The Mercedes Vision One-Eleven study is actually three years late on the market. In 1970, Mercedes presented the C 111 at the Geneva Motor Show. The shiny orange flat racer impressed with a drag coefficient of 0.183 and a speed of up to 325 km/h. A forward-looking anniversary prototype would actually have been the logical consequence. But the reasons for the group wanted the study to be launched only now. Better late than never. With a drag coefficient of 0.19 and a height of 1.17 meters, the Mercedes Vision One-Eleven follows in the footsteps of its famous predecessor. This aerodynamics is made possible with a curved body and an elaborate aerodynamics concept that begins with a low-lying front apron and ends with a striking, monstrous rear diffuser. “What we learned from the EQXX flows into this car,” says designer Steffen Köhl, referring to the long-distance efficiency master who achieved a consumption of less than 10 kWh/100 km on a journey of more than 1,000 kilometers.

As befits a C111 successor, the doors of the Vision One Eleven swing wide open. A nod to the past and the legendary Gullwing SLs. The interior with the narrow digital infotainment band is reduced to the bare essentials. As in a racing car, only the backrests can be moved and the steering wheel, flattened at the top and bottom, is reminiscent of that of the formula cars. The interior, with its shiny silver seat covers, is reminiscent of the space capsule and the decoration of the science fiction adventure “Barbarella”, in which Jane Fonda flits through space as an astronaut in figure-hugging costumes in the year 40,000 at the end of the 1960s. The drive technology of the Vision One-Eleven, which is used in the all-electric Mercedes-AMG sports car that is due to appear in the middle of the decade, is significantly more realistic and closer to the time. The Swabian car manufacturer reflects on the “back to the future” concept and uses axial flux electric motors, the concept of which Michael Faraday devised as early as 1821.

As the name suggests, the electromagnetic flow runs parallel to the axis of rotation of the motor, while it moves perpendicular to the axis of rotation in the electric machines currently in use. The motors have the shape of flat discs, weigh only a third of the weight of current e-machines and take up only 33 percent of the installation space. And that with a significantly higher peak and continuous output. In 2015, Rhys Millen won the famous Pikes Peak hillclimb at the wheel of an all-electric car with the exotic designation eO PP03. The sports car was equipped with six axial flux motors and had an output of around 1,000 kW / 1,360 hp.

In order to bring this technology into the car, Mercedes took over the British start-up Yasa in 2021 and has now also mastered the challenge of cooling and the production process. The highlights are compact copper springs and direct oil cooling, which is ten times more efficient than a water jacket. The goal of the developers is to make the e-machines even more compact in the future. With a weight of around 20 kilograms, an electric motor could be placed on each wheel. This construction opens up completely new design possibilities. An exciting parallel to the original C111 is that it was powered by a Wankel engine in which a rotary piston rotated in an oval-round combustion chamber. The fact that the new axial flux motors are being built in the Mercedes factory in Berlin-Marienfelde, exactly where eight-cylinder diesel engines previously rolled off the assembly line, illustrates the change in times. In the future, the axial flux motors will be used primarily in the powerful Mercedes models – i.e. mainly in the AMGs. The energy for the power drive comes from round cell batteries whose cell chemistry is inspired by the batteries used by the Formula 1 team.