Mercedes-Benz has decided to take its turn in the electric vehicle game. It unveiled Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show its brand new all-electric vehicle.
It’s called the B-class Electric Drive – a luxury, compact-hatchback car that will give drivers a 115-mile range, a four hour charge, and a price that is affordable for 2014.
The B-class is already a popular model over in Europe, where the produces a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of the B-class. But this version, the 100 percent all-electric 2014 B-class, will only be introduced here in the U.S., most likely in just a few states as it rolls out.
It will be the first B-class under any category to be sold in the U.S., and it is smaller than the Mercedes that the American driver is used to. Right now, the C-class has been the smallest available model, but soon the CLA-class will follow, and even smaller models are set to arrive sometime in the near future, according to CNNMoney.
When the five-door hatchback does hit dealers next year, it will only be available in the all-electric version.
California-based EV maker Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) has helped develop and will manufacture parts for the new B-class. The company is behind the car’s lithium-ion battery, electric motors, on-board charger, and other electronic components to the vehicle.
Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler AG (ETR: DAI), who also is a 4.7 percent stake holder in Tesla, produces its own EV, the Smart Electric Drive, which will become available to U.S. consumers in May.
The Mercedes’ SLS AMG is also set to hit the showcase soon. It will be similar to the high-performance SLS AMG of old, but instead it will be powered by a 751-horsepower electric motor. It is still undetermined if this will be featured in the U.S. or just in Europe, according to CNNMoney.
Electric Vehicle Features
The body style of the electric B-class will be in typical EV fashion, where the manufacturer uses an existing platform and replaces the drivetrain with an electric motor and battery. It’s going to give the driver 100 kilowatts of power, or about 135 horsepower, and has got a little bit of torque to it. You might reach 100 mph if you keep your fingers crossed. Unfortunately, its 0-60 time is only a shade under 10 seconds, Wired reports.
As for your lithium-ion battery, Mercedes’ claims that you can add an additional 60 miles to your range if you use the “quick change” feature by plugging it into a 240-volt outlet for a couple hours. Other than that, it’ll be a seven hour full-charge time.
The B-class has a lot of the features one might find on a new production luxury model Mercedes and some safety features that prove quite nice. There is a connectivity feature that allows the driver to monitor the battery as well as the charge status of the B-class, which may come in handy when you’re on the verge of meeting that mile 115 marker.
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You can sync these features up with a computer or a smartphone. There is also an interesting safety feature that helps drivers stay in their lane and assists with parking.
An option that will not come standard is the Command Online feature, with navigation and voice controls.
The price for the electric B-class has not been revealed yet, but looking at Daimler’s Smart Electric Drive that was also developed with Tesla, it goes for $25,000, according to Wired; stick that Mercedes logo on the hood of an electric B-class, and you can probably expect to pay between $30,000 and $40,000 – a legitimate bargain if you compare it to some of the other models out there already.
The Raw Story reports:
“While others are still talking about electric cars, we are building them and selling them,” said Joachim Schmidt, executive vice president of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “We are truly committed to emissions-free driving, and providing this in a car that offers all the comfort, quality and safety of a Mercedes-Benz.”
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