BRIXWORTH, England — Mercedes-Benz has engaged its Formula One crew within the engineering course of to construct vastly extra environment friendly mass-market electrical autos, slashing improvement instances by 1 / 4 or extra because it bounce begins efforts to maintain tempo with Tesla.
F1 expertise has at all times finally bled over into mass-market autos. But Mercedes’ F1 collaboration to construct extra environment friendly EVs quicker is unprecedented as a result of it embeds that racing mindset and technological experience instantly in product improvement.
After a long time of management in combustion-engine expertise, legacy automakers reminiscent of Mercedes have lagged Tesla in EVs. Mercedes’ F1 crew will help it get again within the race, mentioned Steven Merkt, head of transportation options at TE Connectivity, a significant provider.
“Nobody feels the pressure more than Mercedes to be innovation leaders here,” Merkt mentioned. “They have got to push it out or they are no longer Mercedes.”
Last 12 months, Mercedes unveiled its EQXX idea automotive, a super-efficient EV able to a spread of greater than 1,200 km (745 miles), which was collectively developed with the automaker’s F1 crew in England.
The EQXX took simply 18 months to develop, leaning on the F1 crew’s expertise of working quickly to squeeze effectivity from engines and electrical motors, aerodynamics and rolling resistance, the corporate mentioned.
“We have an edge here with Formula One that others do not have,” Mercedes Chief Technology Officer Markus Schaefer mentioned. “Tesla does not have it. Other teams do not have it.”
Tesla didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Speed is ever extra vital as a result of newer entrants, above all Tesla, can develop or tweak fashions way more rapidly than legacy automakers. Fast-moving Chinese EV makers have reduce improvement time to a median of two.5 years and are launching progressive, cheaper fashions in Europe.
The want for pace is coupled with a push amongst automakers to make EVs extra environment friendly and thereby cut back prices – by reducing weight, bettering vary, and utilizing much less battery supplies already briefly provide.
Suppliers say effectivity is now baked into some EV contracts as automakers search to make their autos extra inexpensive.
“Efficiency is a key enabler to accelerate adoption of EVs globally,” Schaefer mentioned.
Parts of what Mercedes discovered from the EQXX will characteristic in a brand new EV platform that may go into manufacturing in 2024, together with aerodynamic options, components of the powertrain and the automobile’s software program system.
Schaefer mentioned making use of its F1 method, Mercedes has reduce new automobile improvement time from a median of 58 months to go from the drafting board to mass manufacturing to “the low 40s.”
For spinoff fashions – comparable fashions constructed utilizing the identical platform – the goal is “the low 30s.”
The F1 engine crew at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth in central England is now engaged on at the very least half a dozen new initiatives creating components for mass-market Mercedes fashions – batteries, inverters and new generations of motors, Schaefer mentioned.