Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class – at a glance
Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class
The Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class summarized in 14 features:
- Mercedes Modular Architecture is a flexible advanced platform that marks the next step in Mercedes-Benz’s electric future.
- Efficiency-enhancing components such as a silicon carbide converter and battery cell chemistry with silicon oxide anode for excellent energy density. Mercedes-Benz’s powertrain achieves energy efficiency of up to 93 percent from the battery to the wheels on long-distance trips.
- Up to 750 km range
- The electric “hypermiler” is the new 1-liter car with a consumption of about 12 kWh/100 km.
- 800V configuration for fast charging up to a range of 400 km in just 15 minutes.
- Creative use of LED lighting and animations as a symbol of electrification and digitization.
- MB OS: an in-house developed chip-to-cloud architecture enhances the customer experience through a new dimension of personalization, safety, comfort and automated driving.
- MBUX Superscreen: real-time graphics powered by Unity Game Engine as in the VISION EQXX bring the display to life with immersive worlds.
- MB.OS-based network of more than 20 system interfaces provides an advanced safety system focused on accident prevention.
- UI/UX provides a digital luxury experience tailored to customer needs through art, entertainment and advanced graphics.
- Fisoe of analog and digital redefines familiar iconic forms to create a seamless transition for an optimal user experience.
- Ambition 2039: the first vehicle family from Mercedes-Benz to be completely redesigned according to Ambition 2039, reducing CO2 emissions in the value chain by more than 40 percent compared to the previous vehicle architecture.
- Sustainable: from paper to bamboo – the interior of the Concept CLA Class is pioneering in its use of innovative new materials.
- Smaller CO2 footprint: vadvances in the steel and aluminum supply chain, including recycled material and the use of renewable energy sources, yield combined savings of about 400 kg of CO2 per vehicle.
The powertrain of the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class
The Concept CLA Class is the first vehicle based on the new Mercedes-Benz MMA platform and points the way to the next-generation electric drive technology that the series model will be equipped with. With an expected range of more than 750 km (WLTP), the electric drive is by far the best in its segment. This corresponds to a remarkably low energy consumption of about 12 kWh/100 km and makes the Concept CLA-Class the 1-liter car of the electric age.
The new in-house developed powertrain is directly derived from the VISION EQXX’s electric drive system and consists of an 800V electrical architecture combined with a battery with exceptional energy density and a highly efficient electric drive unit. In the Concept CLA-Class, it is configured for sporty rear-wheel drive. However, thanks to its modular design, it is also suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles. The advanced next-generation powertrain is scalable for numerous other applications, including in other vehicle segments.
The battery system, developed for the MMA platform, is based on a modular architecture. Customers can choose from two different cell chemistries. The top variant has anodization with silicon oxide for excellent energy density. The entry-level variant leads the segment by using lithium iron phosphate. The battery itself has a remarkably low overall volume. For the first time, the cell modules are attached with glue instead of screws.
The resulting structure is not only lighter than a conventional battery configuration, but also stiffer. This also has a positive effect on crash safety. The 800V configuration also enables high electrical durability in a compact package with lower cooling requirements. The HV configuration also allows DC charging with a high power of 250 kW, giving a range of 400 km in 15 minutes.
Mercedes-Benz Electric Drive Unit (MB.EDU).
Lightweight, powerful and compact: the new, highly efficient MB.EDU electric drive unit consists of a motor, transmission and power electronics. Based on a modular concept, this is the first member of a family of drive units designed for a wide range of power requirements in different model series. The permanently energized 175 kW synchronous engine is coupled to a two-speed transmission.
The powerful power electronics combine motor and transmission control in a single processor and feature a silicon carbide inverter for exceptionally low power consumption. This reflects the high level of integration of the MB.EDU, resulting in a compact overall package that weighs less than 110 pounds. The extremely high energy efficiency of up to 93 percent from battery to wheels on long-distance trips is due to the careful minimization of losses throughout the system.
MMA electro drive increases durability
The permanent magnet synchronous motor in the Mercedes-Benz Electric Drive Unit (MB.EDU) has a significantly lower proportion – almost 0 percent – of heavy rare earths than previous generations. The new MMA electric drive also takes a big step forward in CO2-neutral battery production. Not only cell production is CO2 neutral, but also cathode production. This allows Mercedes-Benz to reduce the carbon footprint of the cells by 40 percent. Further emission reductions are achieved through the use of renewable energy in the extraction and refining of raw materials.
Using the vehicle as a home energy storage system: the Concept CLA Class also offers a glimpse into the future of networking between electric vehicles and the power grid. Software- and hardware-based bidirectional charging shows how technology leadership opens up new opportunities for both customers and energy suppliers. When connected to a compatible two-way DC charging station, the vehicle becomes an energy storage device that can, for example, store solar energy for later use. But most importantly, it can also serve as an electricity provider, either Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) or Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G). The use of two-way charging may depend on country-specific conditions related to legislation and requirements of energy suppliers.
An example of V2H is providing emergency power in the event of a power outage. V2G applications include balancing peaks and troughs in the power grid or even trading green power on the open market. In all situations, the intelligent bi-directional charging system ensures that the vehicle’s battery is sufficiently charged to meet the customer’s needs at the specific departure times. With the ability to charge bi-directionally at home, Mercedes-Benz meets the desire of many customers to combine their own individual mobility with a more sustainable way of life.
And the sustainable edge?
Mercedes-Benz is committed to its Ambition 2039, which aims to achieve a carbon-neutral new model range across the value chain by 2039. This not only applies to the supply chain, but also underpins the company’s strategy and mindset that the future of mobility must be sustainable. This means electrifying the entire vehicle portfolio and building a circular economy – with the goal of building the most desirable vehicles. The MMA platform forms the basis for the first vehicle family developed from the outset according to the principles of Ambition 2039. It reduces value chain CO2 emissions across the MMA fleet by more than 40 percent compared to the previous architecture. The Concept CLA Class is the first member of this new family.
Innovative interior materials
That doesn’t just look good on paper: when designing the interior of the Concept CLA Class, the Mercedes-Benz designers had the clear goal of setting a good example from the start. They placed sustainability and circularity at the top of the priority list. These important aspects received as much attention as high-end visual and haptic quality features, wear resistance and safety criteria. An innovative paper material was used for the first time in a Mercedes. The blend of recycled cellulose and hemp in a 50:50 ratio is intended for mass production. As an ornamental part, it offers a striking, progressive look and feel with great design flexibility. It is produced using renewable energy and innovative sustainable technologies such as ozone water treatment and generates no landfill waste.
The chairs are upholstered in sustainably produced and processed leather. This takes into account all aspects, from animal husbandry to the tanning process. In addition to adhering to the British Animal Welfare Committee’s “5 freedoms of animal welfare,” a key award requirement for suppliers is that the leather must be free of any illegal deforestation. In addition, grazing areas should not contribute to the threat or loss of natural forests. The leather itself is tanned with vegetable tanning agents such as coffee bean hulls, chestnuts or extracts from other renewable raw materials. Moreover, the leather may only be processed in tanneries certified to the Leather Working Group’s Gold Standard. This includes important environmental aspects in the tanning process, such as reducing the use of water, energy and chemicals.
The floor mats of the Concept CLA Class are woven from bamboo fiber. The door pockets are finished with a strong and hard-wearing silky fabric that is biotechnologically produced and certified vegan. Both materials were used for the first time in the VISION EQXX. They are not only highly functional, but also extremely attractive and feel luxurious. The polyester textile covering of the floating center armrest is made of recycled PET.
Under the skin of the Concept CLA Class
Reducing the carbon footprint of steel and aluminum: beneath the beautiful exterior of the Concept CLA Class lies a consistent effort to make the supply chain for the next generation of vehicles in this segment CO2-free. The progress made in the field of electric drive to improve the durability of the battery and electric drive unit (see above) is only one aspect of a comprehensive and multifaceted approach.
Steel and aluminum
Because steel and aluminum are among the components with the greatest CO2 contribution in vehicle production, Mercedes-Benz has set itself clear goals to reduce emissions. These include making the focus materials carbon-free, increasing the proportion of recycled materials and using renewable energy sources. This is also essential to define “class. During the development process for low-carbon steels and low-carbon aluminum grades, the materials and resulting components are carefully examined and extensively tested to ensure they meet Mercedes-Benz’s strict crash safety standards.
In Europe, the company aims to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of steel at 50 percent of the in-house pressed parts used in entry-level models. This would result in savings of approximately 100 kg of CO2 per vehicle. In addition to recycled steel produced in electric arc furnaces powered by renewable energy, the material mix in the future will include steel from direct reduction with green hydrogen. This will be phased in over the life cycle of the vehicle depending on availability.
Reduction of CO2 emissions by approximately 300 kg per vehicle
The MMA platform also accelerates Mercedes-Benz’s strong progress in using aluminum with lower CO2 emissions. In Europe, at least one-third of the aluminum in the next generation of electric models will be produced with renewable energy. Applications include a wide range of parts, from the wheels to the battery housing. This lowers the carbon footprint of this aluminum by at least 40 percent compared to aluminum used in Europe. This corresponds to a reduction in CO2 emissions of about 300 kg per vehicle. Moving toward a fully responsible aluminum supply chain, the company will significantly increase the proportion of aluminum certified to Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI) standards in future models. Currently, aluminum sheets for the in-house pressed components are purchased from ASI-certified suppliers.
Production of the MMA vehicles will initially take place in Rastatt, Keckskemet (Hungary) and Beijing (China). With the MMA platform, Mercedes-Benz is pioneering new production techniques to integrate the future electric product portfolio. Thanks to the updated digital production system MO360, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt will virtually introduce MMA vehicles using digital twins.
With its “digital first” approach, Mercedes-Benz can ensure that the new production line can be converted, configured and optimized on the old site thanks to high-precision digital simulation techniques. The exact location of robots, delivery routes and production lines can be determined without disrupting production of the current compact models A-Class, B-Class, GLA and EQA. The “digital first” approach enables faster deployment, provides cost savings and opens up new opportunities to improve efficiency and quality.