An all-electric concept that should have brands like Tesla, Chevy, BMW, and Nissan worried

Despite the long list of manufacturers that skipped the Paris Auto Show, this year’s show still turned out to be pretty good. We got to lay eyes on cars like the Renault Trezor, the Lexus UX Concept, and the Volkswagen I.D. concept. As far as the internet is concerned, the Honda Civic Type R concept pretty much stole the show, but over at the Mercedes booth was this gem of a concept that is being called the “Generation EQ.” Said to represent a whole fleet of electric cars that Mercedes will produce in the coming years, the EQ features a scalable platform, 402 horsepower from an all-electric drivetrain, and a range of up to 310 miles. Able to hit 62 mph in less than five seconds, Mercedes claims that this concept not only has all-wheel drive but is also near-production ready, so we may even see a production variant in the near future.

If the concepts that have debuted over the past couple years have taught us anything, it’s that the cars of the future will be somewhat crazy and the interiors will look more like something out of a science fiction movie than the reality that we’re used to. But, being almost production ready means that the level of science fiction inside the EQ is kept to a full roar. Sure, that might hurt the Trekkie inside of you a bit, but don’t tear up just yet, the cabin is still pretty wild for something that appears to be exceptionally functional.

Gorden Wagener, the Head of Design for Daimler AG, said, “Generation EQ is hot and cool. Its fascination lies in a reinterpretation of our design philosophy of sensual purity, the aim being to create an avant-garde, contemporary and distinctive electro-look. At the same time, the design of the visionary show car, which has been reduced to the essentials, reveals an alluring progressivity.”

On preliminary inspection, this concept looks very promising and is sure to please the masses if it ever makes it into production. So, before that happens, let’s take a good look at this concept and figure out just what it’s all about.

Exterior

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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One of the most identifying parts of a car is its front end. More specifically, the layout of the nose and the front grille. With electric cars, there is no need for a radiator grille, so how do manufacturers boast the identifying birthmarks on future cars? Well, Mercedes has the answer. Check out that electrified grille up front. There’s no need for an air passage here, and to keep things from getting boring, Mercedes created an LED grille with a big fat Mercedes emblem right in the middle. If you’ve paid attention to any recent Mercedes models, you’ll recognize the layout of these LED strips as they form a design that looks quite similar to the physical grilles on the brand’s road-going fuel drinkers. It’s definitely a unique take on how to keep the front end of electric cars stylish without getting too out of hand. The headlights are integrated into each corner with the top, and sides of the grille area highlighted by a long LED strip. This is probably one of the sexiest and down-to-earth front ends that we’ve seen on an all-electric concept.

This is probably one of the sexiest and down-to-earth front ends that we’ve seen on an all-electric concept.

Because of the work that went into the identifying grille area, Mercedes was able to keep the front fascia relatively mundane without sacrificing the overall sportiness of the vehicle. A concave layout makes up the lower portion of the fascia, with a small insert on each corner. It’s unclear whether or not these function as actually brake coolers up front, but it’s possible. Otherwise, they could just be there for appearance and could provide a prime location for the mounting of LED fog lights. It’s also important to note the hood and the roof are finished in a gloss black that matches the surround of that electrified grille.

Moving over to the sides, it’s pretty clear that this concept is designed around the basis of a smaller SUV or Crossover. As such, it has all of the right proportions that consumers seem to love at this point in time. The roof slopes downward just a bit in the rear. The center portion of the roof is finished in a gloss black, while the primary exterior finish of silver outlines the sides of the roof, further emphasizing the concept’s sporty nature. The door glass and stationary rear quarter glass comes in the form of traditional Mercedes styling, while the side profile of the car is relatively smooth. The side skirts are outlined by the same blue LED lighting, while the doors are void of normal entry handles and the side view mirrors have been replaced by small camera units – two things that we’ll be seeing on more production cars in the near future.

The smooth nature of the body and futuristic styling carry around to the rear as well. Despite the fact that the overall design cues of the car as somewhat tame, the rear end encompasses everything you would want from Mercedes in a sporty SUV. A gloss black overhang sits at the top of the rear hatch to help accent the rear end. The rear glass is short and wide as is the hatch itself. The taillights are LED just like the front headlights and are also outlined by the same blue LED lighting that makes up the front grille and the accents on the side skirts. Those taillights are connected by a gloss black insert with a Mercedes emblem in the middle. Down below there is a large black insert that also features blue LED lighting strips and a small license plate recess. All told, it’s a smooth and beautiful design that does appear to be production ready.

Interior

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Interior
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2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Interior
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2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Interior
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The interior of the Mercedes EQ is all about form and functionality but has just the right mix of futuristic design and usable technology. The upper tier of the dash is wrapped in a dark brown leather that wraps around to the upper area of the door trim. A blue LED strip is positioned just below the brown leather. Just below the blue LED stripe sits a relatively smooth dashboard. On each corner, there is a weird cutout that looks to have some kind of blue holographic projection. Ahead of the steering wheel is a 24-inch wide instrument cluster that also appears to serve as the navigation and infotainment display. This floating display sits on a shelf of sorts that features three small rectangular LED displays. Mercedes has yet to disclose what these smaller displays do, or if they are just there for lighting accents, but they could serve as warning lights.

The interior of the Mercedes EQ is all about form and functionality but has just the right mix of futuristic design and usable technology.

The steering wheel is white and silver, with three spokes. The two side spokes feature touch buttons that serve as the traditional thumb buttons that we’re all used to seeing on modern road-going cars. A Mercedes emblem sits on the central hub and is surrounded by a blue LED strip. The doors feature small LED backlights that provide a relaxing ambiance of sorts and feature a side-view display in the front corner. There are traditional pull handles on the door trim that a finished in a bronze coloration and feature small, touch-sensitive buttons to control the windows.

The center console is outlined in Rose Gold and has a floating appearance in the center of the vehicle. All controls on the center console are touch sensitive, so don’t expect to find any physical buttons here. A small, touchscreen display rests at the front of the center console and allows the driver to control various functions like the automatic HVAC controls, for instance. All of these displays and touch buttons also adapt to the car’s various driving modes of charging processes which Mercedes claims to “allow fast and intuitive recognition.”

There is a total of four individual seats inside the EQ. That’s right; no bench seating in the rear here. The side bolsters of the seats are wrapped in a light-white leather with perforations that give a view of rose gold particles. The center sections are done up in deep brown, just like the upper tier of the dash and the door trim. The rear side of the front seatbacks are gloss black and feature TFT monitors for rear passenger entertainment on the go.

Upon entry to the vehicle, a “welcome mood” is presented to the driver that turns into an electric blue once he has taken his place in the driver’s seat. The perforated lights in the doors and seats slowly dim out while the large instrument cluster slowly brightens to the current level of charge. The ambient lighting really gives a sense of comfort inside the vehicle. After the driver has entered the vehicle, the navigation screen displays all of the destinations that the car can reach on its current battery charge – hopefully, you’ll be able to charge once you get there.

Drivetrain

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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This baby is all electric. Not only that, but Mercedes says this model is representative of an entire fleet of all-electric vehicles that will be “on offensive” in the near future. Of course, we’ve heard things like this before, but this concept promises a range of about 310 miles with a battery system that is said to have a capacity of over 70 kWh. They are sourced from Daimler’s subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive and are being called high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries.

Mercedes says this model is representative of an entire fleet of all-electric vehicles that will be “on offensive” in the near future.

The battery pack hidden away beyond the metal of the EQ delivers life-giving electricity to two electric motors on the front and rear axles. That means this baby, true to its SUV-ish nature is all-wheel drive. Those electric motors deliver a combined power output of 300 kW or about 402 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. This is, of course, scalable with cheaper production models ultimately delivering less power and torque. These figures are said to be the maximum values, so don’t expect to see more from a production model. With this kind of power, the EQ can hit 62 mph in under five seconds, and when you figure in the torque, it can probably tear down a house if you really wanted it to.

Charging capabilities are handled by induction charging or a wall box. Mercedes also mentions a Mercedes-branded energy storage system that could work together with wireless charging or a wall box. Ultimately, the idea behind the storage units would be to store solar energy for customers who happen to have solar panels installed on their homes. Currently, charging capacities for most electric cars range between 50 and 150 kWh. Mercedes, however, claims that capacities of up to 300 kW are possible in the future. This would charge the car enough to have a 62-mile range in as little as five minutes.

All told, this all sounds very promising, but I’m curious to see if Mercedes can live up to the hype it’s creating with its actual production models. We’ve been told so many times that we would see amazing all-electric range from cars, then we get crapped on with cars like the Nissan Leaf and its 84- to 107-mile range or BMW i3 and its 114 to 180-mile range. With 310 miles of range and the ability to get 62 miles out of five minutes of charging, Mercedes could very well open the door to electric vehicles for a lot of people who don’t want to suffer range anxiety. Mercedes seems pretty adamant about pushing an entire model range of all-electric vehicles and it sounds like we’ll be seeing them within the next five to 10 years. If Mercedes can really deliver on everything it’s boasting now, other manufacturers like Nissan, BMW, Chevy, and even Tesla will have a new battle on their hands.

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    • Production model may be costly to purchase
    • Currently just a concept

Press Release

Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz

With "Generation EQ", Mercedes‑Benz shows how electric cars can soon move into the fast lane: the concept vehicle, with the appearance of a sporty SUV coupé, gives a preview of a new generation of vehicles with battery-electric drives. The dynamic exterior design with its new electro-look underlines the focus on the powerful electric drive system: two electric motors, with a system output that can be increased to up to 300 kW thanks to scalable battery components, and permanent all-wheel drive deliver the guarantee of dynamic high-level performance. With a range of up to 500 kilometres and the typical Mercedes strengths of safety, comfort, functionality and connectivity, "Generation EQ" meets every demand in terms of contemporary, sustainable mobility. Also on the inside, the vehicle offers innovative solutions, including a completely new interior concept. Celebrating its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show, "Generation EQ" is the forerunner of Mercedes-Benz’s new product brand for electric mobility, EQ. The name EQ stands for "Electric Intelligence" and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of "Emotion and Intelligence".

"The mobility of the future at Mercedes-Benz will stand on four pillars: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. ’Generation EQ’ is the logical fusion of all four pillars," says Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes‑Benz Cars. "The emission-free automobile is the future. And our new EQ brand goes far beyond electric vehicles. EQ stands for a comprehensive electric ecosystem of services, technologies and innovations."

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Electric-vehicle architecture for all models

The new generation of electric vehicles will be based on an architecture developed specifically for battery-electric models, which is scalable in every respect and usable across all models: the wheelbase and track width as well as all other system components, especially the batteries, are variable thanks to the modular building-block system. The vehicle concept is thus optimised to meet every requirement of a future-oriented, battery-electric model family. The basic architecture is suitable for SUVs, saloons, coupés and other model series.

Similarly to the latest series-produced models from Mercedes‑B enz, the vehicle architecture builds on an intelligent multi-material mix of steel, aluminium and carbon fibre. This ensures that the requirements in terms of lightweight design, strength and cost efficiency are ideally met.

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Exterior design with new electro-look

"Generation EQ is hot and cool," says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. "Its fascination lies in a reinterpretation of our design philosophy of sensual purity, the aim being to create an avant-garde, contemporary and distinctive electro-look. At the same time, the design of the visionary show car, which has been reduced to the essentials, reveals an alluring progressivity."

The monolithic basic form of "Generation EQ" unites the genes of an SUV with the dynamic character of a coupé and a dash of shooting brake at the rear end. The squat, elongated greenhouse gives rise to muscular-purist proportions. The new electro-look is the result of a flowing transition from the gleaming black bonnet across the windscreen to the dark-tinted panoramic roof – an exciting contrast to the alubeam silver paintwork.

Scarcely visible body panel joins, concealed windscreen wipers, cameras instead of exterior mirrors and an absence of conventional door handles emphasise the stretched, dynamic silhouette, making the SUV crossover appear as a unified whole while reducing its air resistance. An intentionally reduced side view, broad shoulders and large 21-inch light-alloy wheels make for a dynamic presence even before the vehicle moves off.

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Interior
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Driver-oriented cockpit with new electro-look

The focus of the driver-oriented cockpit is on simple, touch-based controls with a new electro-look consistently reflecting the exterior styling. The asymmetrical design of the instrument panel with its large, floating wide-screen display is tailored to the driver. The innovative, digital user experience differentiates "Generation EQ" from the familiar control logic in today’s vehicles, while giving a peek into the future of user interaction at Mercedes‑Benz.

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Interior
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Interior with new, touch-based controls and no knobs

The interior of "Generation EQ" is characterised by contemporary luxury, this finding its main expression in an all-new user interface, which combines emotive appeal with intelligence and user-friendliness while dispensing with traditional switches and knobs, except for the electric seat adjustment typical of Mercedes. Two of the three narrow spokes on the steering wheel are provided with touch controls, which are integrated into OLED displays (OLED = organic light emitting diode ). They indicate icons and symbols in the respective menus. The driver can swipe through the various menus and confirm their selection with a click.

The 24-inch (53 x 11 cm) TFT high-definition wide-screen display presents all the relevant information, such as speed, range, driving data or navigation and map details. The innovation is apparent from the differentiation between a highly reduced and a complex display, including intermediate stages. Whether there is a low information density with a very clean look to the display, or whether extra content is on view, is left to the driver’s personal preference.

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Interior
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User interface design with individualised content

The information density can be increased step-by-step from a digital display and built up into a single- or dual-tube instrument containing more detailed information and feedback on speed and range. These modular displays allow the content to be individualised. An attractive user interface design is ensured by, among other things, a world of colours in electric blue, white and rose gold – the colours of the instrument displays adapt, depending on driving mode or charging process, to allow fast and intuitive recognition.

Bordered in rose gold, the centre console appears to float in space: dispensing with mechanical controls, it is equipped with touch-sensitive elements. Similarly to the touch controls on the steering wheel, the driver can use a finger to operate the automatic climate control and the infotainment system. As "Generation EQ" is devoid of conventional exterior mirrors, cameras are used to project an image of the traffic behind onto integrated displays in the doors. Both the door openers and the electric window lifters are touch-controlled.

Avant-garde, functional interior

"Generation EQ" comes with four individual seats. The reduced volume, impression of floating in space and avant-garde seat upholstery layout make for a visual lightness. A tailored sound experience is provided by speakers integrated into the head restraints. The side bolsters are covered in light-white leather, while perforations with a pixel rain look reveal a view of particles in rose gold. Stitching with a PCB look on the deep-brown centre sections produces an exciting contrast. TFT monitors for rear-seat entertainment are integrated into the front backrests.

EQ: the new electric mobility brand from the inventor of the automobile

EQ offers a comprehensive electric mobility ecosystem with products, services, technologies and innovations. The spectrum ranges from electric vehicles to wallboxes and charging services to home energy storage units. Mercedes‑Benz will market future battery-electric vehicles under the brand name EQ. The name stands for "Electric Intelligence" and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of "Emotion and Intelligence". The new brand encompasses all key aspects for customer-focused electric mobility and extends beyond the vehicle itself. Future models will embody the essentials of state-of-the-art electric mobility: the fusion of emotively appealing and intelligent design, exceptional driving pleasure, high everyday practicality and maximum safety, a hallmark of every vehicle from the inventor of the automobile.

The close-to-production concept vehicle "Generation EQ" marks the launch of an architecture for battery-electric vehicles across all models. Dieter Zetsche: "In 2007, the e-smart was a pioneer of electric motoring. We’re now flipping the switch. We’re ready for the launch of an electric product offensive that will cover all vehicle segments, from the compact to the luxury class."

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Both inside and outside: new light signature for electric cars

With a new exterior and interior light signature, the inventor of the automobile presents the design trend for future electric vehicles with the star: the distinguishing mark of "Generation EQ" is the "Black Panel" front grille: the white-illuminated Mercedes star and all the light elements are integrated in this seamlessly glazed design element. The blue-illuminated surround gives a completely new interpretation of the typical Mercedes radiator grille. Illuminated LED optical fibres in electric blue produce a light show with exciting touches of colour.

The peripheral light strip of the "Black Panel" is equally typical of "Generation EQ". Embedded in it are the white, powerful LED headlamps. Viewed from the side, the flowing E-line and beltline form a frame around the base of the mirror camera. Touches of rose gold in the chrome-plated E-line moulding and the spokes of the 21‑inch wheels serve as a special eye-catching transition from interior to exterior.

The rear lamps are of matching design, taking up the contour of the "Black Panel" and surrounded by an LED optical fibre in electric blue, which changes to red when the vehicle is moving and acts as a tail light. The central Mercedes star at the rear end is likewise illuminated in white. Similarly to the front end, the clasp-like light signature on the outside changes to orange as soon as the direction indicator is operated.

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Lighting mood: from welcome scenario to electric blue

As the driver approaches the car, it automatically activates to welcome him or her with a specific colour mood in the interior. The welcome scenario is rounded off by digital light in the perforated interior door panels. Once the driver has taken their place, the lighting mood switches to electric blue, with the lights in the doors and on the seats dimming slowly. The wide-screen display gradually builds up to present the energy level. The navigation map shows all the destinations that can be reached on the current battery charge.

Adaptive ambience lighting for a feel-good atmosphere

A special feel-good atmosphere is produced by the adaptive ambience lighting on board "Generation EQ". There are lighting elements in the light strip underneath the windscreen, on the side and middle air vents, seats, door handles and interior door panels, on the centre console and around the Mercedes star in the steering wheel.

Powerful electric drive: 300 kW total output with a range of up to 500 kilometres

With two electric motors on the front and rear axles and a battery in the vehicle floor, "Generation EQ" embodies a powerful vehicle concept. The basis for dynamic high-level performance and safety comes courtesy of the electric all-wheel drive with axle-variable torque distribution and a battery installed deep in the vehicle floor between the axles. With a total output of up to 300 kW in the most powerful variant and a maximum torque of up to 700 Newton metres, "Generation EQ" accelerates to 100 km/h in under five seconds. In combination with the intelligent operating strategy from Mercedes-Benz, "Generation EQ" has a range of up to 500 kilometres.

In the transfer to series production, Mercedes‑Benz benefits not only from its in-house development and production expertise, but also from the Group’s cross-model-series modular strategy for alternative drive systems and direct access to key components for electric mobility. The high-efficiency lithium-ion battery originates from the Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE. Thanks to their modular design, the innovative battery systems have a model-specific total capacity of over 70 kWh.

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Convenient charging at home and on the road

"Generation EQ" brings together the latest-generation charging technologies. The vehicle is ready both for charging at home by induction or wallbox and for fast charging. Mercedes‑Benz energy storage units of the future could form an ideal symbiosis with the cordless charging system via induction or wallbox. Households that have their own photovoltaic system and which store their surplus solar power in a Mercedes‑Benz energy storage unit can thus benefit from a "green" source of power that is extensively independent of the energy market.

Significantly reduced charging times will come with the introduction of fast charging by the Combined Charging System (CCS). This European charging standard allows for fast charging with a far greater capacity than at present. Currently, charging capacities from 50 up to sometimes 150 kW are possible. In the medium to long term, a charging capacity of even up to 300 kW is planned. This would enable sufficient power for 100 locally emission-free kilometres to be recharged within five minutes.

Driver assistance systems for maximum safety

It goes without saying that "Generation EQ" also features the latest driver assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz. Using highly accurate maps from our partner HERE, the systems know such things as the precise curve radii as well as the position and size of a roundabout. The vehicle can then automatically adjust the speed and driving dynamics to give the driver even greater comfort and relaxation. EQ thus takes a further step on the road to autonomous driving, always under the premise of safety and in compliance with the statutory regulations. There is a special focus on the optimised interplay between the individual features, so-called "sensor fusion", i.e. the intelligent combination of data from different sensors. In the opinion of experts at Mercedes‑Benz, this is one of the key requirements on the way to automated driving.

Extended communication by Car-to-X technology

But the engineers have gone one step further: for example, "Generation EQ" is equipped with Car-to‑X technology and can exchange information with the infrastructure and other vehicles – an ideal basis for a series of new driver assistance features that build on existing systems and thus take a further step in the direction of accident prevention. It is also helpful for the driver to be informed about nearby recharging opportunities. As soon as "Generation EQ" realises that the destination cannot be reached on the available battery charge, it advises the driver of appropriate options on the navigation map.

2016 Mercedes‑Benz "Generation EQ" Concept High Resolution Exterior
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3D real-time map display from HERE

Yet the digital interface can do considerably more: another highlight is the high-detail 3D city view with its trendsetting design. Technically, it is based on the map platform from HERE. This makes it possible, for example when searching for points of interest, for restaurants, shopping opportunities and tourist attractions to be especially highlighted. Other buildings recede elegantly into the background. A further focus in the design of the new HERE maps lies in reduced visual complexity while the vehicle is in motion. This means that the driver can see only those buildings and information that are relevant for navigation. There is an exceptional interplay between cockpit and map, with the buildings on the map reflecting details of the instrument lighting. At the same time, the map display also gives a preview of new features, especially for electric vehicles: the driver is provided with information on charging stations as well as opportunities for inductive charging along the route. The high-detail display also includes an indication of the current energy consumption along the route.

Intelligent driver assistance

The focus of the user interface is on optimal driver assistance, such as when the main concern is to make best possible use of the available energy in the batteries in order to achieve the best possible range. The innovative consumption display provides the driver with feedback on their driving style while drawing attention to energy-saving possibilities.

Additional driver incentives are conceivable: the wide-screen display can be used to tell the driver that the current range is not just sufficient to reach the desired destination, but would also allow a detour for a spur-of-the-moment visit to friends. In addition, the driver can collect bonus kilometres as a reward for especially efficient use of the traction battery – a functionality similar to the one already familiar from current models. The trick is that the collected bonus kilometres make the occupants aware of the attractions or interesting places they can reach from the current location thanks to their driving style.

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