Concept Cars

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² concept proves EV life isn't just for city slickers

The Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² is designed to be an outdoor adventurer.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

There's zero chance that The Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4² will come to life as is, but that doesn't stop one from dreaming. Designed to be "an electric car of extremes", the model was designed to move the traditional thoughts of electric mobility away from city centers and onto more rugged terrain.

The EQC 4x4² was developed by a cross-departmental team under development engineer Jürgen Eberle, which has already been responsible for another daring off-roader, the E 400 All-Terrain 4x4². The new model can drive through sand and on rocky terrain, and through mountain streams.

It's capable of helping drivers stay off the grid for a spell. A roof tent and inflatable dinghy make adventuring with the concept even more possible.

Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4²

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Ground clearance? It has that in gobs. At 293 millimeters, EQC 4x4² has more than twice the ground clearance of the typical EQC production mode. This enables 40 centimeters (just over 15 inches) of water fording depth. Engineers have attached the vehicle's unique suspension at the same mounting points as the standard component.

Traditionally, off-roaders like to be able to listen their engine from inside the cabin to hear if it's operating correctly. With an all-electric powertrain, such as that in the EQC, there's no engine noise (because there's no engine) so drivers are able to create their own sound experience, whether it's rolling down the windows to enjoy nature or turning up the volume on the stereo. The model does use an external noise generator (Acoustic Vehicle Alert System, AVAS) as required by law to reproduce sounds. It is housed in the car's headlight surrounds.

While this model won't be arriving at dealerships anytime soon, it is a nod in the direction of what's next for Mercedes. It's likely that this concept was developed as part of a larger off-roading testing program for the company's existing and forthcoming fleet of electric vehicles.

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Tesla quietly released the "toy" today.

Tesla

Tesla is known for being unpredictable, so today’s news is not totally shocking, despite being extremely cool. The automaker released a new vehicle today, but not for use on the road, and not for use by grownups. The Cyberquad for Kids landed today with a sophisticated feature set and a very adult price tag of $1,900.

The Cyberquad for Kids checks in at 122 pounds and can carry a person that weighs as much as 150 pounds. Two forward speeds include 5 and 10 mph settings, and reverse can reach 5 mph. Depending on the rider’s weight and speed, the Cyberquad for Kids can travel up to 15+ miles on a charge. Tesla says that an empty battery can take up to five hours to fully recharge.

A full steel frame underpins the quad, and though it’s being pitched for kids, the ATV features adjustable suspension, rear disk brakes, LED light bars, and a cushioned seat. The futuristic EV looks almost identical to the larger Cyberquad we saw during the initial Cybertruck demonstration.

A thorough set of assembly and troubleshooting directions are available on Tesla’s site, but despite the Cyberquad for Kids’ complexity, don’t get any ideas about using it on the street. Tesla recommends using it on sidewalks and for stunts, but I think we’re all looking forward to the eventual tidal wave of YouTube videos this thing is going to generate.

Tesla Cyberquad for Kids Kids 8 years and older, and up to 150 pounds can ride. Tesla

If you’re hoping to get a Cyberquad for Kids, you might be out of luck. Though it only launched today, it’s already out of stock. There’s no word on if more will become available. Those that were lucky enough to snag one should start receiving them in early 2022.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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