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Getting 17 More Miles From 36-kWh Pack Is A $600 Option

There was something unexpected hiding in the new configurator for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: a $600 "Temporary range extender." Since we've never heard of such a thing, we had to click through for more.

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.

Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler has finally decided to go to its proverbial mothership to further expand its Car2go carsharing service in Europe. The German automaker has long used its itty-bitty Smart Fortwo vehicles for the program, but now it's kicking off a pilot program called Car2go Black that will share Mercedes-Benz B-Class models in Berlin and Hamburg.

Despite the fact that Daimler's press release doesn't mention this company by name, we have to assume that the 28-kWh lithium-ion battery in the upcoming 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive comes from Tesla Motors. What Daimler is being much more clear about is that the B-Class EV is coming to the US earlier than you might expect, in early 2014. The car has a range of "around 115 miles" and is being unveiled today at the New York Auto Show.

Development of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is moving along smartly since we first saw the thing in shimmering-blue-concept form at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. Now running about in prototype form, the B-Class ED is having some valuable cold-weather testing done in Sweden, as this box-fresh set of spy shots reveals.

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is a promising, small family vehicle, but Car and Driver is reporting that the new B-Class is only coming to the U.S. as the zero-emission Electric Drive model. It would appear that if Mercedes does proceed with this plan, it will likely be positioned as a premium alternative to dedicated green family vehicles like Toyota Prius v and Ford C-Max.

Mercedes-Benz showed off a number of alternative fuel B-Class models at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, including the B200 Natural Gas Drive and this machine, the B-Class Electric Drive. Using a 100-kilowatt (134-horsepower) electric motor, the hatch can whir to a top speed of 93 miles per hour and boasts a range of around 124 miles, though presumably not at the same time.

We already knew the next-generation Mercedes-Benz B-Class would be getting an all-electric variant, but instead of wearing the E-Cell name, it shall be dubbed Electric Drive. As a matter of fact, all future electric models from Mercedes-Benz, Smart and AMG will carry the Electric Drive name.

Mercedes-Benz kicked off production of its new B-Class earlier this year at its Kecskemet plant near Budapest, Hungary, and according to Automotive News Europe, the all-new CLA-Class will be built at this plant, too, starting next year. To support the two new premium compacts, the facility will double its annual output to 300,000 units by 2015.

Remember the dowdy original Mercedes-Benz A-Class? It's hard to believe that this sporty new five-door hatch evolved from that frumpy thing. But it has, and the new A-Class is officially rolling off the Daimler assembly line in Rastatt, Germany, as of now.

Looks like another Tesla Motors investor will be looking to cash in on their connection. Autoweek reports Mercedes-Benz will offer their B-Class in the U.S. with Tesla propulsion.

Reports of Mercedes-Benz and Tesla building an electric A-Class together are nothing new. In fact, a fleet of 500 A-Class-based E-Cells was built for Europe. Most recently, a Tesla earnings report revealed that Tesla was still working on an all-electric powertrain for an unnamed EV for Daimler, the evolution of a deal that began when Daimler invested in the Silicon Valley automaker in 2009. The two automakers also worked together on the Smart ED.

Automotive News reports Nissan will turn to Magna Steyr to build a new Infiniti compact car in 2014. The Austrian manufacturer will assemble the vehicle as part of the luxury brand's efforts to grow in western Europe and other global markets.

With BMW readying a refreshed X1 crossover for the U.S. this fall, Mercedes-Benz is looking to play Burger King to the Bavarian automaker's McDonald's, launching its own kiddie-sized crossover next year. According to Car, the new model, formerly known as BLK, is now called GLA, thanks to the marque's new nomenclature.

Think Denza, as in Tony, but with an e.

We will now know the "baby CLS" – the small four-door "coupe" built on the MFA platform supporting the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (pictured above) and B-Class – as the CLA. It will debut at April's Beijing Motor Show, and it's just one of the five variants that Mercedes has planned for its MFA underpinnings.

Mercedes-Benz has been working on airbag technology for more than 40 years, but now it has other innovations, like Colliision Prevention, that work to keep airbags where everyone wants them: hidden. So Mercedes has made a TV spot for the 2012 B-Class that's also a letter to the airbag, saying somethiing to the effect of "I still love you, but..."

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