Mercedes C-Class electric to challenge the Tesla Model 3

A Mercedes C-Class electric or an EV equivalent of the C-Class is in the pipeline, and it will go on sale by 2025. The Tesla Model 3 will finally have a strong rival from Germany mid-decade.

Daimler is speeding up its transition to EVs and has decided to offer an EV in all its segments. Ola Kallenius, CEO, Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, revealed this development at the ‘Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive’ on 22 July 2021. He said:

By 2025, our customers will be able to choose an all-electric alternative for every model we make.

Ola Kallenius, CEO, Daimler AG & Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz EV strategy 2021 update
The C-Class, like every other Mercedes-Benz model, will get an EV alternative by 2025. Image Source: Daimler

Mercedes C-Class electric branding

We don’t know the nomenclature that Daimler plans for mid-size passenger EVs. However, expect the possibility of the Mercedes EQC changing into ‘Mercedes EQC SUV’ in the next generation. That would make it easy for customers to recognize the positioning of the electric SUV with respect to the EQE SUV and EQS SUV models, and the original free to be capitalized for the pure-electric C-Class.

Platform

Last year when Daimler announced the MMA platform as an electric-first platform “for compact and medium-sized cars,” it looked like the next-gen Mercedes C-Class and its electric sibling, possibly called Mercedes EQC, would ride on that platform. However, now, the company has changed its EV strategy from electric-first to electric-only for many segments.

The MMA platform may be reserved for “compact” models like the successors to the EQA and EQB. The C-Class EV should ride on one of the three new EV-only platforms Daimler plans to introduce in 2025 – MB.EA (Mercedes-Benz Electric Architecture).

Following the launch of MMA, the compact electric first architecture in 2024, all new Mercedes-Benz vehicle architectures will be electric only. To get specific, in 2025, Mercedes will launch three electric-only architectures. MB.EA will cover all medium to large size vehicles in the passenger car line up and will over time replace the rear wheel based architecture (MRA) as well as the first dedicated electric platform (EVA).

Britta Seeger, BoM member responsible for Marketing & Sales at Mercedes-Benz

Specifications

Daimler wants to develop a modular battery system that makes batteries almost the same across the range, with cell chemistry and the height, the differentiating characteristics. The Mercedes C-Class electric should benefit from the new cell strategy, which sounds similar to Volkswagen Group’s Unified Cell approach. The company is working on increasing the energy density of cells to 900 Wh/l by using silicon-carbon composite in the anode. Right now, it can achieve an energy density of more than 550 Wh/l, which allows a gross energy content of 111 kWh on the EQS.

For the Mercedes C-Class electric or the four-door Mercedes EQC, Daimler could initially target a WLTP range of over 600 km. That should be the minimum standard for mid-size EVs around the middle of the decade. The Tesla Model 3 is already able to achieve that in 2021, 614 km to be precise, with the vehicle costing EUR 49,990. The C-Class EV should also come in single-motor RWD and dual-motor AWD configurations. Over-the-air updates and other measures could improve the range later during the lifecycle.

The system voltage of the C-Class EV should be around 800 volts, which could enable high performance, shorten charging time, and reduce the weight and installation space of the wiring harness. Expect charging rates as high as 350 kW in the top-end model, meaning 0-80% charging as quickly as in around 20 minutes.

Mercedes C-Class electric alternatives

In addition to the Tesla Model 3, the Mercedes C-Class electric’s competition may include a BMW 3 Series electric (a next-gen BMW i3) and an Audi A4 e-tron.

Featured Image Source: Daimler