Mercedes’ Stealthy Move: Spy Shots Reveal Compact EV Competing with BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3 in 2024

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Mercedes (Credits: Autoevolution)

Mercedes has recently unveiled its electric EQE and EQS sedans, but these spy shots suggest the company is gearing up for a more compact electric vehicle (EV). While our enthusiasm for the EQE and EQS is tempered, the prospects for this new model are elevated owing to its innovative platform and powertrain, showcased by the impressive EQXX concept in 2022.

Anticipated to be based on the new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) designed for smaller EVs, the car will utilize an 800-volt electrical system to facilitate ultra-fast charging. The MMA platform initially showcased with the Concept CLA at the Munich auto show, is positioned to provide 250-kW DC fast-charging capabilities, enabling the addition of approximately 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes.

Mercedes (Credits: Autoevolution)

The CLA concept featured a single rear-mounted 235-hp electric motor with a two-speed transmission geared towards enhancing efficiency at higher speeds. The range-topping CLA is aiming for an impressive 466-mile figure under the European WLTP testing cycle, translating to around 400 miles according to EPA standards.

Mercedes plans to introduce various battery chemistries and capacities in the future, with the potential for higher-priced batteries offering superior energy density. Expectations include both rear-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the new models on the MMA platform and, based on past models like the EQE and EQS, the likelihood of at least one AMG version.

Test mules often feature deceptive details to confound onlookers, making it challenging to identify the exact model represented by the prototype. It could potentially be a production version of the electric CLA, with form-obscuring cladding, or an entirely distinct model aligning more closely with the C-class.

If it turns out to be the former, Mercedes is contemplating using the CLA name for the entire range, including combustion-powered versions, while considering retiring the separate EQ branding as electric variants assume a larger role in the portfolio. Alternatively, the car in question could follow the EQE and EQS pattern and adopt the EQC moniker. Mercedes holds U.S. trademarks for designations ranging from EQC300 to EQC450, although an EQC SUV was previously available elsewhere but not in the U.S.

Regardless of nomenclature, this new model is poised to be Mercedes-Benz’s contender in the competitive electric vehicle market, competing with cars such as the BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3. Production is anticipated in 2024.

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