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The Vision EQS concept car presages a fullsize sedan that will be part of Mercedes-Benz’s range of all-electric EQ models. (Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes-Benz EQS concept: the S-Class of electric vehicles?

At the 2019 Frankfurt auto show, Mercedes-Benz revealed its idea for a fully-electric sedan likely to sit atop the brand’s lineup of new-generation EQ models.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class for decades helped form the automotive definition for “flagship.” With electric propulsion seemingly set to revolutionize the industry, the company could be ready to reframe the flagship definition, unveiling at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show the Vision EQS concept car, a vehicle that could signal the next direction for Mercedes’ range-topping passenger car.

Mercedes already has discussed its intention to launch a full “EQ” lineup of electric vehicle (EV) models, but the Vision EQS concept could be particularly significant if the company intends for the longstanding S-Class to fully cast off its internal-combustion heritage. Another possibility is for a fully-electric model to represent the pinnacle of an S-Class lineup that also could encompass internal-combustion variants. Or, the EQS could simply become sedan flagship of the EQ lineup that also will feature several utility-vehicle bodystyles.

At the Vision EQS’ unveiling at the Frankfurt show, Mercedes did not give direct insight into how a potential production version of the concept car would fit into the company’s long-range strategy, but in a release did call the car “a milestone on the way to the future of Mercedes-Benz,” adding that it is “a new outlook for future large, electric luxury sedans.”

Big battery, more-sustainably produced
The Vision EQS is fitted with a battery pack of “approximately” 100 kWh capacity, Mercedes said. The lithium-ion battery pack is made by Accumotive, a subsidiary of Mercedes owner Daimler AG. The company took pains to add, “for the next vehicle generation of the product and technology brand EQ, some of the battery cells are ready to be wholly produced using power from renewable sources. In purchasing battery cells from CO2-neutral production, Mercedes-Benz Cars is making a major contribution on the way to a CO2-neutral new car fleet in twenty years.”

Also added: “As a first result of the sustainability partnership [with a major battery-cell supplier], by purchasing CO2-neutrally produced battery cells, Mercedes-Benz Cars will reduce the overall CO2 footprint of all the batteries in future vehicle models by considerably more than 30%.”

For the Vision EQS, this sizeable battery pack yields a “comfortable” driving range of up to 400 miles (700 km). With capability for recharging at up to 350 kW — such systems already in place for public use — the battery could be recharged to 80% capacity in less than 20 minutes, the company claimed.

An electric motor at each axle imparts all-wheel-drive capability with “fully-variable” torque distribution. Total output is 469 hp and a peak of 560 lb-ft (759 Nm). The 0-to-60 mph (97 km/h) run takes less than 4.5 s. A release mentions transmission “ratios,” suggesting the transmission integrated with the traction motor and power electronics could be more than a single-speed unit; a handful of automakers and Tier 1 suppliers recently have shown 2-speed transmissions in conjunction with EV drive motors.

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