Mercedes-Benz previews Tesla fighter with electric concept

The Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture will support four entry-level EVs – a coupe, a shooting brake (wagon) and two crossovers.

Mercedes will initially build MMA vehicles at factories in Rastatt, Germany; Keckskemet, Hungary; and Beijing.

The production version of the CLA EV won’t arrive in the U.S. until around mid-decade. But the brand’s retailers got a peek at the vehicle in May.

Dealers described the EV as larger than the combustion engine CLA but with a sleeker profile.

The Concept CLA features a drivetrain with an estimated range of more than 466 miles, based on European testing standards.

A 175-kilowatt electric motor coupled to a two-speed transmission powers the coupe. Power electronics include a silicon-carbide inverter.

The new motor, developed in-house, uses significantly fewer rare-earth metals, Mercedes said.

With electric consumption of about 5.2 miles per kilowatt-hour, the Concept CLA is the new “1-liter car,” Mercedes said, comparing it to the most frugal internal combustion vehicles today.

The MMA architecture supports two battery cell chemistries — a cost-efficient lithium-iron-phosphate battery and a denser silicon oxide anode design.

To reduce weight and boost rigidity, Mercedes uses adhesive, rather than screws, to attach battery cell modules.

The Concept CLA features an 800-volt electric system that can add up to 248 miles of range in 15 minutes, Mercedes said.

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