News broke today from Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kaellenius that the German manufacturer has successfully completed a road trip of over 626 miles in their Vision EQXX concept car. That is WITH 15% charge still left in the batteries. Impressive, right? Range anxiety as a buzzword was only just beginning to take hold... and just like that it has more range than your neighbors Ford F-350 with an extra fuel tank. It looks a bit better too, maybe? More comfortable for sure.
Why? The EQXX is a test vehicle for the engineers of the Stuttgart based automaker. It is a sort of playground with no budget where those folks can express their ingenuity and ideas without the restraints of the accounting department on the floor above them. It is a swan song for battery engineers across the globe. What made this possible? One factor in particular is that the car has a drag coefficient of .17 which basically means that it sifts through the air like a bullet. It is the lowest drag coefficient of any car ever... more smooth than a Ferrari or Porsche of any price range. Not having a front grille helps, as well as the weirdly shaped rear end. The car also weighs only 3,869 pounds thanks to various weight reduction alloys, aluminum disc brakes, silicone-anode batteries, and the use of carbon-fiber composite materials.
This test drive of 626 miles started in Sindelfingen, Germany and ended in Cassis, Northern Italy. It was on real roads... with real people watching it go by. In the rain at many points... not a press photographers dream. Luckily they got the shot above. This was not on some test track where the car was 3 feet behind a semi going around in circles, but a trip with an average speed of 54 mph and the entire journey across central and southern Europe only took 11.5 hours.
What does this mean for the industry? Why is this garnering press attention at all? Many buyers in the market today are apprehensive to purchasing electric vehicles due to the lack of range and charging infrastructure in many areas. While the charging infrastructure problem may take a bit longer to solve... cars like this are a testament to where we are headed in the future. Electric cars will be able to take us further than we've ever dreamed of in an internal combustion car... and it will do so quietly and while contributing less to emissions. That is a win-win right?
The journey to mass consumer adoption of vehicles like this will take some time but it may happen faster than some anticipate. With automakers around the globe committing to growing EV production as soon as possible and pouring billions of dollars into their powertrain Research and Development departments, stories like this are bound to become more common.
Change is the only constant in life.
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