With the debut of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS show car at Frankfurt Tuesday, the German automaker is pointing to more than just future electric vehicles.

The EQS “points the way to the future of Mercedes-Benz,” the automaker declares, and says that it provides an outlook on “a new dimension in sustainable luxury.”

Under its “Ambition 2039” initiative, M-B aims to make its entire fleet carbon-neutral in 20 years. Part of the path to getting there is to create a series of parallel electric-only models under its EQ sub-brand. That includes a fully electric counterpoint to the flagship S-Class—a flagship for EQ itself—and this concept vehicle shows how, given the flexibilities in electric-vehicle packaging, Mercedes feels under no obligation to keep to the S-Class’s formal, long-hood profile.

Put even more simply, the EQS is a flagship for electric vehicles at Mercedes-Benz, and possibly a flagship for the entire brand, potentially occupying the space currently held by the S-Class. 

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

Although the EQS is a sedan, but the closest definition, the so-called “one bow” design and soft contouring seem to blur the lines visually, making it appear almost as a tall-shouldered sport coupe up close. That shoulder line is accented with a new “lightbelt” theme, leaving much of the space above it to either glass or blacked-out sheet metal. And in keeping with concept-car tradition, the EQS rides on impractically huge 24-inch multi-spoke wheels. 

Digital Light headlamps have two holographic lens modules to create a complementary “lightbelt” that goes 360 degrees around the vehicle. And the Vision EQS has what Mercedes-Benz calls a world first: a digital front grille with 188 LED circuit boards arranged in a light matrix containing 940 individual LEDs, for “a new level of precise signalling”—perhaps to be used in future autonomous vehicle features. 

The EQS takes design tips from luxury yachts, with a more enveloping cockpit design that points to the direction of future Mercedes-Benz production models. There are multiple nods to sustainability inside, with microfiber seats made from recycled plastic bottles, artificial leather, and a headliner made of recycled ocean waste. 

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

The concept also presents an Advanced MBUX interface that blurs the lines between interior surfaces and screens.

The Vision EQS is powered by dual motors (one each at the front and rear), providing 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, for 0-60 mph acceleration of less than 4.5 seconds. Mercedes says that it has a driving range of up to 435 miles based on the European WLTP cycle.

DC fast charging at 350 kw would allow a charge of the battery, supplied by Daimler subsidiary Accumotive, to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes. Using a Mercedes me Charge, the carmaker will help owners find charging options from renewable sources. 

The concept flagship is made of a mix of steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber, plus other recycled materials. 

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept

Jochen Hermann, Daimler’s head of development for electric drive, confirmed to Green Car Reports that the EQS is built on a dedicated electric platform idea—one that he says with this packaging and cabin design would only be possible with electric drive and its greater flexibilities. But it’s not the Modular Electrification Architecture (MEA) that the company has discussed for other smaller electric vehicles. 

The EQS, according to reports citing sources within the company, could share its platform with the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQE, a sedan that would slot more directly against the Tesla Model S.

Mercedes-Benz also injects a dose of pragmatism into the level of supposed self-driving hardware and systems—although it notes that it would be ready for extended fully automated driving in the future. The Vision EQS supports Level 3 automated driving, which is says supports the driver for longer highway journeys. 

Although the Mercedes-Benz EQC electric SUV hasn’t even launched in the U.S. yet, and an EQA comes after that, there are many more EVs on the way from the brand—soon. The automaker has said that it plans to launch a new fully electric model every year, and it’s aiming for 10 all-electric models in its global lineup by 2022 and 10 specific to EQ by 2025.