EQ - the history of electric vehicles.

EQ stands for electric vehicles made by the brand with the famous star. The vehicles are designed on the basis of the latest developments in areas such as electromobility and direct comparisons with earlier individual experiments in may be difficult. Nevertheless – or perhaps precisely because of this – a glance back into history opens up many fascinating stories. One such story is set in 1990.

In May of that year, Mercedes-Benz exhibited a model 190 (W 201) converted to electric drive in the innovation market section at the Hanover Fair.  The electric 190s became a mobile lab used to test different drive configurations and battery systems such as sodium-nickel or sodium-sulphur high-energy batteries. However, the operating temperature of both systems was too high - it was around 300 degrees Celsius.


First solutions

About a year later, in March 1991, at the Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a fully developed five-seater with proven safety features based on the 190 model. Each of the rear wheels of the vehicle presented in Geneva was powered by its own DC motor energised by permanent magnets with a peak power of 16 kW (22 hp) each, so the total power output was 32 kW (44 hp).  Energy was supplied by a sodium-nickel chloride battery, and the additional weight compared to a series-production vehicle with a combustion engine was only 200 kilograms. Even then, the vehicle was equipped with a system of regenerative braking, which returned energy to the power pack during braking actions.



100,000 kilometres in one year

Mercedes cars of the 190 series, powered by electricity, were also tested in everyday use. Ten 201 vehicles were delivered in 1992 to the Baltic island of Rügen, where a special infrastructure was coinstructed, including solar-powered charging stations During the tests that lasted until 1996, the vehicles caused almost no problems and performed their work reliably. One of the 190 cars was used particularly intensively by local taxi drivers and achieved a record mileage of about 100,000 kilometres in one year!


The experience gained by experts in the 1990s contributed to the development of electromobility, and the knowledge gathered is still used today by Stuttgart engineers for developing modern hybrid and electric Mercedes-Benz EQ vehicles.

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