Mercedes introduced its EQS Concept at the Frankfurt auto show this week, claiming it represents the essence of what its electrically powered cars of the future will be like. “Future” is the operative word here. There are no plans to put the EQS Concept into production, although bits and pieces of it could find a place in actual production cars someday.
Mercedes says the concept is built on what has now become the hallmark of all electric cars — a skateboard containing the battery, management system, one or more motors, together with the suspension, brakes, and wheels need to make an actual working car.
The key to the skateboard design is that it can be stretched in any dimension to accommodate a broad array of vehicle types — big cars, little cars, sedans, SUVs, crossovers, pickup trucks, sports cars, limousines. Whatever whim captures the fancy of the marketplace, the manufacturer can respond quickly without investing a lot of time and effort into developing a whole new chassis. Volkswagen is doing this with its MEB platform, which it says will serve as the foundation for up to 22 million electric cars or various types in the coming years.
Mercedes claims the EQS Concept is capable of traveling 435 miles | 700 km on a single charge of its 100 kWh battery as measured by the WLTP European standard. If so, that would suggest it is an extremely efficient vehicle, something the company’s first all electric offering, the EQC, most definitely is not. It reportedly has 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet | 759 N-m of torque from two electric motors — one for each axle — and can scoot to 60 mph | 97 km/h in 4.5 seconds.
The EQS isn’t about drag racing or track performance, however. It’s about maximizing the awe inspiring all consuming deliciousness people associate with the Mercedes-Benz brand. Watch the video the company has creased to introduce the car. It focuses exclusively on the style, grace, and ineffable delightfulness of being wafted down the road in a bespoke chariot that represent the perfect distillation of the Mercedes-Benz aura.
The video never mentions the mundane details about the car. It focuses instead on the feeling such a piece of machinery can create for its cosseted, pampered, and presumably well heeled owners.
Sustainability Is A Priority
Mercedes is emphasizing sustainability with the EQS Concept. The leather-like surfaces inside are created from recycled single use plastic bottles and the headliner is said to be made from plastic waste that otherwise would have ended up in the ocean. According to The Verge, the company wants the battery cells for its electric cars of the future to be manufactured in a carbon neutral process that includes “recycling and respect for human rights in the supply chain.”
The Wow Factor
Concept cars allow designers to pull out all the stops and really strut their stuff. The EQS Concept is chock full of wonders never seen before in the automotive universe. LED lights are all the rage these days and the Concept glorifies them in new ways. What looks like the front grille is actually a series of 188 circuit boards with 940 LEDs set in a three dimensional arrangement, according to CNET Road Show.
The headlights each have four holographic lenses that can display static images and can even create holograms. The taillights consist of 229 three-pointed star cutouts, each containing an individual LED. Linking both ends of the car together is a belt of light that runs around the entire car.
Inside, the EQS Concept draws its inspiration from the look of a high end yacht, from the subtle striping on the dash that resembles teak decking to the sumptuous seats like one might find on a luxury liner cruising the blue waters of the Caribbean.
Theory vs. Reality
In theory, the EQS Concept presages what Mercedes automobiles will look like in the future — assuming that in the future people actually buy sedans at all. But until such time as the future may get here, Mercedes is pushing ahead with the same strategy as Ford — push ICE-powered vehicles as long and as hard as possible.
Fluff them up with a few hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains to make it look like they are making a real effort. Show a few electric concepts now and then to give the illusion that progress is being made. Lather, rinse, repeat. Can you imagine what car companies would be doing about the climate crisis if EU emissions regulations were not forcing their hand?
Photo credits: Mercedes Benz