The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE celebrated its world première at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main: for the first time, the two-seater supersports show car brings the very latest and efficient, fully-fledged Formula 1 hybrid technology from the race track to the road almost par for par to represent the highlight of AMG’s 50th anniversary. This high-performance hybrid is said to produce over 1.000 hp and reach top speeds beyond 350 km/h. The show car combines outstanding race track performance and day-to-day suitable Formula 1 hybrid technology with exemplary efficiency. This is a world first. The overall responsibility for the realisation of Project ONE lies with Mercedes-AMG.
The Formula 1 experts at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team in Brackley worked together on this highly complex project
The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE provides another insight into the future performance-hybrid drive strategy of the sports car brand within Mercedes-Benz.
Ever since the early days of motorsport, engineers have dreamed of bringing motor racing technology to the road. Mercedes-AMG is now making this dream a reality at the very highest level. “Motorsport is not an end in itself for us. Faced with intense competition, we develop technologies from which our production vehicles also subsequently benefit. We are drawing on our experiences and successes from three constructors’ and drivers’ world championships to bring Formula 1 technology to the road for the first time: in Mercedes-AMG Project ONE”, says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE is the first Formula 1 car with MOT approval. Our highly efficient hybrid assembly stems from motor racing and the electrically powered front axle generates a fascinating mixture of performance and efficiency. With a system output of over 1,000 hp and a top speed beyond 350 km/h, this hypercar handles exactly as it looks: it takes your breath away”, Ola Källenius says, Member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) September 13, 2017
The concept car gives specific indications of what to expect from the upcoming production model
“The hypercar marks yet another pinnacle of the successful, strategic development of Mercedes-AMG towards a performance and sports car brand. Project ONE raises the bar in terms of what is currently technologically feasible and thanks to its combination of efficiency and performance it represents an absolute benchmark. At the same time, Project ONE provides an outlook on how AMG will define driving performance in the future”, Tobias Moers explains as the Head of Management at Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
Powertrain: one turbocharged engine and four electric motors
The high-performance plug-in hybrid drive system of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE comes directly from Formula 1. The company worked in close cooperation with the motorsport experts of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth. It consists of a unit comprising one hybrid, turbo engine with a total of four electric motors.
The 1.6-litre V6 hybrid petrol engine with direct injection and electrically assisted single turbocharging comes directly from Formula 1. The four overhead camshafts are driven by spur gears. To achieve high engine speeds, pneumatic valve springs replace the mechanical valve springs. The vehicle is mid-engined (ahead of the rear axle). And it can easily reach speeds of 11,000 rpm, which is currently unique for a road-going vehicle. However, it remains significantly below the F1 engine speed limit.
The electric motors on the front axle are also true rev wonders, with rotor revolutions up to 50,000 rpm – current state of the art is a speed of 20,000 rpm
A high-tech turbocharger additionally boosts the very high-revving engine. The exhaust gas and compressor turbines are separated from one another and located at an optimum position to the exhaust side and to the intake side of the V6 engine and connected to one another by a shaft. This shaft features an electric motor with approximately 90 kW which, depending on the operating status, electrically drives the compressor turbine with up to 100,000 rpm – for instance when moving off or following load changes. The Formula 1 designation for this unit is MGU-H (Motor Generator Unit Heat).
— Daimler AG (@Daimler) September 12, 2017
Lightning-quick response, faster than a naturally aspirated V8 engine
The major advantage is the complete elimination of turbo lag. The response time is significantly lower and is even shorter than that of a naturally aspirated V8 engine. The electric turbocharger brings about another advantage. It uses parts of the surplus energy from the exhaust system to generate electricity. And it either stores it in the high-voltage lithium-ion battery as part of recuperation or provides additional drive power by feeding it to an additional electric motor. This motor produces 120 kW. Its position is directly on the engine and it features a link to the crankshaft via a spur gear (MGU-K = Motor Generator Unit Kinetic). Which is another technology that ensures maximum efficiency and performance in Formula 1.
New all-wheel drive with purely electrically driven front axle
There will also be two further 120 kW electric motors at the front axle. Each is connected to a front wheel via a reduction gear. The fully electrically driven front axle allows individual acceleration and braking of each front wheel, and therefore selective torque distribution (torque vectoring) for particularly high levels of vehicle dynamics. With the axle motors, the estimate is up to 80 percent of the braking energy can also be optimally used for recuperation under everyday driving conditions. This energy is stored in the battery and is available for a longer electric range. Each electric motor has its own power electronics – in close proximity to the electric motors in the floor assembly.
Top marks for thermal efficiency
The thermal efficiency of the combustion engine with electric turbocharger (MGU-H) in conjunction with the electric motor on the crankshaft (MGU-K) will be over 40 percent. This is a previously unattained peak value for series production vehicles and confirms the dominant position of the drive system where efficiency is concerned. This means that the show car obtains significantly more drive energy from one litre of fuel than other cars. It is therefore both economical and powerful. By way of comparison, the thermodynamic efficiency of conventional series production engines is around 33 to 38 percent.
Lithium-ion battery with Formula 1 technology
The battery cells, their arrangement and the cell cooling system are the same as used in F1. However, the quantity of battery cells in the AMG Project ONE will make it significantly more practical for everyday use. The lithium-ion, high-voltage battery and the DC/DC converter supporting and charging the 12 V onboard electrical system are space-savingly accommodated in the vehicle floor behind the front axle.
As a further innovation, the high-voltage EQ Power+ drive system operates with 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts. Thanks to the higher voltage levels it is possible to influence elements, such as significantly reducing the cable diameters and accordingly saving design space and weight.
Intelligent operating strategies for optimum output and efficiency
Overall the high-performance EQ Power+ plug-in hybrid drive system offers numerous intelligent operating strategies. The driving modes range from purely electric operation through to a highly dynamic mode which corresponds to a setting used in Formula 1 qualifying for optimum lap times. Despite the high system complexity, and depending on the current requirement, the driver will always receive the optimum combination of performance and efficiency. In this process, Mercedes-AMG engineers make use of the many years of experience and know-how from Formula 1, the SLS AMG Electric Drive and Daimler AG’s research and development.
For instance, the driver can move off purely electrically, initially with just the electric motors on the front axle driving the hypercar and the electric motor on the crankshaft supporting short-term acceleration wishes. If the driver presses the accelerator more firmly and demands more output, the V6 engine also switches on. The drive system unfolds its full power as the engine speed increases. Impressive acceleration figures are possible with the Race Start function: acceleration from zero to 200 km/h takes under six seconds.
If the driver’s foot leaves the accelerator again to let the car coast, the system switches to electric drive at the front axle – whilst braking under normal driving conditions recuperates up to 80 percent of the energy, which is fed into the battery.
Completely new, automated 8-speed manual transmission
Power is transferred to the rear wheels by an 8-speed manual transmission that has been entirely developed from scratch for the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. It is activated hydraulically and can be operated in automated mode or manually using the shift paddles.
The basis for the outstanding driving characteristics of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE is provided by the lightweight, high-strength carbon-fibre monocoque body, the technology of which likewise comes from Formula 1. The same applies to integration of the engine and transmission: both have load-bearing functions and completely support the rear suspension.
Multi-link suspension with innovative pushrod suspension
The suspension developers also gave their utmost. Multi-link designs are used at the front and rear. The adjustable coil-over suspension has several special features: Both push-rod spring struts have been installed across the direction of travel. The innovative arrangement of the spring/damper unit replaces the function and application of conventional tubular cross members. This solution reliably prevents rolling movements even during very rapid directional changes, without being uncomfortable.
The overall setup of the springs and dampers is configured for perfectly balanced, easily controlled and above all sporty handling characteristics. These are also assisted by all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. ABS is standard equipment, with ESP® adjustable in three stages as is usual for AMG. ESP® ON stands for a high level of safety, ESP® SPORT HANDLING MODE allows greater yaw angles before system intervention for a sporty driving style, and ESP® OFF switches the system off for sporty driving on enclosed racetracks.
— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) September 12, 2017
Exclusive forged wheels with innovative carbon-fibre semi-cover
Another completely new development is the 10-spoke forged aluminium wheel with centre lock, which is exclusively reserved for the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. This has a radial carbon-fibre semi-cover with an aerodynamically sophisticated shape: this improves the car’s aerodynamics and Cd figure by optimising the airflow around the wheels.
At the same time, three flat ventilation slots per spoke section ensure optimum heat dissipation from the brakes. This is another example of how the AMG development team pays the utmost attention to even the smallest aspects, so as to improve the efficiency of the hypercar.
At the front the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE runs on 10.0 J x 19 dimension wheels and 285/35 ZR 19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres which were exclusively developed for the hypercar and at the rear the vehicle features 12.0 J x 20 wheels running on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 335/30 ZR 20 tyres.
The car has an advanced, weight-optimised ceramic high-performance compound braking system. Its low weight reduces the unsprung masses, thus improving driving dynamics and agility. Furthermore, the ceramic brakes have longer service life, higher corrosion resistance and higher thermal stability. The “AMG Carbon Ceramic” lettering and the specially painted brake callipers visually distinguish this unique braking system.
Exterior design: Beauty and the beast
The obvious inspiration for the show car’s design is the motorsport premium class. But above all, it embodies the Mercedes-AMG principle that fascination is always linked with function. Every part has a specific purpose. The result is a mid-engine concept, extremely muscular proportions with the cockpit well forward, large wheel arches, a wasp waist and an extended rear end.
“The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE is the hottest and coolest car we have ever designed. It combines our design philosophy of Sensual Purity with the performance of our Formula 1 racing cars and is the perfect embodiment of Performance Luxury,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. “This hypercar’s extreme design marks a milestone in design ‑ there are no lines, and the interior is stripped down to the essentials.”
Front view: Powerful and functional
The front view is characterised by the large front apron, the various air inlets of which extend across the entire vehicle width. The trapezoidal centre section bears a large, white AMG logo. Above it, on the vehicle body, is the Mercedes star. The hallmark AMG A-wing below the centre section creates a silver-coloured highlight, and seamlessly transitions into the front wings.
On the left and right are large, prominent air inlets. Flat LED headlamps blend seamlessly into the body contours.
The black air outlets in the bonnet guide the hot airflow around the sides of the driver compartment. This allows the flow of fresh air to pass unhindered across the driver compartment and into the intake tract on the roof. The downforce at the front axle is positively influenced by the automatically extending front splitter and the active ventilation louvres in the front wheel arches. And they contribute to the perfect aerobalance of the car.
Taut flanks, large wings
The low, dynamic greenhouse has an unmistakable, spherical architecture with a distinctive window pattern. The large, dark area stands for important technical functions. These technical components form a visual contrast to the clean overall lines of the vehicle.
An air intake, which is a derivative of the F1 one, dominates the roof line, and via that intake the engine takes in large volumes of air. The black intake transitions elegantly into the black, vertical shark fin, which improves lateral stability when cornering at high speed. The rear window placed well to the rear is an integral part of the intake/roof-fin unit. It allows a view of the power unit. Two large NACA air inlets ensure optimum guidance of the airflows for the engine and transmission oil coolers located at the rear end.
The side view also shows a sensuous, clean surface design combined with functional features.
The Petronas green paintbrush design on the flanks is the work of the artist who designed the paintwork for the Formula 1 racing car. Tight-fitting, muscular wings that appear ready to leap into action span all four wheels.
As in motor racing, the doors open both forwards and upwards. The fuel filler flap is at the rear right, the charge socket for the plug-in hybrid battery at the rear left.
Rear end: Fascination and function
The sharp, vertical spoiler lip and the large, two-section diffuser, as well as the two-stage extendible rear aerofoil, contribute to aerodynamic efficiency and performance at high speeds. The design of the exhaust tailpipe with its large, round outlet and two further small, round apertures is directly from the Formula 1 cars.
The rear apron with its large, black mesh and carbon-fibre components further enhances the muscular appearance. The rear lights each feature three rhomboid lighting elements. The aim was to echo the graphic design of the AMG brand logo, and therefore also the design of the headlamps.
Interior: Formula 1 for two
The interior design concept of this ultimate driving machine follows function on the race track. And the expression of this is in the radical design idiom. Formula 1 technology is authentically tangible on both the race track and the road. Here too every detail has a function, nothing is in merely for visual reasons. In the monocoque interior, there are less components in minimalist style both in design and functional terms.
The ergonomically contoured interior has room for two occupants. The pedals and steering wheel are adjustable, allowing the driver to adopt the ideal driving position. The centre tunnel visually separates the driver and passenger areas from each other. It blends fully into the seat sculpture and follows the principle of minimalism with its gently rising contour.
Interior with functional structural parts
The lightweight construction is also obvious from the slim, wing-like profile of the dashboard. It appears to be light and free-floating. As a functional, structural component it also rigidifies the monocoque of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. There are two high-resolution, free-standing 10-inch displays. One is in a slightly higher position in front of the driver. The other is on the right of the centre console and its position is under an angle towards the driver.
The double-nozzle ventilation unit is under the centre screen like a gondola. The screen and nozzles form a single unit, emphasising the lightweight design principle of the whole. The ventilation nozzles echo the displays’ rectangular basic form, and by the centre console in which is the start/stop button.
Formula 1-style steering wheel
The steering wheel offers motorsport functionality, as do the two controllers which adjust different functions. Among them are the driving modes and suspension setup, or the LED shift display in the upper steering wheel area.
The door panels are in functional, high-grade carbon-fibre, and integrate smoothly into the sporty interior. As if to mirror the aero winglets of the exterior, there is a visual interruption of the door panelling. The aim was to create space for technical implements and a generously concave door centre panel. An aluminium cassette combines the air vents and power window switches.
Stowage compartments behind the seats, screen replaces interior mirror
Neither have the Mercedes-AMG developers forgotten suitability for everyday use and operating convenience. Driver and passengers can stow small items in two compartments on the left and right behind the seats. An air conditioning system and power windows are standard equipment, while the COMAND infotainment system ensures optimum connectivity.
The user interface is an autonomous concept. The most important information appears on the road in the line of vision above the steering wheel. So there is no distraction for the driver. To ensure optimum visibility to the rear, a screen replaces the rear-view mirror. It shows real-time images of the rear from a mirror cam. The aluminium screen housing is into the roof, and also holds other controls.
— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) September 12, 2017
Colours and materials from the racing car
The choice of colours and materials takes its inspiration from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 racing car. The sculptured racing seats are in slip-resistant black microfibre, creating an unmistakable association with motor racing. There’s nappa leather in magma grey for the seat surfaces. It inlays in a sporty textile mesh which optimally assists the air circulation of the seats. There is also yellow contrasting topstitching.