Mercedes-Benz is about to give Americans another choice of battery-powered vehicle. Offering more all-electric range than the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3, and with a smaller price tag than the Tesla Model S, the B-Class Electric Drive is officially set to arrive in the US this summer. Indeed, the first examples have begun rolling off the production line in Rastatt, Germany.

Featuring drivetrain parts from Tesla Motors, the luxury compact hits all the performance parameters mentioned during its debut at last year's New York Auto Show. For a refresher, that's a single-charge range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) along with a 0-to-100 kilometer-per-hour (62 mile-per-hour) sprint in a respectable 7.9 seconds. These achievements comes courtesy of a 28-kWh lithium battery located in the floor of the passenger compartment and a 132-kW (177-horsepower) motor powering the front wheels. Torque specs for the unit seemed to have increased somewhat and are now given as 340 Newton meters (250.77 pound-feet). It boasts an 11-kW charger and can add as much as 62 miles of range to a deleted battery in an hour and a half. Sadly, it is not Supercharger compatible.

The B-Class Electric Drive, which is built on the same production line as the gasoline-powered version, is going to go on sale in Europe around the end of the year and will also come in a right-hand drive version for other markets in 2015. Although pricing has not yet been announced, Mercedes execs expect it to be quite competitive with the BMW i3. Scroll below for the press release (Google translated from German).
Show full PR text
Model offensive: Mercedes-Benz launches first major series for electric cars - the start of production at Mercedes-Benz in Rastatt: B-Class Electric Drive begins
  • For the first time large-scale production of Mercedes-Benz models with internal combustion engine and electric drive on the same line
  • Stefan Abraham: "With the B-Class Electric Drive we are expanding our production portfolio at the Rastatt plant is a highly innovative drive variant."
In the Mercedes-Benz plant in Rastatt today through the first B-Class Electric Drive off the line. This makes Mercedes-Benz models are produced with internal combustion engine and electric drive on the same line at the site for the first time. The B-Class Electric Drive is based on the Mercedes-Benz front-wheel drive architecture of the new Mercedes-Benz compact car generation and uses the modular component kit. The batteries are located safely in the underbody of the vehicle (Energy Space).

Stefan Abraham, Head of Mercedes -Benz plant in Rastatt: "With the B-Class Electric Drive we are expanding our production portfolio with a highly innovative drive variant. The full integration into the production process, we can manufacture all drive versions extremely efficient. "

The production of electric variant - specifically the stations for mounting the battery and electric motor components and the necessary wiring - could be integrated into the existing production workflow without changing the clock time . All staff employed at these new stations staff have undergone special training in which they were intensively trained in dealing with high-voltage technology under production conditions.

The B-Class Electric Drive comes first mid-2014 in the U.S. market, the end of the year starts with Germany the launch in Europe.

About the new B-Class Electric Drive

The B-Class Electric Drive presents itself with dynamic styling , high quality interior and a high-torque electric motor for local -emission -free driving - without compromising on comfort and safety. The electric drive train for the B-Class Electric Drive comes from the electric car pioneer Tesla Motors , Mercedes -Benz integrates it into the vehicle. In the past, the two companies have worked together successfully : So comes about the battery for the previous model of the smart fortwo electric drive of Tesla.

Also in the B-Class Electric Drive is a high-performance lithium - ion battery is used, which provides a range of around 200 km. It is neatly and securely housed - in the so-called " Energy Space" in the underbody of the vehicle. Through this clever packaging, the five-seater retains the known generous interior and luggage space of the B-Class.

For the locally emission-free driving with a maximum torque of 340 Newton meters, a 132 kW electric motor provides ( provisional figures) . This corresponds to the power delivery in about a modern gasoline engine with three liters. The result is an extremely dynamic acceleration from a standing start also the standard sprint from zero to 100 km / h in the electric-powered B-Class 7.9 seconds , top speed is 160 km / h ( provisional figures).

Charging allows the B-Class Electric Drive at each household outlet. At a wallbox or in public charging points at 400V, the charging time in Europe is due to 11 kW charger the vehicle 1.5 hours for about 100 km range .

About the Mercedes -Benz plant in Rastatt

The Mercedes -Benz Rastatt plant employs about 6,600 people, making it the largest private employer in the region . In a global Mercedes -Benz production network Rastatt is the center of the compact-car production. Here A and B-Class as well as the compact SUV GLA to be built. For compact-car production network also includes the plant in Kecskemét, Hungary . Approximately 3,400 employees manufacture there, the B -Class, which rolls off the line in Rastatt plant , as well as the four-door coupe CLA. The compact with the star evolve very positive: In March Mercedes -Benz sold 43,389 vehicles in the A- , B- , CLA and GLA -Class ( +26.4 compared to 2012) .


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  • 38 Comments
      Levine Levine
      • 8 Months Ago
      Finally, Mercedes Benz is living up to its status as a leader in the German auto industry. While 124 mile range is a tad shy of 150 miles, the MB EV is a good starting point. As Tesla Model E is only several years away, MB can ill afford to over price its first pure EV. Let's hope MB continues to increase its EV market share.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        What? Nope. First of all, the 124 mile range is not real. And second, the drivetrain is from Tesla.
      jeff
      • 8 Months Ago
      So basically Mercedes executives trash Tesla, but have to resort to using Tesla's drive train in their only EV.... Interesting...
      paulwesterberg
      • 8 Months Ago
      If it costs less than an i3 and has better range and similar performance bmw execs may eat their hats.
        Exooc news
        • 8 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        no fast charging makes this just compliant car. Pitty would be otherwise cool car for cabs i3 got dc fast charge option (80% 30 min) and rex option accelerate faster.
          Ziv
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Exooc news
          An 11 kW charge rate is nothing to sneer at. Fast charging would make it possible to road trip, kind of, this car, but for daily driving this car is pretty nice. Kind of pedestrian in appearance but not willfully quirky like the i3. If it comes out at the same price as the i3 it will eat BMW's lunch.
          Rotation
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Exooc news
          I'll sneer at 11kW. I'm sneering at it right now. SAE Combo is 4.5x faster. So if I can charge up in 20 mins on SAE Combo, it takes this 90 minutes. Besides, it's unlikely we'll see the 11kW charger in the US. It is accomplished with 400V AC L2 and that doesn't exist on the US. It can't even be fed through a US J1772 connector because J1772 doesn't support 3-phase. I agree the styling is superior.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Exooc news
          Rotation, thier are other ways of getting close to ten kw charging. Teslas hpwc's do it with one on board charger. Two on board chargers and you get closer to 18 kw via 80 amps at 207 volts. Other than the Tesla HPWC's there are some Clipper Creek chargers I use in Kirkland WA that put out 16 kw if you have the dual charger option on your Tesla.
          Joeviocoe
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Exooc news
          http://www.myelifenow.com/2013/08/tesla-model-s-charging-inlet-in-europe.html
          Rotation
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Exooc news
          EVSUPERHERO: Because of the lower voltage, it would require redesigning the charging system quite a bit to make it 11kW with US L2 AC charging. This charging system as seen in this car is only 27.5A. To do it at 230V would require 48A. I simply don't expect Mercedes to make that change. We'll have to wait and see to really know of course.
      Lancelot
      • 8 Months Ago
      Tesla = Made in California = #1 + Teabagger-free! Thank You Elon Musk and President Barack Obama! USA = #1 Innovators World = #1 Imitators
      2 wheeled menace
      • 8 Months Ago
      Not bad! probably 80-100 mile range by our standards. It's a cute little benz. I wish them the best.
        Rotation
        • 8 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Naw. That's the exact same rated range as the Leaf gets on the EU system. So you can expect the vehicle to get the same range as a Leaf does. And that's about 70 miles comfortably, more under ideal conditions.
        korblalak
        • 8 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        The B Class will probably be more like a 90-110 mile range, which compares well and gives them an edge over the competition.
      Grendal
      • 8 Months Ago
      Non-sequitur Tesla news (sorry for butting in but there hasn't really been any Tesla news the last few days to post this on). Bloomberg news has made a concerted effort over the past few days to take on the Dealership Associations and their fight with Tesla: It started with Matt Miller's visit to the mall to experience shopping for a Tesla: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/how-to-buy-a-tesla-at-a-mall-near-you-FSTWuZiGRyWr_bDBQspp9w.html This was followed by a confrontation with Jim Appleton of NJCAR: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/tesla-not-a-victim-in-n-j-sales-fight-appleton-MyPKsLEZSuGd_SY6fGL_3Q.html Then the next day Bloomberg devoted an entire hour to the conflict: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/where-are-tesla-direct-sales-battle-lines-drawn-7UJ0ogDNSyqrhMICT3zHQg.html Which was followed by Trish Regan nailing the VP of NADA: http://www.bloomberg.com/video/tesla-s-fight-to-keep-direct-sale-stores-OL6K9EuVS5OGHPeqb9VxFg.html Altogether an excellent dissection by the Bloomberg news team of what the Dealership Associations are trying to do to cripple Tesla's direct sales approach.
        Joeviocoe
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Trish Regan did great... she 'almost' was able to squash the argument of "factories would incur the same costs as dealers, therefore factories could not lower prices below what dealers would via competition". She should have just said that dealerships make profit on that process, while factories profit on the sale of the car, not the car buying process. When the VP of NADA said that independent owners are able to add jobs and increase tax revenue... Trish should have responded that, "if the factories would incur the same costs... the factory owned stores would provide the same. But since there IS extra overhead with independent dealers, that is why there are extra jobs and tax revenue." She did hit on that when she said, "at the consumer's expense". Real "competition" can only be between producers of products... not middlemen. Dealerships can compete with each other for lower overhead costs on the car... but can never lower the price of the car itself.
          Grendal
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          The question you need to ask yourself is do you really want to put dealerships out of business or do you just want them to leave Tesla alone. For me, I could care less about regular dealerships since I'm not buying a car from them again. I just want them to allow Tesla to go about their business while they continue to do things however it is they like. I expect that will be happening a lot more often from here on out since the Dealership Associations are coming to the realization that all this publicity is not good for them.
          Spec
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Uh . . . they could go out of business for all I care.
          Joeviocoe
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          True... the arguments that focused on why major automakers prefer the franchise model were plentiful. Also, note that Tesla may be amiable to a Hybrid Dealership model in the future. Perhaps Dealerships that have dedicated space, and employees for Tesla vehicles. Or have a local dealership rep sit in a corner of a Tesla store... there for the paperwork, tag/title stuff. Either way, if EVs in general are adopted en masse... as in the new car market is approaching 50% plug ins... and car salesmen would have sold so many EVs/PHEVs and taken them as trade... then Tesla's objections may subside entirely if Tesla also has expanded greatly (500k/year volumes) and might benefit from focusing on design rather than sales. But I still really think that Tesla will innovate a whole new sales model by that time anyway. They will want to keep creative control. Apple too was thought to eventually go the Microsoft route... but not while Jobs had a say.
        Joeviocoe
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        I saw Jim Appleton crush Matt Miller by NJCAR rep. Not pretty. I have never seen a news interview where the microphone volume was higher for the guest rather than the interviewer. Jim talks all over Matt. And got Matt to apologize for a Mob reference. Matt did NOT properly argue. He started to talk about "middlemen"... Jim got all offended... Matt backed down. Jim kept using the "price competition" argument. And Matt never once talked about how price competition between middle men can NEVER reduce prices down to the same levels that direct sales could. When you have a separate private enterprise trying to make their own profits.... there is ALWAYS higher prices.
          Grendal
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          As I commented on TMC, it doesn't matter that Matt lost the arguing since Jim is likely a lawyer and very good at debating. Jim lost and here is why: he works for dealerships. People don't like dealerships and the dealership experience. So they would have heard a dealership representative arguing stuff at someone confronting him. Jim would have had to have very good reasons that a general listener would care about. He didn't. So even though he was the better arguer he still lost the battle. Jim also lost because Matt knew that he got bested by BS talking points. So the very next day Bloomberg spent an entire hour picking every one of his BS talking points apart. Which is the point I keep making, NADA and the various state versions of NADA, are losing by fighting Tesla in the first place. All the fighting is putting a spotlight on rules and laws that they do not want the general public to realize is there. These people need to reach a compromise with Tesla very quickly or face the wrath of the buying public and the media. Because in the court of public opinion they are destined to lose.
      Spec
      • 8 Months Ago
      "that's a single-charge range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) ", not EPA rated, I presume. There's no way they can get 124 miles EPA rated on just 28KWH unless you build a super efficient car .. . which this is not. That said . . . it looks like a nice new addition to the EV line-up.
        JakeY
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Spec
        28kWh is just the "Standard Mode" capacity. The "Range Mode" offers about 15% more range, so actual capacity is closer to 33kWh. So although 124 is unlikely, somewhere around 100 miles is pretty likely (assuming it's not subject to the special EPA "averaging" that averages the two modes). http://insideevs.com/exclusive-mercedes-benz-b-class-electric-drive-range-mode-increases-electric-range-15/
          Spec
          • 8 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          More efficient driving modes can extend range . . . but they don't magically make the battery bigger.
          Rotation
          • 8 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          I'll believe that when I see it.
          Ziv
          • 8 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          I think I found the article Jake is talking about. Didn't see it earlier. It may have 28 useable and a total of 33, and most of the extra may be accessible in Range Mode. Maybe. It will be cool if it is true. http://insideevs.com/exclusive-mercedes-benz-b-class-electric-drive-range-mode-increases-electric-range-15/
          Ziv
          • 8 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          Jake where did you read that the B class has a battery larger than 28 kWh? Every article I have seen is the same, 28 in all of them. It would be cool if it did have a larger battery pack, but I can't any articles to support that.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Spec
        GM's EV1 pulled a 160 mile range on 24kw-hrs. The secret sauce was the aerodynamics. It's possible, just not particularly for a car shaped like this.
          Rotation
          • 8 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          The secret in GM's case was to use a test case where you drive rather slowly. This is still possible today, it just isn't done. Electric car companies used hyper optimistic range testing methodology right up until the Volt and LEAF debuted.
          Spec
          • 8 Months Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          The EV1 was a small 2-seater with an extremely impressive drag coefficient. I'd certainly like to see some cars that are more aerodynamic like that. But that 160 mile number was not an EPA rated number.
      Huw
      • 8 Months Ago
      They need to get rid of that "Electric Drive" badging on the back. Or just take a hairdryer to it. Will be interesting to compare the spec's with the i3 when its all real. More traditional looking car and styling, less exotic materials? Should definitely be price competitive with the i3. Shame about the lack of Supercharger support but no big surprise really.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Funny how Canada has had the Mercedes-Benz "B" Class Gasoline Vehicle for years and the U.S. was (supposed) to get it in 2013-2014 when it was refreshed....Wrong! As usual, the USA will not get the 30K version but the more expensive Plug-In Electric version instead. Thanks MB America, for giving us another Toy!
      Rotation
      • 8 Months Ago
      DC fast charge capable? Wonder what the AC charge rate will be in the US. I expect it'll lose 400V capability and thus drop down a bit in charge speed.
        Spec
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Nope, no fast-charge. Perhaps Tesla is intentionally making their out-sourced cars a bit underwhelming by not implementing that.
          Grendal
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Exactly, Rotation. With a 100 mile range you are really limiting the car to being a "city car." 100 miles is plenty of range for any big city though. As I've commented on many occasions I spent 10 days in Chicago and was in a rental car every day driving around. When I turned the car in I had only put 150 miles on it. This car or any of the 100 mile range EVs would be the perfect car to own for daily driving around a big city.
          Grendal
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Someone commented that Daimler could have got Supercharge capability but chose not to pay the extra money to get it. Since this is reference to one comment it could be very wrong.
          Spec
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Yeah, with a 28 KWH pack, you really wouldn't be able to do high speed super-charging. But it would be nice to have some type of DC fast-charging.
          Rotation
          • 8 Months Ago
          @Spec
          With a pack that small the "super" charging won't be all that super. The charge rate will have to drop to half of a Model S, putting it barely above the 50kW of a SAE Combo charger. And given Tesla's Superchargers are in the boonies, I really don't see the value in that for a car with only 100 mile range.
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