Mercedes-Benz Unveils Vision One-Eleven Concept

The bold new hypercar pays tribute to the German automaker’s C111 experimental prototype with a dramatic design and advanced axial-flux electric motor powertrain.

Greg Kable

June 15, 2023

4 Min Read
Mercedes Vision one-eleven front 1.4 (2)
Vision One-Eleven concept emerges from Mercedes-Benz’s California design studio.Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz unveils the avant-garde, electric-powered Vision One-Eleven concept at its Carlsbad design studio in Southern California, describing it as a “progressive interpretation of a ’70s brand icon.”

The 2-seat hypercar sports a dramatic monolith-style exterior design painted in a combination of metallic orange and black, gullwing-style doors and a flamboyant cockpit featuring silver-colored upholstery.

It has been created as a one-off design tribute to the German automaker’s C111 experimental prototype, of which 16 examples were produced over two generations for various test and development purposes carried out by Mercedes-Benz during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Conceived with two rear axle-mounted axial-flux electric motors from British firm Yasa and a battery that uses liquid-cooled cylindrical cells as well as novel cell chemistry developed for use in F1 by Mercedes-AMG’s U.K.-based High Performance Powertrain division, the Vision One-Eleven also provides clues to the sort of electric drivetrain developments Mercedes-Benz has earmarked for its future performance-based road cars.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t released any power or range claims for its latest design-led concept. But, chief technology officer Markus Schäfer says: “The Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven explores new paths for the future of performance. It offers a motorsport-like power output.”

Mercedes-Benz One-eleven concept cabin.jpg

Mercedes-Benz One-eleven concept cabin

The styling of the One-Eleven combines clean-surfaced body forms and a flush-fitting glass canopy with a series of advanced aerodynamic functions and details that draw heavily on those of the C111.

A low-set front end mimics the look of Mercedes-Benz’s 54-year-old developmental prototype with a bluff nose section that incorporates two round driving lamps within a pixelated grille that is underscored by a large black carbon-fiber splitter element.

Farther back, the One-Eleven receives three air vents within each of the front corners, together with twin air vents ahead of a windshield that is raked at an angle of 70 degrees and extends back to form the front section of the roof.

 

The smooth surfacing of the body is combined with heavily rounded forms, including those of the prominent wheel arches housing 275/35 profile front and 315/30 profile 22-in. wheels. The Mercedes-Benz concept’s side panels are integrated into the lengthy gullwing doors and lift high to provide uninterrupted access to the interior. 

The side windows receive an opaque treatment as well as a pixelated pattern.

Wide carbon-fiber sills are housed within the wheelbase. Supported by so-called blades, they channel cooling air toward electric motors at the rear.

Additional air vents are incorporated behind the doors, as is a deep rear window.

Mercedes-Benz One-eleven concept doors up.jpg

Mercedes-Benz One-eleven concept doors up

The rear of the One-Eleven is dominated by a large spoiler that extends out to increase downforce. A pixelated section mirrors the look at the front, with an extravagant diffuser set low.

Mercedes-Benz’s chief design officer, Gorden Wagner, likens the arched silhouette of the 181-in. (4,600-mm) concept to the one-bow design of the company’s EQE and EQS sedan models. 

“The element of surprise comes from its clean, purist and, at the same time, extremely muscular proportions,” he says.

Inside, the One-Eleven receives a 2-seat layout. The squabs of each seat are integrated into the floor. The pedals, leather-bound F1-style steering wheel and seatbacks adjust to provide a suitable driving position.

The pixelated graphic evident within the front and rear of the exterior is incorporated into the dashboard within a brushed aluminum surround, while driver information is housed within a central MBUX display that can be extended with augmented reality functions.

The silver upholstery of the seats is combined with white fabric and orange leather to give the concept a distinctive color combination. 

The compact housing of the electric motors at the rear also frees up space there for a sizeable cargo shelf. 

The axial-flux units are being developed for large-scale production by Mercedes-Benz and Yasa. Besides boasting superior power and torque density than existing radial-flux electric motors, they also feature major packaging advantages due to their narrow design.

Yasa says the weight of their axial-flux electric motor (pictured, below) is just one-third of that of the radial-flux electric motors Mercedes uses in its various EQ-badged BEVs.

“Axial-flux motors are significantly lighter and more compact, yet more powerful than comparable radial-flux motors,” says Yasa founder and chief technology officer Tim Woolmer.

“In an axial-flux motor, the electromagnetic flow runs parallel to the motor’s rotational axis. Compared to radial-flux motors, they have considerably higher and more enduring power reserves, which delivers a whole new level of performance,” Woolmer says.

Mercedes-Benz One-eleven concept motor.jpg

Mercedes-Benz One-eleven concept motor

Based in Oxford, Yasa has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz since 2021.

At the unveiling of the One-Eleven, Mercedes confirms axial-flux electric motors for future production cars will be manufactured at its Berlin-Marienfelde plant in Germany.

The performance potential of Yasa’s axial-flux motor technology was showcased as long ago as 2015, when the company teamed up with Latvian engineering firm Drive eO to develop the eO PP03, which was driven to victory in the Pikes Peak Hillclimb by Rhys Millen.

Using six Yasa 400 axial-flux motors and a 50-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the 2,535-lb. (1,150-kg) eO PP03 developed a claimed 1,368 hp and 1,593 lb.-ft. (2,160 Nm) of torque.

Mercedes-Benz One-Eleven concept rear 3.4.jpg

Mercedes-Benz One-Eleven concept rear 3.4

 

 

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