Mercedes intends to strike hard in the field of electric cars, with its brand new MMA platform, intended for the most affordable models. We were lucky enough to see the first electric car to be equipped with it at the Munich auto show: the future Mercedes CLA. 750 km of autonomy, ultra-fast charging and ultra-technological interior, we take a tour together of this future competitor to the Tesla Model 3.
At the Munich Motor Show, Mercedes did not come empty-handed, far from it. The Stuttgart firm revealed its affordable electric car revolution. This is the new MMA platform, intended for entry-level models, like the current Mercedes EQA and EQB. This platform will be integrated into four new entry-level electric cars, including the future electric Mercedes CLA which should compete with the new Tesla Model 3.
And in fact, it was the electric CLA concept that was presented in Munich. A very attractive electric sedan, both physically and technically! We were able to approach him, to get a first opinion. This is obviously a concept, but the production car should include many elements present on this version. Starting with the technical platform which promises very high autonomy.
“Small” batteries but great autonomy
Currently, the Mercedes autonomy record is found on the EQS, with 783 km of autonomy on the WLTP cycle thanks to its immense battery with a capacity of 107.9 kWh. Thanks to the MMA platform, Mercedes aims similar ranges (750 km), but with much smaller batteries. It is indeed a question of very low consumption, of the order of 12 kWh / 100 km thanks to a very aerodynamic design. Mercedes is not yet communicating the size of the battery, but it should not exceed 90 kWh.
Fast charging is not left out, with an 800 volt architecture making it possible to reduce the time spent at the terminals. It is thus a question of a maximum power of 250 kW making it possible to recover 400 km of autonomy in just 15 minutes. Certainly, we are still far from the 10 minutes of charging of certain Chinese electric cars, but this is a platform for the most affordable models from Mercedes.
For comparison, Tesla announces 282 km of autonomy in 15 minutes on the Model 3 with its Superchargers. But it is difficult to draw a conclusion, since it is the number of kilometers recovered with consumption stabilized at 100 km/h on the highway. At Mercedes, it is very likely that the figure is linked to the consumption of the WLTP mixed cycle, with an average speed of 76 km/h.
Very aerodynamic cars
In any case, Mercedes’ proposal is very attractive and seems to go in the direction of history: create the most aerodynamic cars possible, to avoid using batteries with too large capacities. In order to reduce costs, of course, but also the impact on the planet. Remember that the MMA platform was inspired by the Mercedes Vision EQXX which covered more than 1,000 km in a single charge on open roads across Europe.
And as we can see, this 100% electric CLA concept has a very aerodynamic design (we don’t yet know its Cx), but also very pleasing to the eye. It doesn’t go unnoticed, that’s for sure, especially with all its logos encrusted everywhere, between the bumper and the immense panoramic roof. We hope that this will not be retained during series productionunlike Renault’s new electric Scénic.
The new MMA platform will be used by, at a minimum, four new electric cars : a four-door coupe (the CLA), a shooting brake (probably the CLA shooting brake) and two SUVs, which we can imagine replacing the current EQA and EQB.
The engine is not left out, with a 175 kW (238 hp) engine although Mercedes has not yet announced a performance value. Versions with all-wheel drive (and therefore two engines) will also be available. Enough to drastically increase performance.
Always in tune with the times, Mercedes announces the integration of bidirectional charging. A technology already present on certain electric cars, and used to charge electronic devices (such as a laptop… or a lawn mower) from the car’s battery.
But technology goes further, allowing the car to power an entire house…or even reinject energy into the local electricity network if necessary, while being paid by EDF. Renault thus announces a reduction in the electricity bill of 50% with its future electric R5 thanks to this function!
Inside: the pinnacle of technology
Let’s finally move on to the interior, with its huge Superscreen MBUX screen (and not the Hyperscreen of the EQS), which runs thanks to a chip from Nvidia! The graphics look magnificent, with the use of the Unity 3D engine used by many video games. The screen is equipped with mini-LED technology, but there are doubts about its presence on the series version due to its higher cost.
The new version of the MB.OS operating system promises to be more responsive, more complete and easier for the driver to use with the use of artificial intelligence.
For semi-autonomous driving, Mercedes announces level 2 (adaptive cruise control and lane centering) but the presence of LiDAR will make it possible to climb to level 3 via a remote software update.
Price and availability
The future 100% electric CLA, the first Mercedes car to be based on the new MMA platform, should be presented in the coming months, for immediate marketing.
For prices, we should be around 50,000 euros. It is difficult to imagine that the car is eligible for the ecological bonus. This is indeed the case for EQA and EQB, but only for a few weeks, in order to sell off the stock beforehand.
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