Mercedes-Benz and BMW took the wraps off electric concept cars as they look to catch up with Tesla in the premium end of the market.
At the IAA auto show in Munich, Mercedes showed off the Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class while BMW revealed the BMW Vision Neue Klasse.
These cars are built on an entirely new platforms from the German automakers that will underpin both their EV offerings for the coming years, in what has been their most aggressive push into battery-powered vehicles yet.
They are concept cars, so it’s unclear what their final form will look like when they’re eventually produced. But here’s a closer look at Mercedes and BMW’s offerings.
Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class
The Mercedes-Benz Concept CLA Class is built on the so-called Mercedes‑Benz Modular Architecture (MMA), a new platform designed by the German auto giant for electric cars.
The range will comprise a total of four new models — a four-door coupé, an estate and two sports utility vehicles.
Mercedes claims the car will have a range of 750 kilometres (466 miles) on a single charge. The company also claims that in just 15 minutes, the battery can be charged so the car can be driven 400 kilometers.
Mercedes has placed a big focus on the interior and user experience. The company said it is developing its own operating system for the car called MB.OS. This will help power various features from the giant screen across the dashboard to the voice assistant within the car.
It will also allow third-party apps, such as your favorite music or video streaming apps, to be integrated with the vehicle.
“This proprietary chip-to-cloud architecture represents a completely new approach for the company and will be a largely hidden yet defining aspect of all its future vehicles,” Mercedes-Benz said in a press release.
Traditional automakers have been perceived as being behind Tesla on the software front. This is an attempt by Mercedes to show it is catching up.
BMW Vision Neue Klasse
The BMW Vision Neue Klasse is BMW’s answer to Tesla. It is also built on a new architecture that will underpin BMW’s future electric cars.
The first electric vehicles based on the Neue Klasse — or new class — architecture are set to enter production in 2025.
The concept vehicle has a glass roof. BMW said the design of the car embody classic elements that fans know of the brand.
BMW said the car will contain what it calls Panoramic Vision, a heads-up display which projects information on the windscreen at the eyeline of the driver.
The company said this will first be available in the Neue Klasse. Both passenger and driver will be able to interact with the Panoramic Vision feature, BMW said.
There were few details on range and charging. But BMW said the new generation of its technology will improve the charging speed of the Neue Klasse models by up to 30 percent, in addition to boosting their range by up to 30 percent.