Mercedes-Benz's secret weapon in the electric car race is its Formula 1 team.
That's according to the German giant's chief technology officer, Markus Schaefer, who told Reuters this week that the high-speed development techniques used in F1 have played a key role in accelerating the company's EV road car range.
“We have an edge here with Formula One that others don't have,” Schaefer said. “Tesla doesn't have it. Other teams don't have it.”
Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth, England is responsible for designing, developing and building the hybrid engines that go into the back of the F1 cars that powered Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to seven consecutive world titles.
With its expertise in both internal combustion engines as well as hybrids and battery technology HPP has been enlisted to help Mercedes-Benz develop its next-generation EVs. The HPP team played a pivotal role in the creation of the EQXX Concept, which previews the brand's next EV platform – which is due to debut in 2024 – and boasted a driving range of up to 1000km.
The fast-paced nature of F1 means the HPP team is capable of developing EV technology quicker than traditional car company engineers. According to Schaefer using F1 learnings, Mercedes has been able to cut down the development time of a new model from approximately 58 months to the “low 40s” which allows for it to react to the rapidly-changing EV market and customer demands.
Mercedes-Benz Australia will have eight EV models on sale locally by the end of 2023 as it transitions towards an all-electric future by next decade.