The company presented a near-production concept of its CLA sedan rated to go more than 750 kilometers (466 miles) on a single charge, beating Tesla’s refreshed Model 3. The car is Mercedes’s first based on its upcoming EV underpinnings, with a battery system that can add 400 kilometers of range in just 15 minutes of charging.
“We’re taking it to the next level,” Mercedes Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer said Sunday in an interview ahead of the IAA car show in Munich. “This car is extremely important for innovation reasons and to push the limits for what we can do with a series car.”
Mercedes is under pressure to bolster its lineup after disappointing sales in China forced the company to cut prices on some of its electric models.
BMW AG on Saturday unveiled its own next-generation EV, a sleek coupe featuring a digital display projected onto the entire width of the windscreen. Both the BMW prototype and Mercedes’s future EV are due to go into production around mid-decade.
Mercedes is trying to fend off Tesla and bolster sales in China, where customers are increasingly going for homegrown brands such as BYD Co. and Nio Inc. that have been better at building EVs with software geared to local tastes. The company has a goal to sell only EVs where possible by the end of this decade and plans to set up eight battery factories with partners.
The CLA concept lacks the bowed roof line of the brand’s EQS and EQE sedans. While their low-slung roof makes them more aerodynamic, increasing their range, the design also reduces headroom in the rear-seating compartment. That’s a drawback in the Chinese market, where wealthy customers oMeften prefer to be chauffeured.
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