Technology and Website

Tag Archive: sleek

Mercedes reveals sleek concept built around breakthrough EV technology

Open this photo in gallery:

Mercedes built 16 copies of the original C111, and 11 still exist. This one is powered by the later V8 engine.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Mercedes-Benz revealed a futurist hypercar concept called Vision 111 in Carlsbad, Calif. this week. While it pays homage to the iconic C111 prototypes of the previous century with its sleek look and gullwing doors, the real advancement, just like the C111, is with the powertrain technology.

For the Vision 111, the German automaker is talking about designing the vehicle around smaller, lighter and more powerful electric motors mounted right on the wheels. The car we see doesn’t have these motors in it now.

Because the axial-flow motor is a third of the weight and a third of the volume to create the same power, “we could imagine it to be part of the wheel and the unsprung mass, which is critical,” said Konstantin Neiss, chairman of YASA and head of drive unit development for Mercedes-Benz.

Open this photo in gallery:

The shark snout and the extractor ducts on the Mercedes-Benz Vision 111 are among many features inspired by the C111.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Wheel-mounted motors are arguably the holy grail of EV development, but are not currently viable because they increase unsprung weight, weight is not supported by a vehicle’s suspension, which is an enemy of suspension design. Lighter AF motors could resolve that issue, not only in and of themselves but also by allowing smaller friction brakes, because the motors in regenerative systems do much of the braking.

As well, Neiss said, “you get rid of the driveshaft weight, of the central drive unit weight, by placing the motors onto the wheels. So there may also be an overall weight advantage on the vehicle. And the most obvious advantage is that you gain good space in the center of the vehicle for either placing battery packs or other technical components, or you can simply use it for more space for the customer or the trunk or wherever.”

Open this photo in gallery:

Unlike its C111 inspiration, the Vision 111 will never be driven fast enough to need all of its aerodynamic aids.Jeremy Sinek/The Globe and Mail

Developed originally by YASA Ltd., a British electric vehicle motors startup founded by Oxford-grad Tim Woolmer and now owned by Mercedes, the motors use axial-flux (AF) stator technology rather

Read more