BMW may be getting the lion's share of attention these days when it comes to electric or hybrid cars from Germany, but while the i3 and i8 cut a more distinct profile with their uniquely styling, Mercedes has got challengers of its own. Daimler will gladly sell you an E400 Hybrid if you're so inclined, a Smart Electric Drive if that's all you need, or an SLS AMG Electric Drive if you've got half a million to blow. But now Mercedes-Benz USA is bringing over the B-Class Electric Drive as well, and
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.
Last year, Mercedes-Benz showed off a few European-spec B-Class models with alternative powertrains, particularly the B-Class Electric Drive with a range extending engine and the purely electric B-Class Electric Drive. It is the latter that we got a ride in during a recent trip to Germany and the one that is coming to the US next year – before it goes to Europe – to help crack open the market for premium compact electric cars.
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.