By Kimatni D. Rawlins, www.AutomotiveRhythms.com
The advancements in digital technologies, EV development, and forward-thinking by Mercedes-Benz were on full display at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. With incontrovertible electrification innovations — both current and on the horizon — the automotive manufacturing and software company from Stuttgart, Germany is nobly playing its part in ascertaining that the electrification of mobility is progressive, efficient, convenient, and widespread. Aptly, M-B took advantage of the fanfare at CES 2023 to launch its global branded, high-power charging network which will debut in North America in 2023.
At CES, Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer and Chief Software Officer Magnus Östberg hosted a TECH to DESIRE press conference to discuss the charging network, as well as an array of other news, such as the Vision EQXX research vehicle with an all-electric driving range of more than 745 miles; partnerships with Apple Music and Universal Music Group to provide elevated in-car sound experiences with Dolby Atmos; and Level 3 conditionally automated driving with Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT. In standard German practice, the announcements were meticulous, tech-heavy, and digitally fascinating. The goal of the perpetuating ideologies from Mercedes-Benz’s engineering perspective is to accelerate infrastructure development to make life easier and convey how technology creates desire for its customers.
Whether your EV adoration is for the EQ brand or another EV company, M-B is aggressively pushing EV adoption to accelerate humanity’s carbon neutrality target. The charging network will be open to every EV customer, not just Mercedes-Benz owners. The rollout will start this year in North America and pairs with MN8 Energy and ChargePoint, which operates one of the most expansive networks of independently owned EV charging stations in 14 countries. MN8 Energy is one of the US’s largest solar energy and battery storage owners and operators. Completion is expected by 2027 and should consist of 400 hubs with more than 2,500 high-power chargers, including an inordinate number of 350 kW chargers. EV drivers can locate the premium charging hubs near highways, central intersections, and metropolitan areas. Cameras for safety will be installed, and the most convenient locations will feature restaurants and restroom facilities close by. Expect 4 to 12 chargers at standard locations and up to 30 at busy junctions. M-B owners will also receive priority with the ability to reserve a spot before arrival.
“At Mercedes-Benz, we’re fully committed to making the charging of battery electric vehicles easier and more accessible,” stated Markus Schäfer. “By selecting MN8 Energy and ChargePoint as our partners in North America – two of the leaders in their respective fields – we’ll be able to continue to drive the transformation towards an electric future, which is one of the main pillars of our holistic, sustainable corporate strategy.”
In accordance with the network announcement, I was also able to experience a Las Vegas drive in the Vision EQXX ultra-EV. Engineered in just 18 months and representing the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built, this experimental unit acts as a barometer for production EQ models, which may eventually inherit deviations from its technology, energy storage capabilities, and driving range. Ironically however, an owner of this particular EV may not need the high-power charging network since its range of 745 miles is so extensive. The development intention of the vehicle was to produce a battery with 100 kW capacity, lightweight construction, increased aero, and extreme efficiency.
To evaluate the EQXX’s limits, M-B engineers averaged an impressive energy consumption of 7.5 miles per kilowatt hour on a drive from Stuttgart, Germany to Silverstone, U.K. The RWD EQXX features carbon fiber components, fully covered magnesium rims, a solar-paneled fix roof for regeneration, a 47.5″ 8K MBUX display screen, and an all-planted-based interior utilizing bamboo, cactus, and mushroom-derived materials. Although it’s optimized for highway driving, the EV moves emphatically with its low center of gravity. Comparatively speaking, the EQXX battery is half the volume of the EQS battery and a third less in weight yet has almost the same amount of energy as the EQS.
After a charge and refresher, hop back in your M-B EV to enjoy 31-speaker Burmester high-end 4D and 3D sound experiences to generate excitement en route to your next destination. With this system, which features speakers in the seats, you will hear and feel the music! M-B collaborated with Apple Music, Universal Music Group (UMG), and Dolby Atmos immersive audio to reproduce every sound element from recording sessions to harvest preferable in-car entertainment through MBUX. As a result, a Mercedes-Benz is now the first device not produced by Apple to present Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. Furthermore, this setup provided a lane for UMG artists to base their song approval procedures on the end mix and establish the “Approved in a Mercedes-Benz” seal as a gold standard of sound.
The future of mobility was presented succinctly to showgoers looking for the most visceral human experience possible from the collision of virtual reality and analog worlds. Mercedes-Benz gave audiences the latest innovations, cutting-edge technology, and future cars at the 2023 Consumer Electronics. So, are you ready for the next transitioning stage of mobility?