The Mercedes EQ Boost system represents a novel approach to electrification in the automotive industry. With the ongoing shift from fossil fuel dependence towards embracing electric vehicles as the primary mode of personal transportation, the market has seen many solutions involving the use of combustion engines as generators and the incorporation of large battery packs to power one or more electric motors. However, Mercedes EQ Boost has introduced an innovative alternative that aligns perfectly with the current market transition.
This article delves into the unique features that set the Mercedes EQ Boost apart and shed light on its operational mechanics to enhance the driving experience. The Mercedes EQ Boost is not just a new technology but a testament to Mercedes’ commitment to evolving with the times while prioritizing efficiency and performance.
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Exploring Mercedes EQ Boost
In today’s discourse on transportation, the phrases ‘electric mobility’ and ‘inevitable’ often go hand in hand. Undoubtedly, electric vehicles appear to be the most viable path toward a sustainable future. However, the environmental efficacy of electric cars is contingent upon how the electricity they use is generated. An electric car powered by a coal-fueled thermal power plant might cause more environmental damage than a conventional car.
While the mass adoption of fully-electric cars is yet to be realized, several examples of electrification in modern car powertrains have emerged, offering optimized fuel savings and improved overall efficiency. Among these, hybrid vehicles, such as those equipped with the Mercedes EQ Boost, stand out. These vehicles represent a key step in the journey towards comprehensive electric mobility, offering a pragmatic balance between the old and the new.
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Hybrid cars have been on the scene for some time now, with many having undergone significant evolution. They often utilize advanced fossil-fuel engines that deliver far greater efficiency than their predecessors. However, some hybrids have taken a more radical path. The emergence of more powerful electric motors and higher-density batteries has paved the way for innovative applications of these motors. A prime example of this innovation is the Mercedes EQ Boost system.
The EQ Boost technology essentially compensates for turbo-lag with electric power. Although this sounds simple, the genius lies in its implementation, which offers more than meets the eye.
When considering a turbocharged engine, two key aspects typically come to mind:
- The engine is smaller yet tries to perform the job of a larger displacement engine.
- Turbo-lag: the delay experienced from when you press the accelerator to when the driveline delivers a satisfactory response.
Both these observations are accurate. It’s also true that in many scenarios, pushing a smaller turbocharged engine can result in lower efficiency figures compared to letting a larger engine operate at a lower engine speed or RPM (revolutions per minute). The smart solution to these challenges lies in the innovative approach Mercedes-Benz has taken with the EQ Boost technology.
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What is EQ Boost?
‘EQ’ is Mercedes speak for electric intelligence quotient. Making smarter hybrids possible. You may have seen the ‘EQ Power+’ logo on the Mercedes-AMG F1 cars, which use 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engines in a hybrid configuration. The engine delivers about 700hp, with an electric boost of around 160hp adding to top speed on the straights. EQ Boost in road cars works on a similar principle – first seen in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class plug-in hybrid (S 560 e), and then in the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53, and, more recently, on the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, in the C 200.
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EQ Boost, simply put, is the use of an electric motor that functions as an integrated starter/alternator between the engine and the gearbox. It is located in the transmission housing along with the clutch and torque converter. This mild-hybrid set-up is possible thanks to a 48-volt electrical system that adds to the capability of what the electrics are capable of handling. An electric motor with a nominal peak power but substantial torque output sits between the engine output shaft and the transmission input shaft – between where the power gets made and the means of transferring it to the wheels – supplementing the engine’s power output.
In the C 200, this electric motor makes 10kW (or 14hp equivalent) and a significant 160 Nm (or 118 lb/ft) of torque from the word ‘go’ up until the point where the conventionally-powered petrol engine has come to its optimum operational rev-range. The petrol engine in question is a new 1.5L four-cylinder turbo-petrol that makes a peak 184hp at 5,800 rpm and 280 Nm (206 lb/ft) between 3,000 and 4,000 RPM.
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EQ Boost Advantage
Given those rev-ranges, it’s easier to understand EQ Boost’s advantage. Since the turbo-petrol engine begins making usable torque from about 2,000 rpm and higher before peaking at 3,000 rpm, the EQ Boost motor supplies short bursts of torque from the outset – whenever you put your foot down from standstill, after a red light goes green, for example – and delivers noticeably stronger acceleration that overcomes the potential weaknesses of having a downsized engine.
This boost is only until the engine revs pile up and the turbocharger begins creating sufficient charge pressure – a phenomenon that takes anywhere between a few milliseconds to about a second-and-a-half in some cases. This electric boost effectively fills in for any lag and results in seamless performance all the time.
Of course, the EQ Boost motor also helps in other situations: from coasting to overtaking acceleration, fulfilling multiple roles in terms of adding performance and saving fuel. It supplements peak power when more performance is needed and helps maintain momentum when coasting at speed with the engine disconnected to further fuel saving.
How much boost does EQ Boost provide?
The amount of additional torque provided by EQ Boost varies with the model. In the C 200, the electric motor adds 10kW (14hp) and 160 Nm (118 lb/ft) of peak power and torque respectively.
In the AMG 53 models (CLS- and E-Class cars) the electric motor is rated at 16kW and 250 Nm (22hp and 184 lb/ft) respectively. However, in the 53 range, it also powers an auxiliary compressor that helps deliver an instant boost in terms of compressed air. This allows for an instantaneous surge the moment the accelerator pedal is pushed. This is similar to the electric compressor used in the Audi SQ7 TDI, which was one of the first production cars to feature a 48-volt electrical system.
In the S 560 e, the electric motor makes 90kW and 440 Nm (122hp and 325 lb/ft), with the substantially larger battery pack allowing for pure-electric driving without the combustion engine in use with a driving range of over 30 miles.
More Mercedes EQ Boost plug-in hybrid models will arrive in due course, with the first all-electric GLC-Class-based model due to arrive in 2019.