Paying homage to the experimental C111 prototype of the 1970s, the Vision One-Eleven, a 100% electric concept, provides a glimpse into the technologies that will be featured in upcoming production models. That is, unless the brand decides to produce an electric supercar based on this…
The Mercedes-Benz C111 was a prototype produced in 16 units and in four different body styles for experimental purposes. It served as a testbed for various engines, including rotary Wankel engines, 5-cylinder diesel engines, and turbocharged V8 engines, among others. The orange colour of the C111-I and C111-II was just as memorable, if not more so, than their technological components.
Over 50 years later, Mercedes-Benz is drawing inspiration from its past in order to imagine the Vision One-Eleven. Created at the brand’s R&D centre in Carlsbad, California, the designers have skilfully reinterpreted the elements of the original C111. In addition to the body colour, the Vision One-Eleven features scissor doors, an oval-mouthed front, hood vents and a black rear panel adorned with small round taillights.
In addition to these historical elements, the designers have incorporated the brand’s latest design trends, including the “one-bow” line (continuous curvature from the tip of the hood to the rear of the trunk, including), which was introduced with the Mercedes-EQ models. On top of this, its aerodynamic elements really highlight the potential performance of the Vision One-Eleven, which has a total height of no more than 1.17 meters.arrière de la malle intégrant le pavillon), qu’ont inauguré les Mercedes-EQ. S’y ajoute un accastillage aérodynamique qui ne laisse planer aucun doute sur les velléités et le potentiel de performance de la Vision One-Eleven, dont la hauteur totale ne dépasse pas 1,17 m.
Axial flux rather than radial flux
As expected, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven introduces numerous innovations, starting with the batteries. Cooled by water, the batteries consist of cylindrical cells whose chemistry was inspired from the ones used in Formula 1. Another significant innovation is without a doubt the axial flux electric motors. Developed by Yasa, a British company which has been a 100-percent subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG since July 2021, this technology directs the electromagnetic flux parallel to the rotational axis of the motor, rather than perpendicularly as is the case with 99.9% of electric motors on the market today.
And this provides many advantages, including a significantly higher power density (by a factor of 3) and torque density (by a factor of 2), as well as a compact size and a reduced weight of the motor. Yasa claims that considering an equal power output, an axial flux electric motor weighs one-third the mass of a radial flux motor, while the space required for installation is reduced by 66%. It should be noted that Mercedes-Benz has not disclosed any specific power or torque figures, but this axial flux technology is expected to take electromobility to an unprecedented level of performance and efficiency.
Making way for augmented reality
The particularly round rear fenders of the Vision One-Eleven suggest that the motors are positioned directly behind the wheels. This design clears up a tremendous amount of space inside the cabin. Underneath its particularly understated design, it features integrated bucket seats with a seating position which is lower than the feet, similar to the driving position in a single-seater. Occupants will find themselves facing a floating screen that serves as the central nervous system of the car. Secondary controls are actually augmented reality elements floating above blank surfaces.
Like its illustrious predecessor, the C111, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven incorporates many innovations that are expected to be featured in the brand’s future production models, including the AMG sport versions. However, there are some rumours that the brand is considering a limited production run, following in the footsteps of the AMG One. May our dreams come true!