Look at the dash of a Mercedes-Benz G-Class And you will find three buttons. Each locks a differential – rear, center and front – for when the going gets really tough. Even the roaring, AMG-tweaked G63 has them.
gave Mercedes-Benz EQG There are also three buttons on the dash, but none of them have anything to do with the diff. Because EQG doesn’t Is no difference Instead, this battery-powered G-Class has four electric motors, one driving each wheel.
Pressing the center button on the EQG’s dash selects low range, courtesy of a reduction gear system on each motor’s output shaft. By pressing the left button you can take the EQG for a spin.
Hold down the left or right pedal on the steering wheel, depending on which direction you want to go, and punch the accelerator.
The EQG will spin on the spot, turning into a 2800kg whirling dervish that will leave you sluggish and dizzy. Lift the accelerator and the EQG stops obediently, rocking gently on its springs, not traveling forward or backward from its original starting position.
The chief engineer of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Fabian Chausau, admits that he is not entirely sure whether the “G-turn” – as it is called – has a practical application. But as a party trick that showcases the extraordinary potential of the EQG’s powertrain, it’s definitely a showstopper.
Unlike the EQS and EQE SUVs, the EQG; Scheduled to debut in 2024, Mercedes-Benz’s versatile EVA2 electric vehicle is not built on a version of the architecture. Rather, the EQG is a bit like one of those classic Porsche 911s, Ford Mustangs or Land Rovers retrofitted with electric powertrains, with all the EV hardware packed under the iconic sheet metal.
The old-school separate chassis that underpins the G-Class enables a high-tech EV powertrain. After removing the internal combustion hardware, the area between the axles and inside the frame rails provides a natural location in which to pack and protect a large battery, and room at either end for the e-motors. Is.
The frame is reinforced to reduce flex and the battery – which is waterproofed to ensure the EQG has the same wading capacity as the regular G-Class – is protected by a high-tech composite panel. which spans between the axles.
Like the combustion-powered G-Class, the EQG has a multi-link independent front axle, and a non-independent rear axle.
Having an e-motor power each wheel is straightforward with a fully independent suspension setup, but combining a pair of e-motors with a non-independent rear axle requires some lateral thinking. Locating the motors on the axles would have added too much unsprung weight.
The solution was an engineering concept as old as the car itself: the D-Devon axle, which dates back to about 1894. The Dion design has a rigid tube connecting the wheel hubs on either side of the car, so it behaves like a solid axle. , but each wheel is driven by a separate half-shaft with universal joints at both ends.
This allows EQG’s rear e-motors to be securely bolted to the chassis while the axle provides the necessary articulation for ultimate off-road performance.
Like the regular G-Class, the EQG has three off-road drive modes. Trail, rock, and sand, and roll on steel springs with adaptive dampers. The two prototypes we used for our ride along the steep, rocky trails near Perpignan in the south of France had Falken Wildpeak A/T 265/60 tires on 18-inch alloy wheels.
The EQG was conceived as a four-motor EV from the start, and not just so it could roll around like a top for clickbait videos. As every serious off-roader knows, the trick to negotiating extreme terrain is maintaining traction, and that means controlling the torque at the wheels.
The four-motor EV drivetrain allows torque to each wheel to be independently controlled in all conditions, and EQG’s low-range system, which offers a nearly two-to-one gearing reduction, provides that control. Makes it extremely accurate. region
Low range enables a feature called creeper mode, which is a sort of low-speed cruise control. There are three settings: D- which limits the speed to about 2-3km/h; D which increases it between 5-6km/h. and D+ which gives a maximum speed of 8 kmph.
Switching between settings is done by clicking the paddles on the steering wheel that are normally used to manually shift the nine-speed automatic in the combustion engine G-Class.
In low range you can feel the precision in the drivetrain, the control at every wheel, even from the passenger seat.
At times, on steep climbs with loud noise events, the EQG almost stalls as each wheel motor slowly increases its torque output to the sticking point. But while each motor is working independently, all four are working in sync to keep the EQG moving.
The result is that the EQG has markedly better traction in rough stuff than any internal-combustion-engined off-roader, even with three lockable diffs like the G-Class. What’s more, the software means that the four-motor setup provides all the benefits of a lockable diff, without the disadvantages – in other words, you get maximum traction, and still have the ability to corner. are capable.
On downhill sections the creeper mode feels smoother and more progressive than any hill descent control system in a traditional off-roader. This is because the speed is controlled by each e-motor controlling the torque to each wheel, not by applying the brakes. “E-motors react faster than brakes when they engage themselves,” says Schossau.
The EQG feels better even when braking manually. Like most EVs, the EQG’s braking performance of up to 0.3g is handled entirely by the region. On downhill off-road sections all braking is therefore done through the region, and the e-motors work together to ensure that traction is always maintained.
Accelerating on a mock rally stage, the EQG felt surprisingly agile, cornering well, and mildly oversteering under power – the onboard computers calculated the yaw rate, steering angle, and monitor the accelerator position to determine how far away things are to let go.
Acceleration on the straights pushes you back into the seats in typical big-horsepower EV fashion. “Our goal was to make in-car entertainment easy,” says Shusau.
No power or torque outputs have been announced yet, nor will Schossau reveal how big the battery is, or how far the EQG will go between charges. However, it’s fair to suggest that the brick-shaped EQG won’t break any EV range records.
Schossau would only say that the EQG’s on-road performance will be “unbelievable.” A hint, perhaps, that it will outperform the 430kW/850Nm AMG G63, which is claimed to hit 100km/h from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds.
Off road? “Capacity is extremely important,” says Schossau.
For the record, we started our three-hour session with a battery state of charge of 73 percent and a predicted range of 217 km, ending with a battery charge level of 61 percent and a range of 160 km.
With plenty of software and hardware still two years away from development, but even at its current stage of development none of today’s rugged internal combustion engine off-roaders — the Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Defender, The Jeep Wrangler or even the non-AMG versions of the G-Class – can easily match the Mercedes-Benz EQG’s controllability in extreme terrain.
And what is the third button on the EQG dash for? We don’t know. It was covered with duct tape, and when asked, Fabien Chaussau said with a smile: “It’s the magic button”.
We can’t wait to find out what it does.
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