Published on April 23rd, 2014 | by James Ayre


1st Mercedes B-Class Electric Drives’ Now Coming Off The Production Line — US Launch Only Months Off

April 23rd, 2014 by  

The highly anticipated Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is nearly here — the impressive battery-powered vehicle is set to debut in the US in only a few more months.

The first units have just begun to roll off the production line in Rastatt, Germany. Not a long wait now (unless you’re impatient, like me, that is). 🙂

Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

For those wondering what the big deal is — the B-Class Electric Drive has a lot of buzz behind it for good reason. The wait is, arguably, quite worth it. The qualities that are responsible for the model’s buzz include: a greater all-electric range than the Nissan Leaf or BMW i3; a lower price than the Tesla Model S; and the classy looks that Mercedes is known for. Any surprise that there’s a lot of interest?

Autoblog Green provides some more details on the model:

Featuring drivetrain parts from Tesla Motors, the luxury compact hits all the performance parameters mentioned during its debut at last year’s New York Auto Show. For a refresher, that’s a single-charge range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) along with a 0-to-100 kilometer-per-hour (62 mile-per-hour) sprint in a respectable 7.9 seconds. These achievements comes courtesy of a 28-kWh lithium battery located in the floor of the passenger compartment and a 132-kW (177-horsepower) motor powering the front wheels. Torque specs for the unit seemed to have increased somewhat and are now given as 340 Newton meters (250.77 pound-feet). It boasts an 11-kW charger and can add as much as 62 miles of range to a deleted battery in an hour and a half. Sadly, it is not Supercharger compatible.

The B-Class Electric Drive, which is built on the same production line as the gasoline-powered version, is going to go on sale in Europe around the end of the year and will also come in a right-hand drive version for other markets in 2015. Although pricing has not yet been announced, Mercedes execs expect it to be quite competitive with the BMW i3.

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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Benjamin Nead

    Well, I’m glad that Mecedes is making this commitment. BMW i3s are just now getting here and VW might possibly be following on. Fingers crossed for the Germans to join the Japanese to sell pure EVs on these shores.

    To clarify what I think Ronald is asking . . .

    Household electricity here in the US is 120 volt alternating current at 60 cycles. Many larger consumer devices (clothes dryers, etc.) run at double that voltage, or 240V. All mainstream (street legal above 35mph) electric vehicles are equipped with a special J1772 plug, which accepts 240V at varying amperage rates . . .

    All those same EVs are sold with a converter box with a J1772 at one end and a standard 3-prong (grounded) household 120V plug at the other . . .

    So, charging can be done on either the 120V carport outlet found outside just about any American house, or via a dealer installed 240V EVSE wired into the house’s breaker box.

    It gets more complex when it comes to high speed or quick (440V DC) charging. The Japanese standard is called CHAdeMO and has a plug that is completely separate from the J1772. The two lone pure EVs generally available in the US at competitive prices – the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV – are CHEdeMO equipped . . .

    The high speed EV charging standard embraced by US and European manufacturers is called SAE-CSS. It is also referred to as “Combo,” since the
    plug combines a 240V AC J1772 plug with an additional set of terminals for the high speed DC aspect of things . . .

    The dilemma, as it stands, is that there is already a fair number of high speed chargers in the US that are CHAdeMO-only. But most newer QC installations are being wired with both CHAdeMO and CCS plugs. We’re just waiting for the CCS-equipped cars to show up. The Germans will be first (BMW, specifically) and the scared-to-be-first-in-EVs established American manufactures hopefully following along soon after.

    Tesla, of course, has their own proprietary connector for their Model S . . .

    If I’m not mistaken, Tesla’s plug is not EU complaint, so they use the CHAdeMO plug for cars sold in Europe.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Thanks for that extensive reply, Benjamin. We can plug in Nissan Leafs to a normal electric socket here in Australia but they charge at the same rate as if they were plugged into a Japanese socket. If we want faster charging we have to install a special plug in our garage which is a bit of a hassel. So if European electric cars are made to take European current, a lot of us could skip installing special charge points and just use a normal electric socket, as with our European style current that’s enough to completely charge a car with a Leaf sized battery pack overnight. And since there are very few electric car charging stations in Australia at the moment, being able to charge quickly from a normal socket is more important here than in many other places.

  • Lester

    I’m a bit confused…. This car is coming off the production line, but pricing still has not been announced? Is it a lease-only deal, like the RAV4-EV? Or will they just be auctioned off, so the buyer sets the price based on demand?

    • I think it’s coming to 6 or so states first, can be bought or leased. 40-50k….

  • Ronald Brakels

    The vehicle’s going to be sold in both the US and Europe, so the first thing an Australian is going to ask, or at least a weird Australian, is will it be optimised to charge from European or US current or will there be two different versions? This is important. Down under we’re waiting for a production model that can accept our juice, our precious juice, which is so much more powerful than Japanese or American juice it has to be felt to be believed.

    WARNING: Do not feel Australian current. It will kill you.

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