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
Front-drive hatchbacks are the name of the game these days in the German automotive industry. In recent years BMW has gotten into the game with the 2 Series Active Tourer, while Audi has stepped up its game with the A1 and Mercedes has been keen to play, too. The Silver Arrow has rolled out the new A-Class and its sedan sister, the CLA, as well as the GLA crossover, and you can bet there'll be more to come. But Benz doesn't want you to forget about the B-Class, so it's introducing an updated ver
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.
Mercedes-Benz is continuing to see heavy demand for its compact models, like the CLA-Class, around the world, and Daimler has responded by adding a third shift at its Kecskemét, Hungary, factory starting in May. The plant, which builds the B-Class and CLA-Class, was already running two shifts and some Saturdays to keep up with their popularity, according to Bloomberg.
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.
That didn't take long. Shortly after a French administrative court gave the French government a ten-day window to reconsider its ban on registrations of Mercedes-Benz A-, B- and CLA-Class cars using the prohibited R134a refrigerant, the government cited an EU directive to formalize banning the sale of the cars. The country's environmental ministry said that registrations "will remain forbidden in France as long as the company does not to conform to European regulations," meaning so long as they
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.
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.
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..."
In contrast to the futuristic, otherworldly details of the F-125!, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class makes a here-and-now statement about the present. The sheetmetal language that Benz has been rolling out for years finally makes its debut at the B-Class party, in hopes of proving that a stubby hatch doesn't need to look exactly like a stubby hatch. Mercedes also claims the aerodynamics "set a new benchmark in the segment."
Are you ready for an onslaught of compact cars from the German duo of BMW and Mercedes-Benz? Hopefully, yes, since no fewer than six new compacts from the German pair are headed our way by the end of 2012. BMW will introduce a front-wheel-drive family of cars from its UKL segment (a German abbreviation for lower-compact class vehicles). The vehicles will initially be offered with four-cylinder engines and reports suggests that at least three body variations will be headed this way.
The product pipeline for Mercedes-Benz is a Horn of Plenty over the next three years, with at least seven new models landing on American shores on top of refreshed and new-generation offerings. We've seen the new CL, CLS, S-Class and R-Class, and spy shots of the coming SLK, SL, SLS Convertible, C-Class Coupe.
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