The recent unveiling of the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class at the Munich motor show has sparked great anticipation, as it serves as a preview of the advanced electric vehicle (EV) technology that will define the forthcoming generation of compact EVs from the renowned German luxury brand. A substantial portion of the Concept CLA’s technological innovations stems from the Vision EQXX, an automobile meticulously crafted to explore and enhance EV efficiency.
Elegantly presented as a four-door sedan with a coupe-like design, Mercedes-Benz has divulged that this lineup will also encompass a shooting brake wagon, as well as a duo of SUVs. These SUVs are expected to replace the existing EQA- and EQB-Class models, in addition to their gasoline counterparts, the GLA- and GLB-Class vehicles.
What truly sets the Concept CLA-Class apart is its distinction as the inaugural vehicle to embrace Mercedes’ innovative Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform. This platform, primarily engineered for EVs, showcases versatility by also accommodating internal combustion engines, likely in the form of hybrid configurations.
Moreover, the Concept CLA-Class affords a preview of an upcoming battery system currently in development. This groundbreaking system will grant buyers the choice between two distinct battery chemistries. The first, a lithium-iron-phosphate design, carries forward from previous models, while the second introduces a novel silicon-oxide-anode design, promising enhanced energy density. Notably, the latter option occupies a smaller volume, employs adhesive to bind its cells instead of screws, and boasts a lighter and more rigid composition compared to its lithium counterpart.
Crucially, the Concept CLA embraces a novel 800-volt electrical architecture, a notable leap from the previous 400-volt systems observed in earlier Mercedes EVs. This advancement facilitates the silicon-oxide battery’s ability to achieve a remarkable 248-mile recharge (measured according to the WLTP cycle) in just 15 minutes when connected to a DC fast charger capable of delivering up to 250 kW. Moreover, the vehicle supports vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home bidirectional charging capabilities.
Mercedes confidently asserts that this groundbreaking battery system can potentially deliver up to an impressive 466 miles of range based on the generous WLTP cycle, all while maintaining an efficiency of 5.2 miles per kW/hr. By all indications, this should translate to over 350 miles on the EPA cycle. Notably, specific details regarding the capacities of these two batteries have yet to be unveiled.
At the heart of the Concept CLA-Class lies a powertrain concept derived from the EQXX model. This rear-mounted, permanently excited synchronous motor, generating 235 horsepower, is harmoniously coupled with a 2-speed transmission. Including the power electronics, this powertrain is surprisingly lightweight at approximately 243 pounds, boasting a commendable efficiency of up to 93% from battery to wheel during long-distance travel. A noteworthy achievement is the substantial reduction of rare earth metals, nearly eliminating their presence.
In terms of aesthetics, the Concept CLA artfully blends design elements from preceding CLA generations, infused with a modern technological flair, particularly exemplified by the exquisite lighting arrangements. The headlights and taillights artfully mimic the iconic Mercedes star logo, while the distinctive grille, with a pronounced forward-leaning stance akin to a shark’s nose, proudly showcases 264 miniature Mercedes stars along with a prominent central star emblem. Impressively, each of these smaller stars can be illuminated through the activation of three LEDs, allowing for captivating patterns that greet the driver, bid farewell, or simply captivate onlookers. Furthermore, an additional 652 stars are intricately embossed into the glass roof, which notably relies on just a single pillar for front-end support. Further celestial-inspired detailing is ingeniously incorporated into the design of each wheel.
The exterior profile adheres to the classic CLA design, accentuated by refined side contours and broader rear haunches to accommodate wider rear tires and an expanded rear track. The substantial 21-inch wheels are adorned with tires measuring 255/35 at the front and 285/30 at the rear.
Within the confines of the Concept CLA, the spotlight is cast upon the Mercedes Superscreen, an expansive display that seamlessly spans the width of the dashboard. This interactive interface seamlessly integrates analog and digital controls for the climate system, ingeniously embedded as rings within the glass, gracing each end of the dash. A floating center console contributes to the sense of spaciousness, providing a practical storage area below. Additionally, the forefront of the firewall proudly showcases the MB.OS processor, the orchestrator of the vehicle’s sophisticated electronics.
The interior’s commitment to sustainability is evident through its employment of materials originating from the EQXX. Noteworthy examples include fabric crafted from recycled PET plastic, nappa leather treated with extracts from coffee bean shells, artificial silk, bamboo utilized for the floor mats, and even treated paper employed for select trim elements. In the realm of functionality, an improved heat pump, inspired by the EQXX model, employs ambient air and heated air from the drivetrain to more efficiently warm the cabin.
In terms of driver assistance, the Concept CLA boasts SAE Level 2 systems capable of managing control in specific scenarios. The production iteration is slated to incorporate Lidar technology, enhancing its capabilities further. Notably, SAE Level 3 self-driving capabilities will be available, contingent upon local regulations. The safety suite includes a rear-seat child detection system, ensuring comprehensive protection.
Anticipate the debut of the production version of the Vision CLA by the end of 2024, slated to materialize as the CLA-Class four-door coupe, likely designated as a 2025 model. An official unveiling of the production model is anticipated within the coming year, offering comprehensive details on pricing and specifications in preparation for the launch.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about cutting-edge EV technology
What is the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class?
The Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA-Class is a groundbreaking showcase of advanced electric vehicle (EV) technology, offering a glimpse into the future of compact EVs from the renowned German luxury brand.
What is the origin of the Concept CLA’s technology?
Much of the Concept CLA’s cutting-edge tech is derived from the Vision EQXX, a car designed specifically to explore and enhance EV efficiency, reflecting Mercedes’ commitment to innovation.
What key features define the Concept CLA-Class?
The Concept CLA-Class introduces the Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA) platform, accommodating both EVs and hybrid configurations. It also previews a dual-battery system, offering buyers a choice between lithium-iron-phosphate and silicon-oxide-anode designs for improved energy density.
What is the significance of the 800-volt electrical architecture?
The Concept CLA-Class pioneers an 800-volt electrical architecture, a remarkable leap from previous 400-volt systems. This innovation empowers the silicon-oxide battery to recharge up to 248 miles in just 15 minutes using a DC fast charger.
What are the driving capabilities and efficiency of the Concept CLA?
Powered by a rear-mounted synchronous motor with 235 horsepower, the Concept CLA boasts impressive efficiency, reaching up to 93% battery-to-wheel efficiency during long-distance driving. Additionally, rare earth metal usage has been significantly reduced.
How does the Concept CLA’s design incorporate technological elements?
The Concept CLA artfully merges design elements from previous CLA generations with modern technology. Exquisite lighting arrangements, Mercedes star logo-inspired headlights and taillights, and the innovative illuminated grille create a unique and captivating exterior.
What interior features highlight the Concept CLA?
The Concept CLA boasts the Mercedes Superscreen, an expansive dashboard display integrating analog and digital controls. Sustainable interior materials, including recycled PET fabric, coffee bean shell-treated leather, and innovative heat pump technology, underscore the brand’s commitment to eco-friendliness.
What driver assistance features are present in the Concept CLA?
The Concept CLA features SAE Level 2 driver-assistance systems, with Lidar technology planned for future production models. SAE Level 3 self-driving capabilities will be available, contingent on local regulations, ensuring safety and convenience.
When can we expect the production version of the Vision CLA?
The production version of the Vision CLA is set to debut in late 2024, likely as the CLA-Class four-door coupe, offering an exciting blend of advanced technology, innovative design, and sustainable features.
More about cutting-edge EV technology
- Mercedes-Benz Official Website: Explore the official website for the latest updates on Mercedes-Benz vehicles and innovations.
- Vision EQXX: Learn more about the Vision EQXX, the car that inspired much of the technology in the Concept CLA-Class.
- Mercedes Modular Architecture (MMA): Discover the Mercedes Modular Architecture platform designed for EVs and hybrid configurations.
- SAE Levels of Driving Automation: Understand the different levels of driving automation defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
- Lidar Technology in Automotive: Gain insights into Lidar technology and its application in the automotive industry.
- WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure): Learn about the WLTP cycle, a standardized test procedure for measuring vehicle emissions, fuel consumption, and electric range.
- EPA Fuel Economy: Find information about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy ratings and testing procedures.