All-new Mercedes CLE
Mercedes-Benz is replacing the E-Class and C-Class coupes and convertibles with one new model called the CLE. The CLE is longer than both models it replaces and the same width as the E-Class, so customers won't be getting a downgrade in size. The CLE offers a long-nose and short decklid design, and it adds some extra sportiness to the car compared with the more elegant C and E cars it replaces. A four-cylinder offering will be the only one in Canada to start, badged CLE 300. It makes 255 hp from a 2.0L engine with 48V mild hybrid assist. One tech highlight is the use of AI to learn automated comfort functions. It will also include templates like "cold day" to switch seat heating on automatically or "date night" where it plays romantic music. The Mercedes-Benz CLE coupe hits Canada in early 2024, the Cabriolet in the middle of the year.
GMC has launched the AEV version of its 2024 Canyon AT4X. The Canyon AT4X sees GMC teaming up with American Expedition Vehicles to add off-road goodies like 35-inch tall mud-terrain tires, a best-in-class 12.2 inches of ground clearance, and some seriously rugged steel bumpers. AEV also supplies its steel skid plates to protect essential underbelly bits of the Canyon for off-roaders. It also has a bed-mount spare tire holder and AEV branding on the headrests and a few other places around the truck. Like the standard AT4X, the AT4X AEV Edition comes with a 310 hp version of GMC's 2.7L turbo-four. It also has Multimatic DSSV dampers like those on the standard AT4X.
Stellantis forging ahead with new EV platform
Stellantis, parent of Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and others, has introduced a new electric vehicle platform. STLA Medium is the first of four global EV platforms Stellantis is planning, and it says this one will be for “C” and “D” segment vehicles. This covers compact and midsize vehicles. Stellantis says it currently has 26 vehicles in those segments. The automaker promises more than 700 km of range from the platform with battery packs up to 98 kWh. It will be a 400-V platform. Stellantis says it will be used for cars, crossovers, and SUVS, and that it will be able to offer massive 29-inch wheels.
At least some of those vehicles are likely to use battery packs built at the Stellantis Gigafactory in Windsor, ON. The automaker along with the federal and provincial governments have signed a new deal to resume construction of the NextStar Energy EV battery plant. Construction had paused while Stellantis negotiated for a better deal, and now the two levels of government have worked to "level the playing field" in the words of COO Mark Stewart, with US incentives. The plant is expected to start production next year with an annual capacity of 45 gWh.
Mercedes to adopt NACS
Mercedes-Benz is the latest to jump on the North American Charging Standard. The NACS plug, the one designed and used by Tesla, is suddenly the hot ticket. Mercedes-Benz is just the latest of half a dozen automakers to announce the switch in the last month. Starting next year, MB EV drivers will be able to access 12,000 Tesla Supercharger stations. The company will start putting Tesla plug ports on its EVs starting in 2025. Mercedes-Benz says it plans to continue to build its own network with more than 2,500 high-power EV charge stations in North America by the end of the decade.