A Mercedes-Benz electric car drove more than 1,000 km (621 miles) from Germany to the French Riviera on a single charge, taking the fight to seize the technology limelight from Tesla to the next level.

The EQXX prototype traveled from Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, via Switzerland and Italy to the Mediterranean coastal town of Cassis, the automaker said Thursday.

The sedan’s lightweight chassis and aerodynamic profile allowed it to complete the trip with a battery half the size of Mercedes’ EQS flagship EV.

The EQXX “is the most efficient Mercedes ever built,” CEO Ola Kallenius said in a statement. “The technology program behind it marks a milestone in the development of electric vehicles.”

Mercedes plans to spend 60 billion euros ($65 billion) through 2026 to fend off Tesla and win back the title of the world’s best-selling luxury-car maker from rival BMW Group.

The company has a goal to sell only EVs where possible by the end of this decade and plans to set up eight battery factories with partners.

After years of criticism for being late to adopt electric cars, the German manufacturer last year stepped up its game with the launch of the EQS, which boasts an driving range of up to 563 km (350 miles).

Mercedes is deepening its transformational push this year with the full-electric EQE sedan and the EQB SUV. Yet when it comes to EV shipments, Tesla still leads the pack.

With the EQXX, Mercedes is trying to show it can best Tesla on electric technology. The prototype made the trip at speeds of as fast as 140 kph (87 mph) and had 15 percent of charge left upon arrival.

The car’s battery features a new chemistry developed with the help of Formula One experts from the Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains division in the UK. The plan is to deploy the cells in Mercedes compact cars starting in 2024.

Mercedes cut the time to develop the EQXX by 18 months to about 40 months by relying on simulations and digital design tools rather than physical tests and parts manufacturing.

Modern cars need shorter lead times so they don’t look outdated once they arrive in showrooms, said Mercedes development chief Markus Schaefer.

“We need to keep up with what is going on on the software and technology side and that is a fast-changing industry,” Schaefer said in an interview. “We need to be fast in our developments, much faster than we were in the past.”

According to europe.autonews.com. Source of photo: internet