Mercedes-Benz has been spotted testing an electric compact sedan with coupe-like styling.
The car is likely destined to be a member of the next-generation CLA-Class range, and we’ll get a preview of it in concept form in early September at the 2023 Munich auto show. The market launch will happen around 2025, and the timing points to an arrival for the 2025 or 2026 model years.
The next CLA-Class, and other members of Mercedes’ next-generation compact family, will ride on a newly developed platform called the MMA (Mercedes Modular Architecture). The platform will support both hybrid and fully electric powertrains, and will be Mercedes’ last designed for gas engines. All future platforms from Mercedes will be electric-only, as the automaker prepares to go the full-electric route by 2030.
Mercedes has said the MMA platform will spawn its first model around 2025, likely to be the next CLA-Class. The platform will eventually be used for all Mercedes models ranging up to and including the C-Class segment. Above this, Mercedes will have the MB.EA platform for medium and large models, the AMG.EA for high-performance models from AMG, and the Van.EA for light commercial vehicles.
According to reports, the next CLA-Class will offer the choice of electric or mild-hybrid powertrains. There apparently won’t be a plug-in hybrid.
The prototypes are heavily camouflaged, but the styling cues appear similar to current Mercedes themes, though perhaps the car will get some influences from last year’s Vision EQXX concept car, particularly the side glass. Some of the technologies of the Vision EQXX should also make it into the new sedan, such as the concept’s highly efficient energy recovery systems.
EVs based on the MMA platform are expected to feature 800-volt electrical systems, meaning high-speed charging will be possible, probably in excess of 200 kw. Battery capacity is expected to reach up to 100 kwh.
It isn’t clear what the electric CLA-Class will be called, but if Mercedes sticks to its current naming practice the sedan might be called the EQA. If that happens, the current EQA electric compact crossover sold overseas would need to be rebranded as the EQA SUV, something we may see later this year when the EQA crossover is updated. There’s also the chance the CLA name is retained for the electric model, as opposed to an EQ-branded name. This ties in with rumors Mercedes plans to drop the EQ branding shortly.
The next CLA-Class will be part of a slimmed-down compact range Mercedes refers to as Entry Luxury (further up are Core Luxury and Top-End Luxury). Other models in the Entry Luxury group are expected to include the CLA-Class Shooting Brake, GLA-Class, and GLB-Class, all of which will have an electric option.
In an effort to focus on more profitable, high-end vehicles, the current A-Class and B-Class are expected to be phased out. The A-Class has already been dropped in the U.S.