Mercedes-Benz is making waves in the electric vehicle (EV) industry with its groundbreaking CLA Concept EV, a clean-sheet design that promises to redefine the luxury EV landscape. Unveiled at the 2023 IAA Mobility Show in Munich, this concept vehicle represents a significant leap forward in terms of design, performance, and sustainability.
A New Design Language
The CLA Concept EV introduces a fresh design language to the entry-level Mercedes-Benz lineup. With a striking shark nose and prominent undercut, it’s a departure from the current Mercedes lineup, setting the stage for a new era of electric vehicles. The vehicle’s sleek lines and beautifully sculpted body create a visually stunning profile. It’s worth noting that the hood’s length hints at the possibility of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) variants alongside the electric powertrains.
Under the hood, the CLA Concept EV offers both single-motor rear-wheel-drive and dual-motor all-wheel-drive configurations. While details about the ICE versions remain uncertain, the EV version features a rear-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motor generating 235 horsepower. This motor utilizes Mercedes-Benz Electric Drive Unit (MB.EDU) technology from the Vision EQXX concept, reducing reliance on rare-earth materials. Unlike traditional direct-drive setups, it incorporates a two-speed transmission for enhanced efficiency across a wider range of speeds. The 800-volt architecture further optimizes energy usage, contributing to an impressive estimated range of 400 miles on the EPA cycle.
Fast Charging and Battery Chemistry
The 800-volt architecture of the CLA Concept EV allows for DC fast charging at 250 kW, offering the potential to add around 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Although the battery size remains undisclosed, estimates suggest a usable capacity of approximately 90.0 kWh. Mercedes-Benz plans to offer two different lithium-ion battery chemistries: one with silicon-oxide anodes for extended range and one with lithium-iron-phosphate for a more budget-friendly option.
Inside the cabin, the CLA Concept EV boasts an EQXX-inspired MBUX Superscreen, spanning the entire dashboard. This state-of-the-art infotainment system is powered by MB.OS chip-to-cloud architecture, promising a unique user interface and experience. While the concept’s interior is laden with futuristic design elements, it’s likely that a more production-ready configuration will feature traditional seats and additional physical controls.
Level 3 Automation-Ready
One intriguing design feature is the roof-mounted transverse blister housing sensors for Level 3 automated driving. Although this feature won’t be available at launch, the vehicle’s OTA (Over-the-Air) update capabilities suggest that it will become “Level 3-ready” during its production life.
The Road Ahead
Mercedes-Benz plans to begin production of the CLA Concept EV in late 2024, with the final product, the 2025 Mercedes-Benz CLA, set to hit the U.S. market. This launch will be followed by three other variations, including a wagon and two SUVs. While specific pricing and details about the ICE versions are yet to be disclosed, the CLA Concept EV signals Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to providing compelling EV options in the luxury segment.
As the automotive industry undergoes a transformation toward electric mobility, Mercedes-Benz‘s innovative approach with the CLA Concept EV marks a significant step forward. With its remarkable design, performance capabilities, and commitment to sustainability, this electric vehicle concept is poised to reshape the landscape of luxury EVs. Click here for more details.