It's finally time to plug in the first production Mercedes-Benz-branded electric vehicle in the US. The Daimler division, which also sells a few of its battery-electric Smart ForTwo vehicles here in the states, has officially launched sales of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED. Even better, the US will be the first market in the world to give the general public access to the new plug-in.
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 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.
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.
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.
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..."
Mercedes-Benz has its heart set on boosting its U.S. sales by more than 20 percent, and Automotive News reports that mission may include plans for an extended range hybrid. Joachim Schmidt, head of global sales for Mercedes-Benz, said a special, U.S.-only B-Class plug-in hybrid with a range-extending electric motor may be headed to the States soon.
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."
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.
If you believe the rumors dusting up from L'Automobile Magazine, Nissan may be borrowing more than a small engine from Daimler. The French site is reporting that the two companies could be looking into sharing an entire platform in order to create a new Infiniti-badged CUV. If our Google translator is to be believed, the French site claims that Infiniti will be getting its paws on the next Mercedes-Benz A/B Class in order to build a new DX model destined to slot below the current EX.