Mercedes-Benz CLA EV unveiled at the Munich IAA Auto Show the first model based on the new Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform for compact and mid-size electric models. The electric Mercedes CLA will debut in 2024 as the first model of the new “Entry Luxury” generation. Subsequently, a shooting brake (CLA Shooting Brake) and two SUVs (successors to the EQA and EQB) will follow based on the same platform.
It is not clear if the new model will be called CLA as it could very well play the role of an electric Mercedes C-Class. From some unofficial inside sources, it looks like the CLA Concept will be named the Mercedes EQC, while the current Mercedes EQC built on the EVA I platform will change its name in EQC SUV.
Mercedes says the new Mercedes CLA Concept has a body made of CO2-free steel and low-CO2 aluminum. The main eye-catcher is the LED headlights and taillights that symbolize the Mercedes logo. In the upper area, the headlights are flanked by an LED strip that extends across the wings and then continues with the body beltline.
The headlamps offer different light configurations during the day and night, as well as various welcome and farewell choreographies. The Mercedes logo also appears illuminated in the center of the new hexagonal grille, which has a texture formed by small illuminated stars.
In profile, the concept has the lines of a four-door coupe and typical CLA proportions with a narrow glass area and a roof that slopes smoothly back into a short rear. The wheelbase is slightly longer than the previous generation, and the overhangs are shorter, but Mercedes has made it clear that in some markets there will be a front ICE engine as a range extender.
In the rear, a similar LED light strip stretches the entire width of the car, above the taillights, and the rear ends with a lip spoiler shaped from the boot lid.
With a longer wheelbase, the Mercedes CLA Concept should offer more room than the current CLA. The four shell seats with adjustable headrests are upholstered in sustainably sourced nappa leather in crystal white. Decorative elements consist of paper made from 50% recycled celullose, while the mats are made from bamboo fibres.
The dashboard is dominated by MBUX Superscreen. Like the EQS Hyperscreen, the display spans the entire width of the dashboard, but not on the center console. Like in case of the Hyperscreen, there are three individual screens which can be configured individually, surrounded by a narrow aluminum housing, and therefore appear as a single display.
At the both ends of the Superscreen, there are two circular rings used for temperature adjustment. The vents are hidden behind the displays.
The multimedia system uses the MB OS operating system with a water-cooled Nvidia processor, that is placed in view as an illuminated element on the middle tunnel.
New battery chemistry
In the base version, the production model will use a lithium-iron-phosphate battery, which is cheaper than a lithium-ion one, while the top version will have a silicon oxide battery. Mercedes has not announced the battery capacity but says it will offer a range of over 750 km at an energy consumption of 12 kWh/100 km. Making a simple calculation result a battery with a capacity of around 90 kWh.
With 800V technology, Mercedes promises that the production car will be able to charge at DC stations with up to 250 kW and that in 15 minutes it will charge energy for up to 400 km range. Like Hyundai and Kia, Mercedes will offer bi-directional charging.
The Mercedes CLA Concept is equipped with a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that develops 175 kW (238 ps) and drives the rear axle. It is mated to a two-speed transmission, a first for Mercedes since the EQS/EQE family has a single-speed gearbox.
The future electric Mercedes CLA will be produced at plants in Rastatt (Germany), Kecsemet (Hungary), and Beijing (China). At the Rastatt plant, the future electric Mercedes CLA will be produced alongside the A-Class, B-Class, GLA, and EQA. An AMG version will also be offered at a later date, taking over several aerodynamic elements from the EQXX concept.
Paradoxically, the MMA platform dedicated to Mercedes compact and mid-class models is more sophisticated and technologically advanced than the EVA II dedicated to the expensive EQE/EQE SUV/EQS/ EQS SUV models. The MMA platform features 800V technology, a two-speed gearbox, and new battery chemistry. It’s uncertain at this point whether there will be a future CLA and an electric C-Class electric, because electric peopulsion have virtually cannibalized the two models.