Mercedes-Benz invited us to the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA to see the four new major announcements across their brands. Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said that the future of the company isn’t in any single new technology—it’s in many of them. Cleaner diesel and more efficient gasoline engines will evolve alongside electric and fuel cell technology, power solutions with reduced or no emissions for cars, vans, trucks and buses. From the smart vision EQ fortwo autonomous concept to its brother from another mother, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE supercar, here’s what you need to know.
First, Mercedes-Benz is dedicated to CASE, a strategy they launched last year for all of their brands: Connected, Autonomous, Shared/Services and Electric, and you’ll see this across all new vehicles. Second is EQ, what Daimler (Mercedes-Benz’s parent company) calls “electric intelligence,” which you will also see in many upcoming vehicles, technologies, products and services, including all four (and the previously-announced copter) below.
The smart vision EQ fortwo looks like an evolved version of the familiar car, but you’ll quickly notice that its doors rotate up like wings to provide easier entry and avoid hitting people and bicycles—two things sometimes found nearby. Smart’s take on the future of mobility is electric and fully autonomous, with no controls on board and a car that comes to you when you need it. An evolution of the car sharing signs that feature colors, the vision EQ fortwo fully embraces digital displays that show your name and personalized color signature as it arrives, so you can easily distinguish which car is yours. As a shared car service with intelligence to understand demand it provides there-when-you-need-it convenience without the time and hassle of needing to park.
Following last year’s introduction of the Concept EQ, the first of 10 new all-electric vehicles coming to the EQ badge by 2022 is the EQA coupe. At Mercedes-Benz “A” signifies their smallest cars, and this stylish coupe makes a practical commuting car, with up to an estimated 250 miles/400 km range per charge. Inside its sleek exterior you’ll find two electric motors, laser-light technology, variable driving modes and flexible charging options including plug in and induction. While some cosmetic details will surely change, this is a mostly production-ready look at a car just a few years out.
The popular GLC gets a production-ready zero emission hybrid fuel cell and electric model, available in 2019. Its primary energy source is a hydrogen powered fuel cell, with 9.7 lbs/4.4 kg of hydrogen delivering an estimated 437km/270 miles of range; it’s supplemented by a plug-in electric battery, which also helps power the electric motor. On its own it provides around 30 miles/49 km of range, enough for quick trips around town. The two technologies work together to provide maximum efficiency and reduce range anxiety. New displays and a multifunction touchpad will debut in the F-CELL as well, differentiating it from other models.
From the Formula 1 track to the street, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE is a 1,000hp street legal mid-engine supercar that leverages EQ technology to combine electric and combustion into sensory overload. Celebrating AMG’s 50th anniversary in style, the 217 mph/350 kmh beast’s production model will be nearly identical to this concept. The ONE features four electric motors, an electrically driven front axle and a 1.6-liter V6 hybrid turbo gasoline engine using the same technology as the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 race car.
Mercedes-Benz is also exploring new mobility concepts through its LAB1886 Division, which invests in start-ups and new technologies, like the Velocopter, which was announced a few weeks ago and made its debut at the show. An autonomous helicopter designed for commuting, it’s one of the ways Mercedes-Benz is seeking to explore mobility in new ways.
Images courtesy of Mercedes-Benz