By Michelle Toh, CNN
Updated 10:32 PM EDT, Mon September 4, 2023
Mercedes wants you to take Zoom calls from your car seat
Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled new “close-to-production” concept vehicles that could outdo Tesla cars by going more than 466 miles on a single charge. That’s compared with a range of less than 380 miles for any Tesla model.
The German automaker’s Concept CLA Class, revealed Sunday at the IAA Mobility auto show in Munich, comprises four new models: a sedan, a station wagon and two SUVs. The company did not specify when exactly they would enter production.
The vehicles will each have a range of more than 750 kilometers (466 miles), versus Tesla’s (TSLA) Model 3 and Model S, which have the brand’s highest ranges and each can go for just under 375 miles off one charge.
Meanwhile, BMW also made a splash at the show by revealing a new electric vehicle that boasts a longer range and faster charging, in further evidence of German automakers’ efforts to fend off growing EV competition.
Big European carmakers such as Volkswagen and Renault are already being squeezed by Chinese rivals in cheaper EVs, while Tesla has vowed to turn its factory near Berlin into Europe’s biggest car plant.
BMW’s Vision Neue Klasse vehicle, also still in concept stage, uses newly developed battery cells that can store over 20% more energy than those previously used by the company. Overall, charging speed and range are expected to be improved by up to 30% compared with the brand’s previous models, according to the company.
“With the Neue Klasse, we have embarked on the biggest investment in the company’s history,” Frank Weber, a BMW board member, said in a statement.
The new vehicle is due to roll out in 2025.
Mercedes’ new Concept CLA Class vehicle unveiled at the Munich auto show at the weekendMercedes-Benz AG
For Mercedes, the Concept CLA Class is meant to represent “an entirely new all-electric segment of entry-level vehicles at Mercedes-Benz,” appealing to more buyers, according to CEO Ola Källenius.
He said the new vehicles “could easily take you from Munich to Hamburg on a single charge.”
The longer range may help the legacy automaker lure more customers, as range anxiety is often cited as a major consideration in consumers’ decisions about whether to buy an EV.
Källenius also teased another upcoming vehicle Sunday while discussing Mercedes’ G class, a line of SUVs, saying: “The little G will be electric.” The new vehicle could be a competitor to Tesla’s Model Y, which is also a compact SUV.
In a report Thursday, UBS analysts said they had received a preview of the company’s latest models and felt “strongly reassured” about Mercedes’ product pipeline for the next two to three years.
In another encouraging sign, the company’s management also indicated they were confident that the new EVs would “reach the same profitability” as their gas-powered counterparts, the analysts added.