Saturday, November 26, 2022

Mercedes-Benz Plays the Long, But Fast, Game to Surpass Tesla

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Will speed win the EV car wars? Mercedes-Benz thinks so—and it’s racing into the future with its new 677-horsepower high-performance electric car, the AMG EQE.

Tesla dominated the U.S. luxury and EV market last year, but Mercedes-Benz is nipping at its heels. In its drive to go all-electric by 2030, the German automaker is kicking into high gear with the launch of the AMG EQE, the second battery-electric high-performance version of its E-class sedan.

Like the AMG EQS, announced last September, the EQE will also be built on the Mercedes-Benz EVA2 platform, designed for medium and large vehicles.

Built for speed

Mercedes is laser-focused on speed—a Tesla calling card—with the AMG EQE accelerating from zero to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds—about the same as the 2019 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor Performance. The sedan boasts top speeds of 149 mph, 677 horsepower, and 738-ft-lbs of torque in the Dynamic Plus package.

“With the new model, we are expanding our range with a purely electrically powered performance vehicle and are thus addressing additional target groups,” Philipp Schiemer, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, said in a statement.

Image courtesy Mercedez-Benz

“The AMG EQE focuses on sportiness and impressive driving dynamics. And that’s not the end of our Future of Driving Performance: After performance hybrids and all electric AMG derivatives based on EVA2, stand-alone AMG electric vehicles will follow in the not too distant future. These are based on AMG.EA, our new, completely in-house-developed platform,” Scheimer said.

The EQE’s unique battery management system allows for shifts between the Sport and Sport Plus driving mode, which focuses on performance, and the Comfort mode, which is focused on operating range.

“The compact format of the EQE forms the perfect starting point for realizing a highly agile and very emotional driving experience with our AMG-specific solutions,” says Jochen Hermann, Chief Technical Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “This applies in particular to the areas of drive, chassis, brakes and, above all, sound. This ensures that our customers can also look forward to our brand’s hallmark Driving Performance in our second all-electric model series.”

Conscious construction

For this new EV, Mercedes say it has reduced its battery cobalt content by ten percent; it’s the most expensive material in EV batteries. As the industry grows, reducing or eliminating cobalt is expected to drive car prices down.

Image courtesy Mercedez-Benz

Cobalt is controversial because of mining practices in the Democratic Republic of Congo where child labor is frequent. It’s also a driver of environmental destruction across the region, too, as waste generated from the mining process is linked to water, air, and soil pollution, contaminated food and water, and health issues for local communities.

Taking on Tesla

Last month, Mercedes released a concept car also aimed at giving Tesla a run for its money. The Vision EQXX can travel over 600 miles on a single charge. The Tesla Model S gets about 405 miles per charge, but Mercedes beats it there, too, with the 453-mile range in the EQS.

Although still a concept, the EQXX is the future, Mercedes-Benz’s chief executive Ola Källenius said in a statement last month.

“The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX is how we imagine the future of electric cars,” he said. “It underlines where our entire company is headed: We will build the world’s most desirable electric cars.”

Image courtesy Mercedez-Benz

Mercedes is targeting Tesla in other ways, too. Last December the automaker announced it has achieved regulatory approval for a hands-free driving system in Germany—a Level 3 autonomous driving approval. Tesla has only achieved a Level 2 Autopilot. Mercedes-Benz is now approved to sell its Drive Pilot, which can be used on the Autobahn network at a speed of up to 37 mph.

“Drive Pilot enables the driver to turn away from the traffic and focus on certain secondary activities,” Mercedes said in a statement in December.

“For example, to communicate with colleagues via the in-car office, to write emails, to surf the Internet or to relax and watch a film,” the statement said.

“The EV shift is picking up speed – especially in the luxury segment, where Mercedes-Benz belongs. The tipping point is getting closer and we will be ready as markets switch to electric-only by the end of this decade,” Källenius said.

“Our main duty in this transformation is to convince customers to make the switch with compelling products.”

The Mercedes AMG EQE is set for a 2023 launch, with starting prices at around $100,000.

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