Nico Rosberg kicked off the Monaco Formula 1 weekend checking out a very special concept vehicle. The 2016 F1 world champion got the very rare chance to ride shotgun in the Mercedes-Benz EQXX, one of the most efficient machines in the history of the automotive industry.

Calling this prototype just a show car is a little unfair, though, as it is more of a tech programme, as Markus Schäfer, the automaker’s chief technology officer, told us earlier this year.

The perfect aerodynamics have a key role in achieving the maximum efficiency in a car and the EQXX has a drag coefficient of just 0.17 thanks to many aerodynamic tricks. It may not be visible from the photos but the vehicle is actually very compact with a length of roughly 463 centimetres (182.3 inches) and a wheelbase of 280 centimetres (110.2 inches). These figures make it slightly smaller than the current C-Class, for example. 

The video attached above starts with Nico talking about some of the aerodynamic solutions on the EQXX and then he moves to the weight-saving measures. Magnesium alloy wheels, aluminium brakes, and carbon roof – these are just some of the tricks Mercedes used to keep the weight of the electric vehicle low. But most importantly, the biggest weight saving comes from the relatively low weight of the battery – just around 495 kilograms (1,091 pounds) for a 100 kWh battery pack. All in all, the EQXX weighs 1,750 kg (3,858 lbs) or a tad more than a C-Class C300.

Nico then moves to some of the interior features of the car and a Mercedes employee informs him he is “not qualified” to drive the EQXX. The F1 champ is obviously very disappointed but the video continues with footage from inside the car where Nico is co-driving with a Mercedes test driver around Monaco. This is where we learn some facts about the EQXX that are probably not widely known, including which components the prototype shares with production electric vehicles from Mercedes and which are exclusive to the EQXX.

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX Real-World Test