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The New York Times is reporting that Daimler has decided to proceed with production of a fleet of 500 Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-Cell vehicles early in 2011. Like the Smart ED, the battery packs and power electronics for the electric A-Class will be supplied by Tesla Motors. According to Tesla chief technical officer JB Straubel, Daimler decided to move forward with the project after Tesla took the initiative and converted an A-Class for demonstration purposes.

Details of the A-Class E-Cell are expected to be announced in mid-September ahead of its debut at the Paris Motor Show. Straubel told the times that the pack would have a capacity of about 40 kilowatt-hours and contain approximately 4,000 18650 lithium-ion cells. That should be sufficient for about 124 miles of electric driving range. Since the current-generation A-Class is not certified for the U.S. market, the electric variant is unlikely to make it here until the next-generation model arrives.

[Source: New York Times]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      500 cars and subcontracted out to someone else. Mercedes is really going all in on EVs eh...
      • 5 Months Ago
      "Tesla took the initiative and converted an A-Class for demonstration"
      Good job! Tesla nerds FTW.

      I hope they build the upcoming A-Class as an EV with Tesla cells from the beginning in high volume. I can recommend the A-Class too. Extremely flexible, nice "space" look and its still a little Benz with decent quality interior.
      This one could become the second hot real world EV next to the LEAF.
      • 5 Months Ago
      This is a fantastic vehicle, i just rented one for 3 weeks and traveled all over europe with it, my Average for the whole trip was 4.8 liters on 100 km, that included city driving and also speeds of close to 200 km/hr on the autobahn. The diesel A 180 CDI is fantastic and there's no reason it shouldnt' be in N/A along with an electric version. We fit 5 suitcases in the trunk without having to fold the seat!!! AMAZING!.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Tricky naming convention by Daimler. But this is exactly what Tesla needs to be doing to consolidate itself and Battery Electric Vehicles in the market. Good for Tesla, Daimler and for us.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Not only is the range low, but where on earth are they going to put the batteries and cooling system in an A-class car?
      Pakaging 18650 battteries is not exactly space efficient either.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Don't be so pessimistic. Let the engineers do their job.
        • 5 Months Ago
        Either these are "real world" cold weather highway speed numbers or someone's been misquoted. Remember it came from an engineer, so I'd say it's more likely to be close to what they actually get (unlike Nissan's claimed range).

        As for packing 4000 cells - it will easily fit under the floor with room in the front for the cooling (where the 1.6 engine in the ICE version sits).

        Let's wait and see what September brings...
        • 5 Months Ago
        We've already heard part of what they have done. 126 mile range from a 40kwh battery does not fill me with wonder.
      • 5 Months Ago
      40 kW·h is more than any EV but the Tesla Roadster and the China-taxi-only BYD e6! I'm surprised they're claiming only 126 miles. I don't think there is that much room in the A-Class's sandwich floor construction for so many batteries and Tesla's cooling system, but unlike the Mini-E the back seat remains.

      40 kW·h from 4,000 cells weighing ?? , compared with a Roadster's
      53 kW·h from 6,831 cells weighing 450 kg; seems like a 30% jump in cell power. Imagine a Roadster 3.0 with the new cells, either more range or lighter and faster acceleration!
        • 5 Months Ago
        the roadster was made with 2.2Ah cells, today panasonic has 2.9Ah cells of basically same weight. I don't know the cost of the panasonics in bulk but 2.6Ah cells are available at the lowest prices.
        yes the roadster could be made with the latest high density cells and I've wondered why they don't offer that already. it would put the range at 300mile or above 500km if they just changed the cells. a smaller pack would also be interesting for efficiency and perhaps cost but that might take a bit more engineering.
        who knows though, the latest roadster might have fewer cells.

        the higher the density of the cells the more they invite a lighter vehicle design both because it weighs less and therefore consumes less but as it weighs less the structure can be lighter since it needs to carry less so it will be lighter still and so on.
        with the high density cells there is great potential for leaning of cars and that's key to succes.
        • 5 Months Ago
        That Roadster battery pack is not very large even that it weights that much (Roadster is a _tiny_ car). I think a smaller version of it can be installed in the front of the A-Class where the engine used to be. That would make it a bit front heavy though.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Tesla is moving to 3.1Ah Panasonic cells next for the 300 mile Model S. I think they announced this back in April when the factory for the cells opened.
        • 5 Months Ago
        @letstakeawalk ,
        I dunno, it's just speculation. If this A-Class happens, Tesla will be making three battery packs: 53 kW·h Roadster, 16.5 kW·h Smart ED, and 40 kW·h A-Class; plus prototypes for the Toyota RAV-4 and their own Model S. Does that show they're stretched way too thin, or that making another configuration is easy, or both? I don't know if the different cars simply use different numbers of the same complex battery module (called "sheet" in http://webarchive.teslamotors.com/display_data/TeslaRoadsterBatterySystem.pdf ).
        • 5 Months Ago
        "Imagine a Roadster 3.0 with the new cells, either more range or lighter and faster acceleration!"

        When do you think Tesla will contact current owners to notify them of battery pack upgrades?
      • 5 Months Ago
      Looks like a nice EV, about the same class as the leaf. Using higher density tesla cells gets them a little more range.

      It is slightly disappointing that they only get 124 miles out of a 40kWh battery pack, the Model S is supposed to get 160 miles out of a 42kWh.
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