Mercedes' Plan For AMG's Future Is Very, Very Electric

Illustration for article titled Mercedes' Plan For AMG's Future Is Very, Very Electric
Photo: Mercedes

Mercedes might have blown a huge electric sports car lead, but it is now making up for some of that lost time. And while we’ve already seen the new GT 4-Door E Performance, that is very much just the beginning.

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Mercedes said Tuesday that it will have both hybrid and battery-electric models, the former being partially based on the hybrid tech it uses in its Formula 1 cars. Mercedes says the electrified models will still focus on “top performance and maximum driving dynamics,” which is the kind of thing Mercedes would say, though this is also likely about ensuring AMG’s long-term survival, as it looked for a minute there that strict emissions regulations could mean a future without a lot of AMGs.

When developing our new E PERFORMANCE hybrid strategy, it was therefore immediately clear that we would pursue an independent concept for AMG. The layout with the combustion engine at the front and Electric Drive Unit on the rear axle offers numerous advantages. The resulting optimized weight distribution, the best possible utilization of torque and the very immediate power output promise driving dynamics at the highest level. Added to this is the High Performance Battery we developed, which boasts twice the power density of conventional drive batteries and, like many other components, is inspired by technology from Formula 1,” says Jochen Hermann, Chief Technical Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Here’s how that layout will work:

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Photo: Mercedes

The goal is a powertrain that is efficient enough to help Mercedes meet regulations while also providing some serious oomph — up to 804 horsepower, according to Mercedes, and zero to 60 mph in three seconds in the V8-and-electric motor configuration.

There are a few interesting things going on, one of which is a system that Mercedes says will get rid of turbo lag:

The highlight of this innovative turbocharging system: an electric motor is integrated directly on the shaft of the exhaust-gas turbocharger (charger shaft), between the turbine wheel on the exhaust gas side and the compressor wheel on the fresh air side. Electronically controlled, this directly drives the shaft of the exhaust-gas turbocharger and thus accelerates the compressor wheel before the exhaust gas flow takes over the drive. The electrification of the turbocharger significantly improves immediate response from idle and across the entire engine speed range.

The result is that the combustion engine responds even more immediately to accelerator pedal input, and the entire driving feel is significantly more dynamic and agile.

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And then there is a new cooling system for the batteries, which Mercedes says will constantly be 113 degrees Fahrenheit. That system requires 14 liters of coolant.

For the first time, the 560 cells are cooled individually; they are thus permanently surrounded by a high-tech coolant based on an electrically non-conductive liquid. For the direct cooling, AMG specialists had to develop new cooling modules that are only millimeters thin. Around 14 liters of coolant circulate from top to bottom through the entire battery past each cell with the help of a specially developed high-performance electric pump, also flowing through an oil/water heat exchanger attached directly to the battery. This conducts the heat into one of the vehicle’s two low-temperature (LT) circuits, and from there on to the LT radiator at the front of the car, which finally releases the heat into the ambient air. The system is designed to ensure even heat distribution in the battery.

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It’s likely that the next hybrid AMG will be an electrified Mercedes-AMG C-Class, with a similar setup to the V8 hybrid but with a four-cylinder engine instead. That hybrid also won’t skimp on the power — Mercedes said it should make a combined 643 hp between the gas and electric motors — but possibly what I’m more interested in are the all-electric AMGs that are coming.

Mercedes had less to say about those this week, though it did say, surprise surprise, that its focus is on performance. Another big question for these cars will be their range, though Mercedes didn’t offer any specifics on that Tuesday, likely because Mercedes doesn’t know what it will be itself. These cars will compete with cars like the Porsche Taycan and the performance-minded Teslas.

The first battery-electric AMG models are based on the new, electro-exclusive Mercedes-EQ architecture. The vehicles are extensively redeveloped in Affalterbach specifically for each market in the areas of technology (drive, chassis, brakes, sound), exterior design, interior design as well as standard equipment and options. They are ambassadors for a new era in the performance segment of the 43 and 53 series AMG models...

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From the combination of front and rear engine, overall performance can be achieved on a par with the most powerful Mercedes-AMG Performance models with the current 4.0L V8 biturbo engine. This also applies to the sprint from standstill to 60 mph, which is completed in well under 4.0 seconds, depending on the power and vehicle. The electric motors rev up to a maximum of 18,000 rpm and enable a top speed of up to 155 mph.

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According to Automotive News, the electrified AMGs will make it to the U.S. next year after debuting in Europe later in 2021. If you wondered what AMG’s future is gonna look like, this is all a pretty strong message that it will look electric, like pretty much everyone else.

Illustration for article titled Mercedes' Plan For AMG's Future Is Very, Very Electric
Photo: Mercedes

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

DISCUSSION

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Treemendous

Electric vehicles are barely a thing and, environmentally, they’re already a farce. “Zero emissions,” sure guys, let’s just forget the 3-4 tons of other materials that were mined, processed, and transported to build that EV Hummer that will be obsolete and scrapped in 3 years.

But carmakers and wealthy buyers get a PR get-out-of-jail-free card on these plastic behemoths, so it’s a lucrative farce.