2026 Mercedes C-Class Electric takes aim at the Tesla Model 3 & BMW i4

  • Will rival the Tesla Model 3 & the upcoming BMW 3 Series EV & Audi E4 sedans
  • May deliver around 350 miles of EPA-est. range, support 800-volt high-power chargers
  • Prices expected to start from around USD 55,000 in the U.S.
  • Will be launched in the first markets in 2026

Update: ‘Mercedes C-Class Electric branding,’ ‘Design,’ and ‘Production & Release Date’ sections updated and ‘Frunk’ sub-section added to ‘Features.’

As Mercedes-Benz’s EQ range of electric vehicles continues to grow and expand into new segments, the German automaker is yet to reveal a direct competitor for the BMW i4, Tesla Model 3, and the Polestar 2.

The Mercedes C-Class has been among the most popular models offered by the Stuttgart-headquartered brand. The model has existed for over 30 years, having undergone five generations of upgrades and evolution. And now, for the first time, a Mercedes C-Class Electric is in the pipeline. Automotive News reported in October 2021 that Mercedes-Benz dealers in the U.S. have received a confirmation that an electric C-Class is headed to America, along with the next-generation GLC Electric, which would rival the Tesla Model Y.

Every Mercedes will get an Electric option

Mercedes-Benz will fast-track its EV program to offer electric models in every segment. Mercedes-Benz Group CEO Ola Källenius broke the news during the ‘Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive’ on 22 July 2021.

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

Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group
Mercedes Benz EV strategy 2021 update
Mercedes-Benz confirmed that it will offer a BEV option in every segment during the ‘Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive’ on 22 July 2021. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes C-Class Electric branding

The electric equivalents of the E-Class and the S-Class have taken the EQE and EQS badges. However, the C-Class Electric won’t use the ‘EQ’ nomenclature. Mercedes-Benz now has a wide EV lineup and offers it globally, which means its customers are educated enough to identify its electric cars without a different name.


Road-testing of the Mercedes C-Class EV has begun in Germany, with the first spy shots revealing preliminary details. The C-Class EV looks sportier than the current C-Class, thanks to a faster upswing in the beltline and a sleeker glasshouse. It seems to feature a smooth masked surface instead of a radiator grille, which would give it a cleaner and more aerodynamic appearance.

The Mercedes C-Class Electric has a conventional shape and looks like a modern sedan. Its headlights and taillights should feature animated welcome/leaving functions, and the former may even project images and signals onto the road.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its ‘One-bow’ design with the EQS in 2021. The term refers to the sedan’s roofline, which is reminiscent of the shape of an archer’s bow. The bow is underlined by frameless doors and a high beltline. Moreover, the window surround is embellished in chrome, making the one-bow line the focal point of the sedan. We expect the C-Class Electric also to have this feature.

2025 Mercedes C-Class Electric rendering updated
TopElectricSUV’s unofficial render was created to highlight the possible design direction of the upcoming C-Class Electric. Image: TopElectricSUV

Steffen Kohl, Mercedes-Benz director of advanced exterior style, said in a March 2021 media webinar that the EQS “carries the future of Mercedes-Benz,” as per The Detroit Bureau‘s report. However, many traditional Mercedes-Benz customers don’t seem to have been impressed with the EQS and the EQE that followed. Thus, we doubt the C-Class Electric will be simply just a smaller version of these cars. For example, it already appears to have a normal, higher front fascia.

No digital mirrors

Mercedes-Benz showcased digital mirrors on the Vision EQS in 2019 but didn’t include the feature in the production of the EQS and EQE models. It’s unlikely that the C-Class Electric will have this technology, and it will likely come with traditional mirrors that are optimized in the wind tunnel.

In an April 2021 interview with Automotive News Europe, Källenius explained that the electricity needed to power digital mirrors almost negates the aerodynamic benefits of the sleek camera panels. It can also result in motion sickness, and the brand would rather wait until the technology develops further before incorporating it into its EVs.


This (CLA Electric) would be our play in the entry side of the medium (segment), if you will, then followed by MB.EA, which is just you know, a year behind with then the electric GLC and the C class.

Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group (Mercedes-Benz Group Q4 2023 earnings conference call on February 22, 2024)

On February 22, 2024, during Mercedes-Benz Group’s Q4 2023 earnings conference call, Källenius confirmed that the Mercedes C-Class Electric will be based on its upcoming MB.EA platform. However, as customers have become increasingly aware of car technicalities in recent years, uniform platforms have become more of a marketing jargon than something truly modular. In reality, one could say that MB.EA is a family of two platforms or is split into two versions for different segments.

On July 22, 2022, Mercedes-Benz published a job ad (MER0001XVK) that revealed that the MB.EA platform will underpin the Mercedes C-Class Electric and also the Mercedes GLC Electric. This job listing revealed that there would be different versions of the MB.EA platform and that the version used for the electric mid-size models is ‘MB.EA-M.’ It was for the post of project coordinator for the C-Class Electric project.

Mercedes-Benz MB.EA AMG.EA VAN.EA platforms
The Mercedes C-Class Electric should be the first MB.EA platform-based model. Image: Mercedes-Benz

On July 27, 2022, during the Equity Roadshow Presentation for Q2 2022, Mercedes-Benz reaffirmed that the MB.EA platform will underpin the electric models of the Core Luxury category. The same day, it revealed the second version of the MB.EA platform in a new job ad (P0009V2596), MB.EA-L, which could underpin future E-segment models.

Mercedes C-Class Electric Specifications

Next-gen Batteries

Mercedes-Benz will standardize the battery systems across its range, with cell chemistry and height being the only differentiating characteristics. The Mercedes C-Class Electric may benefit from this approach, similar to VW Group’s Unified Cell strategy. Mercedes-Benz engineers are improving energy density from 550 Wh/l to 900 Wh/l by using a silicon-carbon composite in the anode. The 550 Wh/l energy density currently allows a gross battery capacity of 111 kWh on the Mercedes EQS.

Mercedes-Benz has already confirmed it’s commercializing next-gen batteries with an energy density of 800 Wh/l at cell level in 2024. The company plans to offer these batteries optionally in the electric G-Class first. It will source these batteries from California-based Sila Nanotechnologies, which will manufacture them using 100% renewable energy in Washington. We don’t expect them in the C-Class Electric, at least not initially, but they signal the efficiency level the company is heading towards.

As an option, the C-Class EV could also come with LFP (Lithium iron phosphate) battery packs for lower pricing and a more stable supply. The benefits of LFP technology outweigh its downside of a shorter range compared to NMC technology in the case of lower-segment models. That’s the reason why Tesla uses it in the Model 3 today.

Highly Aerodynamic

What’s more, the EQXX is claimed to have a drag coefficient of 0.18 Cd, two points less than the 0.20 Cd claimed for the EQS. Expect the Mercedes C-Class Electric to be highly aerodynamic, aided by its smaller frontal area.

800V Electrical Architecture

The U.S.spec Tesla Model 3 Long Range offers 341 miles of driving range, as certified by EPA. Mercedes-Benz would take a similar driving range target for the electric C-Class. Moreover, expect the C-Class EV to have RWD and AWD drivetrain configurations. The EV-only platform should also enable a system voltage of around 800 volts to ensure faster charging speeds, high performance, and a reduction in weight and installation space for the wiring harness. Expect charging rates of 350 kW with 0-80% charging time of 20 minutes.

Mercedes EQXX concept front three quarter dynamic
On the Vision EQXX, the solar roof takes the load off the battery by providing up to 16 miles of extra range. Image: Mercedes-Benz

eATS 2.0

The Mercedes C-Class Electric will be among the first to employ eATS 2.0, Mercedes-Benz Group’s next-gen electric drive unit with a radial motor. Developed and manufactured in-house, eATS 2.0 uses 800-volt technology and Silicon Carbide (SiC) inverter.

Last year at our strategy update, we told you about eATS 2.0, an in-house developed and built motor that will be key to the forthcoming MMA architecture. eATS 2.0 will have an outstanding performance, as part of an 800-volt powertrain with a silicon carbide inverter. eATS 2.0 is a radial permanent magnet motor, designed for the majority of our key products.

Markus Schafer, Board of Management Member responsible for Development & Procurement and Chief Technology Officer, Mercedes-Benz Group (Mercedes-Benz Strategy Update: electric drive 2021 on July 22, 2021)



According to a report from JESMB, unlike the larger models EQE and EQS, the C-Class Electric will have a front trunk. This will make it competitive with its rivals, including the Tesla Model 3. Customers will be able to use the additional storage space to keep the car’s charging cable and maybe even a gym bag, a cabin bag, or a golf bag.

Solar roof

The C-Class Electric may come with a solar roof, which we saw on the Vision EQXX. Schafer said that “customers will probably have the choice in the future to opt for solar roofs,” according to an Autoblog report. On the Vision EQXX, the solar roof takes the load off the battery by providing up to 16 miles of extra range. This technology would improve further by mid-decade to a point where more range can be added by harnessing the sun’s rays.

Multi-source heat pump

The C-Class Electric could feature a multi-source heat pump similar to the one previewed in the  Mercedes Vision EQXX. This heat pump recovers waste heat from the drivetrain, plus it has an external heat exchanger (not included in older Mercedes-Benz heat pumps) that draws heat from the ambient air. The external heat exchanger increases the operating temperature range and helps heat up the cabin quickly. The new heat pump can make use of every last bit of heat.

MBUX Hyperscreen

The MBUX Hyperscreen, the biggest interior highlight of the Mercedes-Benz models, will likely be an optional feature in the C-Class EV. The EQE clubs a 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster, a 17.7-inch OLED touch-operated central display, and a 12.3-inch OLED touch-operated front passenger display.

Mercedes Hyperscreen

The “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant will likely function better. It may come in an improved version that is even more capable of dialogue and learning and feels more human-like. It may even understand more languages than it does in the current C-Class, in which it supported voice commands in German, Chinese, American English, and British English initially.

Plug & Charge

The C-Class Electric would feature the new ‘Mercedes me Charge’ Plug & Charge function. At public charging stations supporting Plug & Charge, including Electrify America points, customers would conveniently start charging their electric sedan without needing to go through any manual input for authentication. The car and charger would communicate automatically via the charging cable. Plus, the payment would also happen automatically through the preset payment mode.

Over-the-air technology

The all-electric C-Class may get many new and improved features over its life with updates pushed over the air. Moreover, customers will likely be able to enable features with permanent/time-limited activations or subscriptions anytime during the ownership, days, months, and even years after the car leaves the factory and reaches them.

Active Ambient Lighting

Another optional extra in the C-Class Electric could be Active Ambient Lighting, which can visually support warnings of the car’s driving assistance systems with color feedback. This new mood lighting system may give color feedback even when operating the climate control system, “Hey Mercedes,” and the Energizing Comfort programs.

Digital Light headlights

The C-Class Electric will likely feature Digital Light headlights with a projection function. The headlights would be able to project auxiliary markings or warning symbols onto the road in HD quality, making the car even safer.

Air suspension and rear-axle steering

The Mercedes C-Class EV would come with rear-axle steering as an option. Rear-axle steering with a steering angle of 2.5 degrees is available as an option in the ICE C-Class Sedan. It reduces the turning circle by 43 cm to 10.64 meters. Air suspension at the rear could be a standard feature.

Bi-directional charging

Bi-directional charging has started to become a standard feature in EVs, and that push is coming mainly from Hyundai Motor Group’s Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands. BMW Group and Volkswagen Group are also working on deploying this technology in their EVs, and there’s no chance Mercedes-Benz Group would stay behind, that too in a car this important globally. Bi-directional charging may allow charging other pluggable EVs (PHEVs and BEVs), powering external equipment like power tools and electrical appliances, and even sending back power to the grid. The functions available may vary as per the market.

Production & Release Date

Production of the Mercedes C-Class Electric is expected to take place in Bremen, Germany. During the Q4 2023 earnings conference call, Källenius indicated it will start arriving at dealerships in 2026:

If we look at the timing of our (EV) launches, we start launching next year the CLA and it’s one of four (MMA models), as I mentioned before. So, over the coming then about 24-30 months, there will be a family of cars there that then becomes the entry point for Mercedes and followed up by which is probably in premium luxury, the biggest segment – C class and GLC, and we will launch those products in 2026.

Ola Källenius, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Group (Mercedes-Benz Group Q4 2023 earnings conference call on February 22, 2024)

As for its competitors, the Tesla Model 3 is already the default choice for customers looking for a premium electric sedan in the D-segment. Future European D-segment rivals of the Mercedes C-Class Electric include the Neue Klasse-based BMW 3 Series Electric and the Audi A4 e-tron (Audi E4).

TopElectricSUV says

In terms of performance, space, comfort, and perhaps safety, the 2026 Mercedes C-Class Electric could be superior to the gas-powered C-Class thanks to its MB.EA platform. Despite being more expensive to purchase/lease, lower running costs should result in significant savings in the long run.

Mercedes C-Class Electric FAQs

What are the future C-Class Electric rivals?

The C-Class Electric would compete with Polestar 2, Tesla Model 3, BMW 3 Series electric & Audi A4 e-tron.

What is the Mercedes C-Class Electric release date?

The Mercedes C-Class electric will be launched in 2026.

What is the expected Mercedes C-Class Electric price & range?

Expect the high-spec C-Class EV to get around 350 miles of range (EPA). Prices should start at around $55,000.

Featured Image Source: TopElectricSUV unofficial render for illustration purpose only.