German automaker Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its Concept CLA Class at IAA Mobility 2023 in Munich, Germany. The upcoming vehicle is part of the group’s first family of complete electric vehicles.
Alongside a glass roof, low-energy LED lights in a star pattern and a supercomputing AI system to facilitate automated driving, a major feature of the new CLA sedan is its driving range – or the amount it can drive on a single charge.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the vehicle has a range of more than 750 kilometres – or 466 miles – and consumption of around 12kWh/100km (5.2 mi/kWh). That beats Tesla’s newest Model 3, which is rated to go 606 kilometres (377 miles) on a single charge.
According to Mercedes-Benz’ chief technology officer, Markus Schäfer, the car features new battery cell chemistry, and engineers have maximised its efficiency by driving down losses in its 800V electric-drive system.
The new EV family is expected to comprise of four new models: a four-door coupé, a shooting brake and two SUVs. It’s part of the Group’s ‘Ambition 2039’ strategy, in which it aims to achieve net carbon neutrality. From 2025, all of Mercedes-Benz’s new vehicle platforms ill only make EVs.
“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,” Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, says.
In July, Mercedes-Benz raised its full-year forecast for operating profit to more than $20 billion euro (AU$33.5 billion). The company revealed in its Q2, 2023 earnings that demand for battery electric and top-end segment vehicles lifted sales of cars by 6% to 515,700 units, and by 5% to more than 1 million units in the first-half of 2023. Sales were boosted by demand in Germany and the US.
But when it comes to EVs, it’s all eyes on China. The country is the world’s largest EV market, with EV ownership reaching 13.1 million at the end of last year according to the country’s Ministry of Public Security.
And the race to capture the EV market in China is well and truly on, with the country’s local automakers (like Warren Buffett-backed BYD) currently dominating the sector. According to Daxue Consulting, local brands held about 81% of the country’s EV market in 2022, while Tesla held about 4%.
China, which is Mercedes-Benz’s single largest market, unit sales totalled 183,500 vehicles, which is up from 164,400 vehicles in Q2, 2022. Tesla, which doesn’t officially report its sales in China but the figures are available via the China Passenger Car Association, sold 50,000 units in the country in May alone.
BMW has also just revealed an electric concept car, called the Vision Neue Klasse, while In February 2021, iconic British automaker Jaguar announced a historic shift in its manufacturing direction, stating that by 2025, the brand would exclusively produce electric vehicles.