The world is rapidly changing as megatrends transform our lives. Consequently, business models are changing as disruptors break-down norms. “The great transformations that the automotive industry is currently undergoing pose great opportunities to shape the future in lasting ways. One thing is clear, the proven recipes for the success of yesterday, will not be the recipes for the success of tomorrow,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“At Mercedes-Benz, we believe that the key ingredient to achieving success in the future is to best connect the dots in this new era. We have clustered the challenges of this new era, and developed the CASE corporate strategy as our intelligent response,” Fritz continues.
CASE is an acronym for the fields of networking (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). CASE forms an integral part of Daimler AG’s vision to shape intuitive electric mobility.
Mercedes-Benz Cars already plays a leading role in all four areas today. For example, all activities in the area of connectivity are focused on the digital brand Mercedes me, which gives customers access to an extensive and personalised range of services by app, website or straight from their car.
On the way to autonomous driving, Mercedes-Benz has for years been a key driver of development and has repeatedly set the benchmark. To this end, the Mercedes engineers use what is known as sensor fusion. The data from different sensors, such as cameras, ultrasound and radar, are intelligently combined and analysed. With smart vision EQ fortwo, the smart brand is also demonstrating what driving without a steering wheel could look like in the future of car-sharing.
The inventor of the automobile is already playing a leading role in the field of Sharing & Services. The mobility services used by over 14.5 million people range from free-floating car-sharing (car2go) and private peer-to-peer car-sharing (Croove), through ride-hailing (mytaxi) to the mobility platform (moovel).
The Mercedes-Benz three-lane drive system strategy across all vehicle segments
Mercedes-Benz is taking a holistic approach to powertrain electrification as this is an important component in the mobility of the future. Apart from the EQ (Electric Intelligence) brand and EQ family of vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is also developing a holistic ecosystem includes a comprehensive electric mobility offering. This extends from intelligent services and energy storage units for private and commercial customers to charging technologies and sustainable recycling.
On the road to emission-free driving, Daimler AG is steering a three-lane drive system strategy in order to implement maximum environmental compatibility across all vehicle classes – with an intelligent mix of the latest combustion engines and partial electrification through 48-volt technology, tailor-made plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles with battery or fuel cell drive systems.
Lane #1: Electric pioneer Mercedes-Benz builds on CO2-free mobility
Mercedes-Benz is pursuing a holistic approach to powertrain electrification. The company is also developing the EQ brand into a holistic ecosystem which, alongside the electric family of vehicles itself, also comprises a comprehensive electromobility offering. This extends from intelligent services and energy storage units for private and commercial customers to charging technologies and sustainable recycling.
The Mercedes-Benz EQC (combined power consumption: 22.2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, provisional figures)1 is the first series-produced model to be launched under the EQ brand. With its seamless, trailblazing design and colour highlights typical of the brand — both inside and out — the mid-size SUV is a pioneer for an avant-garde electric look while representing the design idiom of Progressive Luxury.
The EQC is truly the Mercedes-Benz among electric vehicles, with its unmatched quality, safety, comfort and dynamic performance. The electric motors at the front and rear axles have a combined output of 300 kW with the sophisticated operating strategy enabling an electric range of more than 450 km according to NEDC (provisional figure)1. The EQC symbolises the start of a new mobility era at Daimler and is set to be produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen from 2019, for delivery to South African customers in 2020.
With the Concept EQA (length/width/height: 4285/1810/1428 mm; wheelbase: 2729 mm), Mercedes-Benz demonstrates how the EQ strategy can be translated to the compact class. Featuring one electric motor on the front axle and one at the rear, this electric athlete has a system output of over 200 kW. The drive characteristics can be altered by varying the permanent all-wheel drive’s front to rear torque distribution. The Concept EQA shows which drive programme has been selected on a unique virtual radiator grille. In combination with the intelligent Mercedes-Benz operating strategy, the Concept EQA achieves a range of around 400 kilometres, depending on the battery capacity installed.
EQ also offers comprehensive services with Mercedes me, and makes electromobility convenient and suitable for day-to-day motoring. “The Mercedes-Benz EQ brand and technology encapsulates all the electric know-how of Mercedes-Benz Cars. By 2022, Mercedes-Benz will offer more than ten purely electrically driven vehicles in every production series,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
Lane #2: The extensive range of plug-in hybrids is further expanded
Plug-in hybrids represent a key technology on the road to a locally emission-free future for the motor vehicle. This is because they offer customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in fully electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine’s range. To underline the important role of hybrids in the process of electrifying the car, the plug-in models from Mercedes-Benz will in future bear the EQ Power technology badge.
Because the strengths of plug-in hybrids come to the fore in larger vehicles and on mixed route profiles, Mercedes-Benz is opting for this powertrain concept from the C-Class upwards. The strategic hybrid initiative is decisively facilitated by Mercedes-Benz’s intelligent, modular hybrid concept: designed to be scalable, it can be transferred to a large number of model series and body styles as well as left and right-hand-drive variants.
Following the C 350 e*, GLE 500 e 4MATIC*, GLC 350 e 4MATIC*, GLC 350 e 4MATIC Coupé * and E 350 e*, the new S 560 e* (*combined fuel consumption: 3.3–2.1 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 78–48 g/km, combined electrical consumption: 16.7–11.0 kWh/100 km), and successor to the S 500 e, is already the eighth plug-in model that Mercedes-Benz is bringing to market.
The hybrid drive system in the S 560 e combines the 270 kW (367 hp) of the V6 petrol engine with an electric output of 90 kW. The third-generation hybrid transmission evolved on the basis of the 9G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The torque converter, clutch and electric motor are housed in the innovative hybrid drive unit. The compact design was achieved by integrating and connecting the separating clutch, torsional vibration damper and torque converter lockup clutch within the rotor of the electric motor. The torque converter with its powerful and highly efficient hydraulic circuit offers the customary smoothness when pulling away in hybrid mode.
“The hybridization and electrification of our vehicles’ drive systems through our EQ portfolio will significantly reduce the CO? emissions of our vehicles on the road to emission-free driving. Accordingly, Daimler AG is investing approximately one billion Euros in battery production, and over 10 billion Euros in new EQ products over the next few years,” Govender continues.
Lane #3: High-efficiency internal combustion engines
Mercedes-Benz attaches key importance to the optimisation of modern, internal combustion engines in its road map to sustainable mobility. In particular, the economical, clean and highly popular diesel engine makes an important contribution to the further reduction of fleet consumption. The new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine marked the début of a groundbreaking family of engines from Mercedes-Benz. It is the first passenger car diesel engine to use the stepped-bowl combustion process – named after the shape of the combustion bowl in the piston.
The innovations also include the combination of aluminium engine block and steel pistons as well as the further-improved NANOSLIDE® cylinder wall coating. The new four-cylinder OM 654 celebrated its world première in the E 220 d (combined fuel consumption: 3.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 102 g/km) from the new E-Class in spring 2016. The new engine consumes around 13 percent less fuel than its predecessor in a comparable vehicle.
The new petrol engines featuring six or four cylinders point the way into the combustion engine’s future: They include trailblazing technologies such as the starter alternator (EQ Boost), 48-volt on-board electrical system and electrical booster compressor (six-cylinder).
The new, systematically electrified, in-line six-cylinder engine comes to the starting line in the S 500, which has an output of 320 kW (435 hp) and 520 Nm (combined fuel consumption: 6.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 150 g/km). Over a short period, EQ Boost, a feature of the integrated starter alternator, makes a further 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW of output available. Compared with the similarly powerful S 500 predecessor featuring a V8 engine, it has been possible to reduce the CO2 emissions of the engine by around 22 percent.
Next to make its début is the new generation of the four-cylinder petrol engine (M 264) with a power-to-swept-volume ratio of well over 100 kW per litre. The use of a belt-driven starter alternator with a 48-volt on-board electrical system also marks a further step towards the electrification of the drive system and facilitates functions such as boost, coasting with the engine off and recuperation.
Like the six-cylinder engine, the new eight-cylinder engine celebrated its première in the S-Class. The new twin turbo assembly is among the world’s most economical V8 petrol engines and consumes up to six percent less fuel than its predecessor. In efforts to lower the fuel consumption, four cylinders of the new V8 are deactivated simultaneously under partial load thanks to the CAMTRONIC valve-lift adjustment system.
The new V8 generates 345 kW (469 hp) and 700 Nm and it is available as the Mercedes-Benz S 560 (combined fuel consumption: 8.5–7.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 195–181 g/km) and Mercedes-Maybach S 560 (combined fuel consumption: 9.3–8.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 209–198 g/km).
EQ in Motorsport: Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
The F1 W09 EQ Power+ is improved in every area over its predecessor and will become the fastest Mercedes Formula One car in history. As the most advanced machine ever conceived by Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, the 2018 car aims to write its own chapter in that long racing heritage while at the same time pushing the technological boundaries of motorsport.
Christened Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, the new car proudly carries the “EQ Power+” designation which was launched to the world on last year’s car. As part of the naming strategy of Mercedes-AMG, “EQ Power+” stands for the brand’s future performance hybrid models. The Formula One team is proud to have led the way that was followed by the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE show car revealed in Frankfurt last year.
The EQ Power+ designation places the F1 car and its state-of-the-art hybrid power unit at the forefront of the future Mercedes-AMG line-up, showcasing how F1 technology is accelerating the future of motor racing and automotive technology in general.
“The goal has been clearly defined: EQ is to become the most desirable electro-technology brand in the automotive sector. With technologies and innovations that go well beyond the vehicle portfolio, EQ makes entry into the world of electric mobility as easy as possible for customers. As the only premium vehicle brand to be ranked in the top 8 of Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2018, the top vehicle brand in both the business and consumer categories of the Sunday Times Top Brands 2018, and the reigning Generation Next coolest motor vehicle brand, we at Mercedes-Benz are confident that we are on-track to realize this goal for EQ,” concludes Govender.
Major progress towards emission-free driving
As a premium manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz aspires to develop products that are environmentally compatible in their market segments. Daimler AG has set itself the target of reducing the use of primary raw materials for electric drives by 40 percent by 2030. Apart from the economical use of resources, the reconditioning of components and the recycling of the raw materials used play an important role too. This holistic approach also includes the use of vehicle batteries in stationary energy-storage devices.
All available means have to be used for this. From the environmentally and socially compatible reduction in the use of raw materials to production and process technologies that are easy on the environment to recycling or remanufacturing: the company adopts a holistic approach and considers vehicle emissions and resource consumption over the entire lifecycle right from the start.
Only an analysis of the vehicles’ entire lifecycle provides a realistic picture of the electric drive’s lifecycle assessment (LCA). This reveals that the lifecycle assessment (LCA) of the plug-in hybrids is already positive with respect to CO2 emissions. Despite the much higher expenditure during the production phase, the plug-in hybrid can substantially reduce CO2 emissions over its entire lifecycle and, in the best-case scenario, accounts for around 45 percent of the total emissions. This more than compensates for the extra investment of CO2 emissions during production.
Mercedes-Benz forecasts that battery-electric models are set to account for 15-25 percent of total unit sales by 2025; depending on customer preferences and the development of the public infrastructure. The battery facility currently under construction in Tuscaloosa (United States of America) forms part the global battery production network comprised of eight factories located in Kamenz, (Germany), Stuttgart-Untertürkheim (Germany), Sindelfingen (Germany), Beijing (China), and Bangkok (Thailand) that allows Mercedes-Benz to react flexibly and efficiently to market demands and requirements.
ZOETROPE by Es Devlin – A public pavilion inspired by EQ
Mercedes-Benz South Africa commissioned award-winning designer Es Devlin to create and interactive installation to ignite the public imagination around the exciting future offered by its Electrical Intelligence (EQ) brand and technology.
“The automotive industry is currently undergoing a transformation that offers great opportunities to shape the future in lasting ways through innovation, inspiration and fascination. Mercedes-Benz is proud to have commissioned an artwork that embodies emotion and intelligence while considering the future of mobility and introducing South Africa to our EQ (Electric Intelligence) technologies,” says Fritz.
Using solar power and responding to the pioneering EQ brand and technology, the ZOETROPE imagines the potential for a future global network of solar-powered pavilions specific to their locations, each one acting as a unique charging station for the mind of the driver.
Launched on 1 November 2018 and situated on Silo Square at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, Devlin’s new sculptural work is a first for South Africa, and the first of its kind in the world. This thought-provoking piece will remain open for a full year, with visitors welcome free of charge.
For more information, visit www.mercedes-benz.co.za/eq, @mercedesbenzsouthafrica on Facebook, @mercedesbenzsa on Twitter or @mercedesbenzsa on