Mercedes-Benz is kicking off 2022 with a bang. In launching its new 620-mile range EV concept, the Vision EQXX, it’s partnering with vegan leather brands Dessserto and Bolt Threads, and vegan silk producer AMSilk to create more sustainable interiors for longer drive time.
“In the electric era, the new currency is efficiency,” Mercedes-Benz chairman of the board Ola Källenius told Road Show late last year.
The brand is delivering on that mantra with the Monday release of the luxury electric research car. The German automaker says the car can drive more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) on a single charge. That’s nearly 150 miles more than its already impressive range on its first electric luxury sedan, the EQS, and more than double most competitors, too, including EV market leader, Tesla.
“We said, what if you could drive 1,000 kilometers on one battery charge, but you’re not allowed to put a monster battery in the car, and it must resemble a real car that can carry four people, and it must be done with technology that could end up in a series car,” Källenius said.
The car does this with a battery pack Mercedes says is half as large as the EQS’ pack and thirty percent lighter.
But performance isn’t the only area where Mercedes is cleaning up it new EV. The car interior sees a a revolution in sustainability: two different kinds of vegan leather, vegan silk door pulls, floor and door trim from recycled plastic bottles, bamboo fiber carpets, and an interior UBQ material made from actual landfill waste.
“We´re excited to share a new milestone,” Desserto co-founder Adrian Lopez Velarde wrote on LinkedIn. Desserto makes leather from cacti. Last year it announced a partnership with BMW.
Velarde called the Vision EQXX “the most efficient Mercedes-Benz ever built.” And he said it marks a “new expression of efficiency in interior design.”
“Together with other innovative, sustainable material providers, Desserto shows a way forward for luxury design that conserves resources and is in balance with nature,” Velarde says.
The car also sees vegan leather made from mushrooms. Produced by Bolt Threads, the Mylo mushroom leather most recently appeared in Stella McCartney’s Frayme handbag, which debuted during Paris Fashion Week in September.
Mercedes marks another first in sustainability, AMSilk’s Biosteel fiber. It’s a certified vegan silk-like fabric made through a proprietary biotechnology. AMSilk says it is the world’s first industrial supplier of vegan silk biopolymers that are fully biodegradable, renewable, and zero-waste.
“We are extremely proud to partner with Mercedes-Benz on the technology programme Vison EQXX, providing sustainable interior design solutions from our best-in-class bio-based fibers,” Ulrich Scherbel, Chief Executive Officer of AMSilk said in a statement. “Amid a fresh wave of ambitious climate pledges, we are proud to be playing a leading role in providing solutions for a zero-waste future.”
Cars of the future
The new concept car comes just weeks after Mercedes-Benz revealed another concept vehicle, the Virgil Abloh-designed Maybach, a solar-powered electric car revealed in Miami just days after the 41-year-old Louis Vuitton designer passed away from a rare form of cancer. It was the second vehicle collaboration with Abloh.
But while the Maybach is unlikely to ever see production, Mercedes is leveraging the EQXX toward future, drivable designs.
“The Vision EQXX is an advanced car in so many dimensions and it even looks stunning and futuristic,” Källenius said. “With that, it underlines where our entire company is headed: we will build the world’s most desirable electric cars.”