Mercedes-Benz has taken its new Vision EQXX electric car more than 1,000km on a single charge.

The new potential record is being seen as throwing down the gauntlet to Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Tesla is regarded as single handedly pushing the car industry into EV design and production. In many cases, Tesla have shared expertise to help the transformation. However, it is now about commercial competition and manufacturer traction.

Continental motoring

The test drive took a route from Germany through Switzerland to the Côte d’Azur in France. It used the electric power equivalent of just nine litres of petrol at a cost of about £14, according to the German car maker. It works out at 620 miles in real world conditions.

Electric cars have been driven further. However, these were often modified EVs using non-standard power packs, special tyres or low speeds.

In 2017, five members of the Italian Tesla owners club took a Model S, 670 miles. While this was over double the 310 mile range, they averaged a speed of just 25mph on low rolling-resistance tyres. The battery was completely flat by the end.

Mercedes took the car over mountainous terrain and spent a spell cruising above 85mph on the German autobahn. This is intended to show the car’s real-world credentials. It arrived at the seaside with 15% charge to spare.

Advertised maximum range is often way above real world driving. This is because hills, braking, heating and air conditioning can all sap the battery.

Sparking evolution

In the UK, the car industry has been lobbying for the Government to speed up the rollout of fast chargers. This would make electric cars a more attractive option for drivers who want to go on trips of any distance. It could then help them become a viable alternative to fossil fuelled equivalents. Filling up would be simple and take 15 -20 minutes for 80% charge.

The high cost of batteries, and bigger longer range batteries will probably make faster chargers the immediate way ahead. Average EVs are already about £10,000 more expensive than a petrol or diesel equivalent. Batteries are the main reason for this. However, battery technological development is an area of international focus, not last for environmental reasons. This is both to attract buyers, but also reduce dependence on scarce natural resources. These are often found in politically unstable and socially violent countries.

However, this latest road trip emphasises both the continuing development of EVS, their increasing viability and the rise of the markets level of competition.