transfer to series production, Mercedes‑Benz benefits not only from its in-house development and production expertise, but also from the Group's cross-model-series modular strategy for alternative drive systems and direct access to key components for electric mobility. The high-efficiency lithium-ion battery originates from the Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE. Thanks to their modular design, the innovative battery systems have a model-specific total capacity of over 70 kWh.

Convenient charging at home and on the road

"Generation EQ" brings together the latest-generation charging technologies. The vehicle is ready both for charging at home by induction or wallbox and for fast charging. Mercedes‑Benz energy storage units of the future could form an ideal symbiosis with the cordless charging system via induction or wallbox. Households that have their own photovoltaic system and which store their surplus solar power in a Mercedes‑Benz energy storage unit can thus benefit from a "green" source of power that is extensively independent of the energy market.

Significantly reduced charging times will come with the introduction of fast charging by the Combined Charging System (CCS). This European charging standard allows for fast charging with a far greater capacity than at present. Currently, charging capacities from 50 up to sometimes 150 kW are possible. In the medium to long term, a charging capacity of even up to 300 kW is planned. This would enable sufficient power for 100 locally emission-free kilometres to be recharged within five minutes.

Driver assistance systems for maximum safety

It goes without saying that "Generation EQ" also features the latest driver assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. Using highly accurate maps from our partner HERE, the systems know such things as the precise curve radii as well as the position and size of a roundabout. The vehicle can then automatically adjust the speed and driving dynamics to give the driver even greater comfort and relaxation. EQ thus takes a further step on the road to autonomous driving, always under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations. There is a special focus on the optimised interplay between the individual features, so-called "sensor fusion", i.e. the intelligent combination of data from different sensors. In the opinion of experts at Mercedes‑Benz, this is one of the key requirements on the way to automated driving.

Extended communication by Car-to-X technology

But the engineers have gone one step further: for example, "Generation EQ" is equipped with Car-to‑X technology and can exchange information with the infrastructure and other vehicles – an ideal basis for a series of new driver assistance features that build on existing systems and thus take a further step in the direction of accident prevention. It is also helpful for the driver to be informed about nearby recharging opportunities. As soon as "Generation EQ" realises that the destination cannot be reached on the available battery charge, it advises the driver of appropriate options on the navigation map.

3D real-time map display from HERE

Yet the digital interface can do considerably more: another highlight is the high-detail 3D city view with its trendsetting design. Technically, it is based on the map platform from HERE. This makes it possible, for example when searching for points of interest, for restaurants, shopping opportunities and tourist attractions to be especially highlighted. Other buildings recede elegantly into the background. A further focus in the design of the new HERE maps lies in reduced visual complexity while the vehicle is in motion. This means that the driver can see only those buildings and information that are relevant for navigation. There is an exceptional interplay between cockpit and map, with the buildings on the map reflecting details of the instrument lighting. At the same time, the map display also gives a preview of new features, especially for electric vehicles: the driver is provided with information on charging stations as well as opportunities for inductive charging along the route. The high-detail display also includes an indication of the current energy consumption along the route.

Intelligent driver assistance

The focus of the user interface is on optimal driver assistance, such as when the main concern is to make best possible use of the available energy in the batteries in order to achieve the best possible range. The innovative consumption display provides the driver with feedback on their driving style while drawing attention to energy-saving possibilities.

Additional driver incentives are conceivable: the wide-screen display can be used to tell the driver that the current range is not just sufficient to reach the desired destination, but would also allow a detour for a spur-of-the-moment visit to friends. In addition, the driver can collect bonus kilometres as a reward for especially efficient use of the traction battery – a functionality similar to the one already familiar from current models. The trick is that the collected bonus kilometres make the occupants aware of the attractions or interesting places they can reach from the current location thanks to their driving style.

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