Mercedes taps F1 team to build efficient EVs
STORY: Mercedes Benz has plugged its Formula One team into the engineering process.
To build vastly more efficient mass-market electric vehicles, as the German carmaker jump starts efforts to keep pace with Tesla.
"The race is real, whether it's on the race track or it's targeting those innovations to go into into the next electric powertrain for Mercedes."
F1 technology has always eventually bled over into mass-market vehicles.
But Mercedes' F1 collaboration is unprecedented, because it embeds that racing mindset and technological expertise directly in product development.
In 2022, the premium carmaker unveiled its EQXX concept car, a super-efficient electric vehicle with a range of more than 740 miles.
The EQXX was jointly developed with the F1 team, including Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, or HPP, in England.
Here's HPP advanced technology director Adam Allsopp.
"We need to absolutely maximize every single joule, chase every single watt of loss. And that's really the ethos that we were looking for in EQXX, how do we create a super efficient real world EV?"
The EQXX took just 18 months to develop, or a fraction of the time it takes to craft a new production car -- the company says.
Speed is ever more important because newer entrants, above all Tesla, can develop or tweak models far more quickly than legacy carmakers.
Fast-moving Chinese EV makers have cut development time to an average of 2.5 years and are launching innovative, cheaper models in Europe.
The need for speed is also coupled with a push among carmakers to make electric vehicles more efficient and reduce costs - by lowering weight, improving range, and using less battery materials.
"Efficiency is so key to not only the materials that we're using, but the sustainability of what we're doing. If we can create a car that can achieve the same performance and the same range with smaller batteries because we're more efficient, then it means that we are we're not only taking care of our customer, but from a sustainability point of view, we're in a better position so that mutually reinforces a number of the commitments that Mercedes have made."
And it's not just Mercedes.
Others in the auto industry, like Ford and Volkswagen, are also ramping up the race for speed and efficiency.