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Does the Mercedes EQXX concept signal the transition to air-cooled EV batteries?

In the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX concept car revealed earlier this week, range took center stage, with claims of an astonishing 621 miles (or more) in the real world from a single battery pack. less than 100 kwh – up to more than 6 miles per kwh in terms of efficiency.

To achieve that effect requires the same level of attention as F1 a series of fascinating technological details—Drawing from the company’s experience in racing F1 on many fronts and involving employees familiar with the tuning of the Nürburgring circuit and the surrounding area.

And yet, the EQXX’s battery pack — one of many elements that executives suggest is potentially production bound — takes an approach not used by F1, Formula E or any EV. any other modern Mercedes: passive cooling, aka air cooling.

Mercedes Vision EQXX EV concept

Mercedes Vision EQXX EV concept

As Daimler AG chief technology officer Markus Schäfer explained after the reveal, it comes complete with intelligent cell management throughout the product, combined with an integrated cooling pad at the bottom, as well as as the vents open as the temperature rises.

Simply put, running a pump and circulating fluid through a cooling system — often two circuits — is energy efficient and efficient.

During Tuesday’s Q&A, Adam Allsop, advanced technology manager for Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, had some more details beyond this top-level view of how the team to the passive cooling system. And he calls the package’s design and its performance parameters a “virtue circle” around the efficiency cells.

A virtuous circle that keeps cool

“The fact that we don’t pursue too much efficiency means that we don’t put stress on the cell,” explains Allsop. green car report, and that means they can use passive cooling option. “That means we can really work to shrink the shape of a battery and fit a huge amount of energy into a very small space.”

Mercedes-Benz claims an energy density of close to 400 watt-hours per liter at the package level — not equal to the power density of cylindrical cell packs like those used by Tesla, but much better than current packages. at other use its prismatic cell format.

Mercedes EQXX battery concept

Mercedes EQXX battery concept

This new strategy is part of a cell-to-pack format directly influenced by the F1, with a 20% increase in cell power density and an overall package 30% lighter and half the size. of EQS. The company said other vendors are involved in the project, including CATL, providing cells for EQS.

However, passive cooling or air cooling is extremely rare today among modern electric vehicles — only found in the Nissan Leaf, among new models, and in a number of other used electric vehicles including including Volkswagen e-Golf.

Lessons from Leaves?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk a decade ago called Nissan’s cooling method for the primitive leaf– at a time when liquid cooling on the Tesla Roadster and Chevy Volt were considered state-of-the-art. Musk correctly predicted that the Leaf’s package would suffer “enormous degradation” in cold weather and could essentially “turn off” in hot temperatures – although Nissan has made better improvements in the process. some change in chemistry.

Mercedes Vision EQXX EV concept

Mercedes Vision EQXX EV concept

To that, the Mercedes team says that there’s still some real-world testing that hasn’t been done — especially since the brand is known for the longevity of its models. “We’ve done single-cell testing on the grow cells and we’ve done battery level checks, but we haven’t done full-time testing yet,” Allsop sums up. “That’s part of what we’ll also learn as we begin to experiment more with EQXX.”

As the executives emphasized when introducing the EQXX, most, if not all, of the key pieces of technology showcased in the concept are production limits — most of them for architecture. The modular MMA architecture will underpin mass-produced small to mid-sized EVs. later in the decade. So even though the air-cooling feature may not be locked in yet, you’ve got to have a relatively high degree of confidence in the decision.

It’s funny how some things become a full circle. Liquid cooling was once an innovation. Innovation can now involve eliminating the need for liquid cooling — at least for cars that aren’t as focused on performance.

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