The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive offers great driving dynamics and a comfortable, upscale interior, but it's a pain in the butt to charge, and driving range leaves a lot to be desired.
Mercedes B Class Electric Drive
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.