Think the EV revolution isn’t real? Guess again, combustion breath. Mercedes-Benz had a couple of announcements this week that make it crystal clear the revolution is coming and sooner than many people think.
2023 E Class Last Of Its Kind
In general, the average lifespan for an automotive model is 7 years. The Mercedes E Class is due for an update next year, and Mercedes told Germany’s Automobil Woche this week that the new platform for the E Class will be the last internal combustion chassis it will develop. All subsequent new model series in the future will be based on architectures that the Stuttgart-based company is developing specifically for electric vehicles, Electrive reports.
Markus Schäfer, who is in charge of product development for Mercedes, said, “As things stand today, the E-Class with its derivatives is the last Mercedes-Benz model to be created on a pure combustion engine platform.” The current versions of the S Class and C Class, which are based on the same platform, will be phased out at the end of their model cycle. Mercedes plans to put only battery-electric new vehicles on the road by 2030 and will introduce only new electric platforms from 2025.
Three such architectures have been announced so far, plus the MMA discussed in the next section. MB.EA covers all mid-sized and large passenger cars and “will be the electric basis of the future BEV portfolio as a scalable modular system.” For the performance models, the AMG.EA “electric platform designed for peak performance” is intended to address “the needs of Mercedes-AMG’s technology-savvy and performance-oriented customers.” Electric vans and light commercial vehicles are to be launched on the basis of the VAN.EA, which is also new.
Given the focus on BEV vehicles, Mercedes-Benz plans to reduce its range of internal combustion engines with the introduction of the Euro 7 emissions standard and also end its engine cooperation with Renault for compact cars. Regarding fuel cell vehicles, Schäfer says there are considerable disadvantages in terms of unit costs, energy efficiency, and the space required for the tanks. This technology makes sense for trucks on the long haul, but for passenger cars Mercedes is fully focused on the battery-electric future, he said.
Mercedes Midsize Electric Sedan Coming In 2024
Autocar reports that Mercedes is planning a counterpart to its C Class sedan as the first electric model in the ‘Entry Luxury’ segment. In terms of technology, however, the new car will differ from the companies current electric sedans, the EQS and EQE. The electric counterpart to the C Class will be launched in 2024 as a CLA-size 4-door sedan with technologies from the Vision EQXX concept car and will be complemented by an AMG offshoot a year later.
Electrive says the electric C Class may be slightly shorter than its combustion engine counterpart. The current C Class is between 4.75 and 4.79 meters long, depending on the variant. The current CLA comes in at 4.69 meters. The new model, potentially called the EQC Sedan, could be a few centimeters shorter than the current C Class vehicles.
The new Mercedes-Benz Modular Architecture (MMA) will serve as the basis for the midsize electric sedan. That means it could offer more interior space than the C Class despite having slightly smaller exterior dimensions. Since there are currently no models based on the MMA, no technical data is available yet. Electrive expects it will be at or slightly above the level of competing models such as the Polestar 2, BMW i4, or Tesla Model 3.
Robert Lesnik, head of exterior design at Mercedes, tells Autocar the AMG version of the new sedan will feature active aerodynamics based on the EQXX, such as a movable diffuser and an active spoiler. The EQXX is only 1.35 meters high, which compromises rear seat passenger comfort. Presumably the new sedan will depart from the EQXX concept enough to address that shortcoming.
Mercedes announced in July, 2021 it would only introduce new electric platforms beginning in 2025. Cars with combustion engines and hybrids will continue to be built on the current platforms, but there will only be new purely electric developments.
The company once hedged its bets about the MMA chassis, saying it could support gasoline and diesel power if market conditions demand, but it no longer mentions that fact. That suggests that internal combustion models are now firmly in the rear view mirror at Mercedes and that the company has fully embraced an all electric future.
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