Mercedes: The three-box sedan to die due to EV aerodynamic constraints

With the Vision EQXX concept unveiled this week at CES in Las Vegas, Mercedes is previewing the electric vehicle of the future. By combining an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.17 with next-gen batteries and lightweight construction, the revolutionary EV has a (simulated) driving range of over 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) on a single charge.

As the three-pointed star is preparing for the inevitable electric era, it’s signaling the beginning of the end for the good ol’ three-box sedan. Yes, the Vision EQXX is technically a sedan since it has a trunk lid like the EQE rather than a more practical liftback as the bigger EQS, but the roofline looks like it was taken from a coupe.

This swoopy shape has prompted marketing departments from various automakers to label their cars as four-door coupes. The highly efficient electric concept fits that bill, and it’s not just for the sake of style, but rather for a lower drag coefficient to consequently boost efficiency for a greater range. Daimler design chief Gorden Wagener told Motor Trend the traditional sedan will be bidding adieu sooner or later while Mercedes is bolstering its electric portfolio.

Aside from looking more appealing and providing extra practicality for the cargo area, a fastback silhouette offers better airflow than an old-school sedan. The elongated tail is smoother to enable a lower drag coefficient, with Mercedes saying a reduction of just 0.01 translates to an additional 2.5% of range.

The German luxury brand will also be killing the traditional front grille since it’s obviously not necessary for a car that lacks an internal combustion engine. The EQXX we keep coming back to serves as a window into a future design language with the company’s iconic logo embossed into a front panel where you’d normally find a grille on a car with a gasoline or diesel engine that would have to be cooled during operation. In addition, the stars will also be built into the headlights to serve as the LED daytime running lights.

As previously reported, Mercedes will offer certain EVs with an optional solar roof from 2024 to increase the driving range furthermore. In the case of the EQXX, its 117 solar cells can store enough energy for an additional 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of range on a sunny day.

On a related note, there are also plans to change how the SUVs are shaped for better airflow, but Mercedes admits these will never be as aerodynamically efficient as four-door coupes. Future electric sport utility vehicles will lose some of the rear headroom and cargo capacity by adopting a more sloped roofline to lower the drag coefficient. The EQE SUV and EQS SUV coming later in 2022 will be leading the way by being more aero friendly than the conventionally powered GLE and GLS.

Source: Motor Trend

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