Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class debuts – 800V MMA platform, 250 kW DC charging, 750 km range –

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the Concept CLA Class, a “close-to-production insight” into what will be not just one model, but rather an entire upcoming family of entry-level, fully electric models that will emerge from this concept, according to the manufacturer.

Specifically, the future range of models will be comprised of four models – a four-door coupรฉ, a shooting brake, and two SUVs – and these will be built upon the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) platform.

Exterior design of the Concept CLA Class is defined by the application of the marque’s three-pointed star as a motif throughout, including in the headlamps and as grille pins on the front fascia, as well as in the rear lights. The three-pointed star motif also appears in miniature on the concept’s 21-inch wheels.

Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class โ€“ Exterieur Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class โ€“ Exterior

Mercedes-Benz calls the Concept CLA Class the “one-litre car for the electric age,” and the manufacturer anticipates the model to attain a WLTP range of up to 750 km on a single charge, through a claimed rate of energy consumption of 12 kWh per 100 km.

Its electric powertrain is directly derived from that of the Vision EQXX, comprised of an 800-volt electrical architecture and supports up to 250 KW of DC fast charging. Here, this offers the topping up of 400 km of range in just 15 minutes, according to Mercedes-Benz.

In terms of drivetrain, the Concept CLA Class is configured for rear-wheel-drive, though its modular design enables its use in 4×4 vehicle applications as well, and thus the next-generation electric drivetrain is scalable for use in other vehicle segments, the carmaker said.

This electric powertrain for the Concept CLA Class is called the Mercedes-Benz Electric Drive Unit, or MB.EDU in the manufacturer’s own naming. This is a unit that is comprised of the motor, transmission and power electronics which have been developed entirely in-house, and is the first drive unit in a family of drive units that will be deployed to serve a number of model lines.

The motor is a 175 kW (238 PS) permanently excited synchronous unit with a two-speed transmission, and its power electronics incorporate control of the motor and transmission through a single processor with a silicon carbide inverter for efficient power usage.

This comes together to form an overall package that weighs less than 110 kg, and is claimed to have energy efficiency of up to 93% from battery to wheel in long-distance driving. The motor in the Concept CLA Class also features a “significantly lower” share of rare-earths, or close to 0%, the manufacturer claims.

The Concept CLA Class offers software- and hardware-based bi-directional charging, and thus can become an energy storage device for storing solar power for use at a later time when connected to a compatible bi-directional DC charging station, and the vehicle can serve to supply electricity via either vehicle-to-home (V2H) or vehicle-to-grid (V2G).

Inside, the cabin of the Concept CLA Class gets the full-width MBUX Superscreen that features high-efficiency, mini-LED technology and the 3D graphics as seen in the Vision EQXX.

The front bucket seats have been developed from a speherical form to offer occupants an “enveloping sense of safety and protection,” where the interior of the seats are designed in layers to combine the seat cushion, backrest and side cushions as a whole.

The doors interiors of the Concept CLA Class employ a subtle concave shape, where its surface merges with the door handle to form a natural armrest for the occupants. Door panel upholstery, as with the seat cushions, is Nappa leather in crystal white, and the door pockets are trimmed in a certified-vegan silk-like fabric.

In the future, production of MMA-based vehicles as prefaced by the Concept CLA Class will begin in Rastatt, Germany, Kecskemรฉt in Hungary and in Beijing, China, Mercedes-Benz has stated.

The manufacturer’s updated MO360 digital production system will first introduce the MMA-based models virtually, in order for the existing production lines to be retooled for MMA-based model production without disrupting the output of current compact models such as the A-Class, B-Class, GLA and EQA.

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