Small All-Electric Mercedes Heading to U.S. Early Next Year

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its forthcoming B-Class electric vehicle at the 2013 New York Auto Show in March. The car is promised for an early-2014 release, when it will represent the first battery-powered Mercedes to hit the market.

The B-Class is a small, all-electric hatchback with a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack offering a healthy driving range of up to 124 miles on a single charge. An electric motor supplying 134-horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque can drive the car up to 93 miles per hour, while accelerating from 0-60 in less than 10 seconds.

Mercedes promised to outfit the car with luxury and technological features to set it apart from the other electric hatchbacks on the market. Those features include active parking assist and a radar-based collision prevention system.

The B-Class Electric Drive will be the smallest Mercedes-Benz available in the United States, where the carmaker has traditionally sold larger luxury sedans and SUVs. In Europe, Mercedes has sold both the quite compact A-Class and B-Class platform—on which the B-Class Electric Drive is built—for the better part of a decade. There is no indication, beyond the all-electric B-Class, that those cars are headed to the U.S.

The B-Class Electric Drive will also be the first Mercedes-branded product to come out of Daimler-Benz’s collaboration with Tesla Motors, which began in 2009 with a much-needed $50 million investment on the part of Daimler. At that time, Tesla was still a very small start-up, measuring its sales in the hundreds rather than thousands. Today, as Tesla reaches new heights thanks to the popularity of the Model S sedan, the B-Class will be the second vehicle to come out of the partnership (with a small limited-run Smart-branded electric car being the first.)

Tesla will supply Mercedes-Benz with the lithium ion battery packs and electric motors for the B-Class, which will be integrated into a Mercedes-designed powertrain. Last week, Daimler CFO Bodo Uebber said his company is looking for new ways to benefit from the deal, which could lead to more Mercedes cars powered by Tesla’s impressive drivetrain.

Pricing will be announced for the B-Class Electric Drive when the car gets closer to release in early 2014.

Article by Brad Berman, appearing courtesy ebay Green Driving.

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