It seems everyone is gunning for the crown of best compact electric sedan.
Just days after Tesla launched a refreshed Model 3, followed by BMW’s Neue Klasse concept, Mercedes-Benz is here with a new concept electric sedan, the Concept CLA Class EV.
Unlike the Neue Klasse, the Concept CLA Class EV is not a radically different design compared to current models. Instead, it’s a fancy four-door sedan with massive, 466-mile range, and new 800-volt architecture that should enable rapid charging; fast enough to get 248 miles of range in 15 minutes, Mercedes-Benz says. That range figure is according to European, WLTP standards; in the U.S., the figure will surely be a little lower, but likely still impressive.
Even the Mercedes-Benz logo lights up.
On the outside, the Concept CLA Class looks unmistakably Mercedes, with a sleek, curvy figure, a massive dotted (excuse us, starred) grille on the front, and elements of the Mercedes-Benz logo repeated everywhere. It’s all underpinned by a lot of LEDs. Reader, we’re talking copious amounts of LEDs; fortunately, Mercedes says it’s all “very-low-energy LED lighting,” so it probably won’t drain the car’s battery as fast as it seems.
Other notable details include light bands that nearly wrap around the entire car, 21-inch wheels with star-shaped spokes, and (again) the illuminated logo on the rear.
Boss: Can we make it even shinier? Designer: Hold my beer.
Inside, the car has even more LED lighting and ridiculous amounts of shiny and/or illuminated surfaces. There’s a massive mini-LED display that extends through the full width of the cockpit, offering infotainment both for the driver and the passengers. Fortunately, there’s no way all that luminous bling makes it into cars aimed for the mass market, which should make the experience of being inside…well, bearable.
One tech highlight: the car’s Mercedes-Benz Operating System (MB.OS) software and the hardware that powers it, along with the accompanying sensors (LiDAR included), are all ready for Level 3 autonomous driving. However, the cars based on this concept will likely launch with Level 2 autonomy, offering partially automated driving on “virtually all types of roads.”
The Concept CLA Class is “close-to-production,” meaning we should see cars with similar figures from Mercedes-Benz fairly soon. It’s also a forerunner for a new electric segment of entry-level Mercedes cars, with the full range comprising four new models; a four-door coupe, a shooting brake, and two SUVs.
Those wheels are cool, but we suspect they will be a bit different when the cars based on this concept hit the market.t in
There’s no word on the price, but Mercedes-Benz’s press materials mention words such as “entry-level”, meaning that cars based on this concept should actually be cheaper than most Mercedes cars. Whether that price can come close to $40,000, which seems to be the magical number for compact electric sedans these days (see under Tesla Model 3, Volvo EX30), is another matter.