Mercedes-Benz will enter into a direct battle with the highly successful Tesla Model 3 by introducing an all-new generation of its CLA four-door compact sedan, which is slated to be developed under the “electric-first” strategy.
Mercedes is deep into its electrification strategy with the EQ line, but we’re now learning about other EVs the automaker has planned for the coming years. Autocar recently reported that Mercedes is working on an electric version of the CLA, its smaller four-door coupe. The car is expected to arrive as an EV first before a mild-hybrid gas powertrain debuts later on.
The electric CLA will arrive first in 2025, but Mercedes will push a gas version with a mild-hybrid system in select markets a few months later. As Autocar pointed out, this likely suggests that there will be AMG variants, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Electric CLA models will get 800-volt architecture, giving them exceptional charging times with speeds of up to 350 kW. Mercedes said the system shortens times to around a half-hour for a 10-80 percent charge. Those speeds put the CLA ahead of the Tesla Model 3, its likely rival.
Last year, Mercedes announced it would move toward more upscale vehicles instead of offering the range of compact and entry-level models it does today. That impacts European markets more than the U.S., as the brand sells several cheaper models there. The CLA, GLA, and GLB will remain on sale, and each will get an electric version. All models will be built in Mercedes’ German and Hungarian factories, but there’s no set release date for the U.S. at this time.
All of the new vehicles get the Mercedes Modular Architecture, which underpinned the stunning Vision EQXX concept. The platform supports internal combustion and electric powertrains, enabling Mercedes to continue offering a range of propulsion options while focusing on its “electric-first” strategy.
The skateboard platform has also been designed with a new lithium iron phosphate battery in mind. It’s said to offer improved efficiency and range and has demonstrated benefits to both in early testing.