Mercedes-Benz Unveils MMA-Based Concept CLA Class

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its first concept based on the Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) electric vehicle platform. The Concept CLA Class brings the sporty CLA coupe to an electrified future as part of Mercedes’ long-term portfolio strategy.

“The Concept CLA Class is the forerunner for an entirely new all-electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz. The range will comprise a total of four new models—a four-door coupe, a shooting brake and two stunning SUVs—each with significantly elevated product substance.

“This new model family is inspired by a generation of car buyers who want that unmistakable Mercedes-Benz feel, with more features, even greater comfort and safety and the most advanced technology. They also seek a sustainable choice that is a cut above the rest. This hypermiler is the one-liter car of the electric age, with a range of more than 750 kilometers (466 miles) in the WLTP and energy consumption of just 12 kWh/100 km (5.2 mi/kWh).

“Based on the MMA platform, it provides an insight into the first complete family of Mercedes-Benz electric cars developed from scratch to put our Ambition 2039 on the road, whereby we aim to achieve net carbon neutrality along the entire value chain in our fleet of new vehicles in 2039.” —Ola Källenius, CEOr, Mercedes-Benz Group AG

The new MMA platform is an electric-first design engineered for at least four vehicles of varying body styles to be built on the same basic footprint. Its electric drive system is meant to mimic a 1-liter car with consumption of around 12 kWh per 100 km or 5.2 miles per kWh. A silicon-oxide-based anode design for energy density in an 800-volt platform is a big part of that efficiency.

The electric drive system in the Concept CLA is derived from the Vision EQXX 800V architecture developed in-house at Mercedes. The Concept CLA is configured as rear-wheel drive with all-wheel drive as an option. Similar to many Mercedes-Benz vehicles current at market. Its battery system is still under development for the MMA platform, but Mercedes is planning to offer two separate cell chemistries to consumers.

The more expensive and longer-range option is uses silicon-oxide to boost energy density. The standard “entry level” battery is a lithium-iron phosphate chemistry. With either battery, the packs will be held in place with adhesive rather than screws to both stiffen its protective case and reduce penetration risk in a collision. The 800V configuration also means a more compact package and fewer cooling requirements. Charging can be at up to 250 kW DC, giving about 400 km (248 miles) of range in 15 minutes of charging time.

Mercedes has also developed a new drive unit for the Concept CLA and MMA platform. This modular unit (called MB.EDU) combines a motor, transmission, and power electronics for easy configuration with multiple platform and vehicle designs. For the Concept CLA, it’s a 175 kW permanently-excited synchronous machine and two-speed transmission. A silicon carbide inverter for efficient power usage converts battery to motor power. The MB.EDU for the concept weighs just 243 pounds with a 93 percent battery-to-wheel efficiency.

“The technology that provides the foundation for the Concept CLA Class represents an entirely new approach for Mercedes-Benz and incorporates many learnings from our groundbreaking VISION EQXX technology program. For instance, our engineers have maximized efficiency by driving down losses in its 800 V electric-drive system. It also features innovative battery cell chemistry as well as a high level of integration enabling excellent energy density. I am certain that our MMA platform will enable us to offer our customers in this market segment a class-defining combination of performance, sustainability, safety and comfort paired with an outstanding digital experience.” —Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer