Electric cars are gaining serious momentum, and the number of car makers that start investing in electric vehicle technology is constantly increasing, as they realize that the demand for this type of vehicles is only going to go up in the future. Although Mercedes-Benz entered the electric car market a bit later than its competitors, it has ramped up its efforts recently and hopes that it will be able to compete with the likes of Tesla, BMW, Nissan, GM, or Toyota. That’s why they have developed the B-Class Electric Drive, which will hit the U.S. market in the summer of 2014, while European customers will get it a bit later.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive was unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and the company is confident that it will be a worthy competitor for the i3, BMW’s all-electric car. Mercedes partnered up with Tesla Motors to develop the B-Class Electric Drive, in efforts to take advantage of the know-how and experience that Tesla has when it comes to building electricity-powered cars. Mercedes has chosen to use an electric drivetrain built by Tesla, and put in an existing model, instead of developing a completely new model that will be powered by electricity. Toyota did the same thing for its RAV4 EV.
Tesla’s Model S has proved to be a huge success, with sales growing strong across the globe, and the electric B-Class will use practically the same powertrain that the Model S uses. It will deliver 174 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, and the battery pack is supposed to provide a range of more than 100 miles per one charge, which is more than the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. You will be able to fully recharge it in only 4 hours, using a 240 volt power source. As far as performance is concerned, the B-Class Electric Drive will have a top speed of 100 mph, and will go from 0 to 60 mph in under 8 seconds.
It’s a front-wheel-drive car, just like the CLA-Class, with a single speed transmission, and a feature that allows the driver to change between three different braking regeneration modes, using paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
It uses the platform of the CLA-Class, and shares many similarities with it, both inside and outside. The interior is very comfortable and inviting, with high-quality materials used for all surfaces, and has the same options that are standard for all B-Class vehicles, with the addition of an upgraded instrument cluster, with a display that shows information about energy consumption. This means that it will be equipped with a Collision Prevention Assist system, Blind Spot Monitor, Active Parking Assist, and pre-entry climate control.
There is no information regarding the price of the B-Class Electric Drive, but we can expect it to be somewhere between $40,000 and $45,000. Like almost all other car makers, Mercedes will first offer this electric car in California, as a state with the best infrastructure for such vehicles.
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