Next Mercedes CLA Class promises substantial electric range

Mercedes-Benz AG

Those among us who consider range anxiety a good reason to pass on electric vehicles may find that argument weakened when the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class makes it to production. The concept car, unveiled at the IAA Mobility 2023 show in Munich, Germany, “offers a close-to-production insight into the upcoming family of vehicles that stands at the gateway to the brand.”

The headline: 750 kilometers of range on the WLTP cycle, which works out to 466 miles. On the EPA cycle, this likely works out to around 400 miles of range.

“The Concept CLA Class is the forerunner for an entirely new all-electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz,” said Ola Källenius, chief executive officer of the Mercedes-Benz Group. “The range will comprise a total of four new models—a four-door coupe, a shooting brake, and two stunning SUVs—each with significantly elevated product substance. This new model family is inspired by a generation of car buyers who want that unmistakable Mercedes-Benz feel, with more features, even greater comfort and safety and the most advanced technology. They also seek a sustainable choice that is a cut above the rest.

“Based on the MMA platform, it provides an insight into the first complete family of Mercedes-Benz electric cars developed from scratch to put our Ambition 2039 on the road, whereby we aim to achieve net carbon neutrality along the entire value chain in our fleet of new vehicles in 2039.”

The Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) is an electric-first platform engineered for this family of four vehicles covering a range of body styles. ”It is set to play a major role in accelerating the ramp-up of the Mercedes-Benz electric fleet. As a fundamental part of the wider electric strategy, it will help the company attain its ambitious targets.”

“The technology that provides the foundation for the Concept CLA Class represents an entirely new approach for Mercedes-Benz and incorporates many learnings from our groundbreaking Vision EQXX technology program,” said Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz chief technology officer. “For instance, our engineers have maximized efficiency by driving down losses in its 800 V electric-drive system. It also features innovative battery cell chemistry as well as a high level of integration enabling excellent energy density.”

That charging configuration enables rapid electrical top-up of up to 400 kilometers (248 miles) in just 15 minutes. The “next generation drivetrain” has advanced efficiency features including silicon-carbide inverter and battery-cell chemistry with silicon-oxide anode design for excellent energy density. The drive unit delivers up to 93 percent energy efficiency from battery to wheels in long-distance driving.

Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class wheel
Mercedes-Benz AG

The Concept CLA Class is rear-wheel-drive, but the modular design means it is also suitable for 4×4 vehicle applications. The advanced next-generation drivetrain, which is making its debut in the Concept CLA Class, is scalable to fit other use cases, including in other vehicle segments.

Power comes from a 175 kW permanently excited synchronous motor, paired with a two-speed transmission. The high-performance power electronics incorporate control of motor and transmission in a single processor and feature a silicon carbide inverter for efficient power usage. This reflects the high degree of functional integration throughout the car that results in a compact overall package weighing less than 243 pounds.

The styling, Mercedes says, is the “start of a new era, and the next step in the continuous evolution of the brand’s unique design language of sensual purity. The vehicle has a distinctively dynamic appearance, incorporating design elements that have become icons in their own right—reimagined for the electric and digital age.”

The car’s overall shape and profile are recognizable in light of the outgoing CLA and C-Class, albeit curvier and more futuristic-looking.

Inside, the “blend of [analog] and digital brings fresh definition to the segment: Inside the spacious and airy interior of the Concept CLA Class, the aesthetic theme is one of utmost modernity. This is simply yet powerfully expressed through the considered application of a few iconic elements. The overall effect exudes a tech-infused minimalist elegance that takes sculptural automotive design into an exciting digital future and sets the tone in this segment.”

Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class interior front angle
Mercedes-Benz AG

No word on the price or the production rollout for the CLA, but it seems fully realized enough to be on the road in another two to three years or so. Production of MMA vehicles will initially begin in Rastatt (Germany), Keckskemet (Hungary) and Beijing (China). “The exact location of robots, supply routes and production lines can be determined without having to disrupt the production of current compact models, which include the A-Class and B-Class, the GLA and EQA. The ‘digital first’ approach enables a faster ramp-up, creates cost savings and opens up new opportunities for improving efficiency and quality.”

Källenius told Reuters that while Mercedes plans to have a fully electric lineup ready by 2030, the automaker does not expect the European market to be totally ready to give up internal combustion by that point. Charging infrastructure, he said, also needs to improve to convince customers to make the shift. Mercedes will maintain “tactical flexibility” as long as necessary to produce ICE and BEV vehicles on the same production lines.




Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: “MG B-east” wins 2023’s UK Hot Wheels Legends Tour


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *