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Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS brings sustainable electric luxury to Frankfurt

What you think is Nappa leather definitely isn't.

LEDs everywhere, screens everywhere, electromobility ... that's a concept car in the 21st century, all right.
Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

Electrification and Mercedes-Benz are not strange bedfellows at this point, between its plug-in hybrids and full-on electric vehicles. But considering concepts are supposed to look to the future, what does a company do when the future is already kind of happening? Well, if you're Mercedes-Benz, you throw a little sustainability into the mix.

Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday unveiled the Vision EQS electric sedan concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Like so many other concepts, it's an electric car that points to the automaker's future, but the idea of sustainability is what gives this specific concept an interesting new angle.

The Vision EQS represents Mercedes' determination to reach carbon neutrality with its mobility offerings. We already know the automaker can build luxurious cars that just so happen to be electric. Now, it's time to see how Mercedes-Benz can take its strengths and adapt them in a way that's slightly better for everyone around.

Take the interior, for example. In traditional luxury-concept fashion, the swept lines and various contours draw inspiration from fancy-pants yachts. But, whereas the yachting life isn't exactly about being sustainable, the EQS takes a different angle. That fancy Nappa leather? It's actually artificial. The headliner? It's made from plastic that would otherwise end up in the ocean. Even the maple wood trim is taken from specific German forests that focus on conservation and minimizing carbon footprints by keeping production local. The rose gold accents are, well, just rose gold accents.

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But the Mercedes-Benz EQS still a concept luxury vehicle, so there are plenty of interesting things to take in. Continuing with the interior, the front dashboard is stunning, with integrated vertical vents and some delicate striping on the wood. There's a massive screen that rises up from the center console, but there are also two smaller screens on each door armrest for various tasks, using each passenger's Mercedes Me login to access individual settings.

The concept's exterior is also a wild look at the future. Aside from the general way the headlights and grille work together, which bears a resemblance to other EQ concepts, the EQS largely carves its own path. Actually, that's not a grille at all -- it's a series of 188 circuit boards comprising some 940 LEDs in a three-dimensional arrangement. The headlights each have four holographic lenses that can display static images and can even create holograms.

The EQS' "four-door coupe" fastback shape leads to a rather large-looking trunk, but it's the taillights that are the most interesting part. There aren't any defined "lights," per se -- instead, there are 229 three-pointed-star cutouts, each containing an individual LED. Linking both ends of the car together is a belt of light that runs around the entire car. And you thought light-up stars and grilles would be the end of it.

We haven't even made it to the powertrain yet. The EQS uses two electric motors, one at each axle, to create more than 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, enough to shove the concept to 60 miles per hour in less than 4.5 seconds. Its lithium-ion battery can support a range of up to 435 miles by European WLTP estimates, and to bring it back to sustainability for a second, the automaker said in its release that some of Mercedes' battery cells are prepared to be produced using nothing but renewable resources. 

There are, of course, connections to the real world in the EQS, too. It's believed that the EQS will eventually graduate from concept form to become the second vehicle in the EQ lineup, following the EQC crossover. That would give the automaker a two-car portfolio punch that covers not only its bread-and-butter segment, but also a second segment that the market continues to eat up like cake.