The Paris Motor Show is on today, and Mercedes-Benz is using the big gathering as a platform to present its vision for the future of electric mobility. Introducing a new EQ brand, standing for "Electric Intelligence," the German automaker has revealed a new concept car that embodies its ideas about designing vehicles "based on an architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models." It's called Generation EQ and it's a streamlined, all-wheel drive, all-electric SUV in its Paris form, but Mercedes says the underlying architecture is versatile enough to also be used for saloons, coupes, cabriolets, and other models, thanks to a modular component system.
The Generation EQ car joins in the current trend among concept vehicles of replacing side mirrors with cameras and disguising door handles and windshield wipers in order to emphasize a clean aerodynamic shape. It's a reinterpretation of Mercedes' design philosophy and aims to set a distinctive new "electro-look" for the company, as Daimler head of design Gorden Wagener explains. As if there weren't enough LEDs on the exterior — signalling the electric drive within, presumably — the interior is also strewn with electric illumination strips and is dominated by a super wide 24-inch TFT screen that sits in the place of the traditional instrument panel. OLED touchscreens sit on two of the steering wheel's three spokes, providing access to menus and swipe controls right under the driver's thumbs. Mercedes claims the Generation EQ is close to production.
EQ is about providing a full ecosystem of products and services around the car
Beyond the car it's showing off today, Mercedes wants its new EQ brand to be known for offering a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem, which would include "products, services, technologies, and innovations" to augment the driving experience. Part of that will relate to expanding the choice and availability of charging solutions, such as through home energy storage units. Some of the innovation goes directly into the car itself, with the Generation EQ featuring two electric motors, one on each axle, that can produce 300kW of power and last for as long as 500km (310 miles) on a single charge of the battery integrated into the vehicle floor. Mercedes also envisions fast charging solutions that will add 100 miles of extra range to the car from just five minutes of charging. Oh, and the Generation EQ can go from 0 to 60mph in under five seconds.
"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 Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche. The autonomous aspect of that in the Generation EQ will include information from HERE maps so that the car will know "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." Mercedes wants to move toward a "sensor fusion" whereby data from a variety of sensors is combined into one system, which would be assistive at first and autonomous eventually. And if you want connectivity, Car-to-X technology inside the Generation EQ allows it to exchange info with smart city infrastructure or other cars to help accident prevention. It will also help the car know about nearby recharging opportunities and alert the driver if reaching the given destination on the current charge becomes unfeasible.
The Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ is just one of a number of major debuts at this year's Paris Motor Show, so stay tuned for more as the big car show gets going in earnest.