Mercedes presents all new, all-electric B-Class


April 1, 2013

Electric B is primarily designed as an inner-city option

Electric B is primarily designed as an inner-city option

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In spite of this year’s collection of distracting concepts at the 2013 New York Auto Show, there were in fact a few real world surprises. One concept that will actually see the light of day is Mercedes Benz’ new B-Class electric drive – the German manufacturer’s latest foray into the green market.

To be launched first in the USA at the beginning of 2014, this new-generation electric is all electric with no hybrid elements in sight. Mercedes boasts the wee B-Class as a “premium luxury” experience, funny given the wee B is still considered a subcompact runabout to many. Based on the traditional B-Class the new electric carries with it the usual Mercedes level of build and quality.

The car should have no trouble making its way about Manhattan with electrics generating over 100 kW (134 hp) of power and 310 Nm (228.5 lb.ft) of torque. Mercedes reports power response similar to a 3.0 liter gas engine. Hardly a Tesla in disguise the B will still get from 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) in just under 10 seconds. Okay so it’s not that quick, but at $4.50/gallon for regular gas I’m sure one would forgive the performance compromise.

Located in the B-Class’s so-called "Energy Space" in the underfloor is the lithium-ion battery providing the car’s energy. Thanks to this configuration the electric retains the same storage and passenger space as the gassy version.

Because no one wants to get too crazy, Mercedes has limited the car’s maximum speed to 100 mph (160 km/h). This restriction is designed to enhance range than limit the drivers need for speed. Dependent on the driver’s habits Mercedes reports a mileage range of roughly 115 miles (200 km). This range is seen as optimal for inner city commuting and puttering about.

According to Mercedes the B-Class electric can be recharged via a household power outlet (240 V/40 A) in less than 2 hours, with enough range for 60 miles (100 km). Forward energies are recouped and restored to the system through energies created during deceleration and braking. These normally unused energies are then converted back into electricity and put back into the car’s power grid.

Stylistically the car is your typical 5 door sport-back. Sporting Benz’ signature grille work and headlight treatment the car is for the most part just another compact alternative. With the charging socket inconspicuously hidden behind the charging flap, the only difference externally is the oversized "electric drive" typography on the back hatch.

But being a Mercedes there is an expectation of finish and amenities. On the technological front the Electric B comes standard with the Audio 20 system, a 147 mm (5.8 in) color screen, a twin tuner, an MP3-capable CD player with USB connectivity. Navigational issues are managed by a Becker® MAP PILOT while the COMAND multimedia system handles the interweb duties. The usual array of safety measures are also present throughout the B-Class electric.

Monitoring power usage/availability is done via a center-mounted display and gauge, located to the right of the speedometer. When power is being used a pointer rises in a clockwise direction from the green to the red area. When the car is being recharged via braking and deceleration the needle drops back below the zero line. A simple yet effective method of providing energy information at a glance.

Remote monitoring and smartphone inputs are also one of the B-Class' tricks. Current range and charge can be monitored by an app while a nav setting showing possible best routes, and charging locations are in place to help reduce travel anxiety.

The new B-Class Electric should be available in the USA early 2014. European markets will see the release shortly thereafter.

Source: Mercedes Benz

About the Author
Angus MacKenzie Born on the cold, barren Canadian plains of Calgary, Alberta, Angus MacKenzie couldn’t decide between marketing, automotives or an entrepreneurial path - so he chose all three. With an education in automotives and marketing, Angus has rebuilt the carburetor on his 1963 Rambler Ambassador twice, gotten a speeding ticket in an F430 once, and driven & photographed everything from Lamborghinis to Maseratis to various German and Asian designs. When not writing, Angus has for the past six years been Editor-in-Chief for elemente, an internationally recognized architecture/design magazine. All articles by Angus MacKenzie

Two and a half to three hours per 60 miles That will get you there...



@ Slowburn

More than enough for 99% of commuting, plus if you charge it during your 8 hour work day presumably you get 115 miles (230 miles round trip).


re; Reason

I use my car for a lot more than going to and from work.



Gencay Demirhan

I wonder what's going on with that 'tin whisker'-anode battery that I saw here a while back. Guy claims it'll be cheaper, last much longer, hold nearly three times as many lithium ions and be commercialized in a year, that was some months ago.


@Slowburn, the range described here is 115 miles, not 60. The author didn't explain that very clearly. He was saying that it takes about 2 hours to get 60 miles of range, but a full charge would take more like 4 hours.

Considering that most people never drive more than 50 miles in a day, this car would be a great commuter car. If you drive long distance a lot, you would be better off with a plugin hybrid.

Paul Scott

re; Paul Scott

The cost benefit annalist shows electric hybrids the inferior option. Spending the money for improved efficiency elsewhere in your life will make a bigger difference environmentally and come out ahead monetarily.


Slowburn, the point is many people either don't or do so so rarely this makes sense especially in a two or more car family ( I'm trying to think of anyone I know who has just one!)


Looks whats the price tag?

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