Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



BMW i3 vs Mercedes B-Class Electric (Exclusive)

By Ted Kidd

I was recently mentioned in the editor’s note to an article on CleanTechnica, Mercedes B-Class Electric vs BMW i3. The short point is that, unlike Car & Driver, I much preferred the Mercedes B-Class Electric over the BMW i3.


New Mercedes B Electric — really nice!!

mercedes b electric

bmw i3 backseat

Suicide doors and back seat room for a 6′ 5″ tall guy!

Ok, so it wasn’t just me, it was everybody I was with. Four of us checked out both cars. We went from the BMW, which we loved, to the Mercedes — and laughed…

And laughed…

laughing in BMW i3

LMAO! Debbie cracking us all up with her riff on how much nicer the Mercedes is.

And laughed.

If getting “more attention when it came down to it” is important EV purchase criteria for you, ​definitely ​buy the i3. Then you can spend your savings getting help with that narcissism problem.

When driven back to back, the Mercedes made the i3 appear like my Gem e2.

Glorified golf cart

… which is basically a glorified golf cart.

We really wanted to like the i3. The salesman was awesome. He let us take the car for the afternoon, and the car drove great. And actually, I did like the car, but I feel the need to counterbalance the ​BMW bias of Car & Driver‘s conclusions (BMW a big advertiser? Someone own an i3?).

​​MPGe​ gets 5 points​? When people go from paying 20-50¢ a mile to 2-4¢​ per mile​, I don’t think ​saving ​​an additional ​¼ cent is worth the space on the page, much less 5 extra points​! (Car and Driver’s ​upper group rankings have Mercedes 85, BMW 78 — which I think does better justice to ​how ​these vehicles​ measure up​.)

If you only have 2 people, the BMW shortcomings are small. But when you move to 3, 4, or 5, it immediately becomes burnt toast next to the Mercedes B-Class Electric. The Mercedes ​back seat is LUXURIOUS, even has fold-out trays.

I used Glass to create a video of the BMW experience. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough battery to record the Mercedes test drive.

So, things I didn’t like about the i3. Things that might not be obvious without the benefit of driving the Mercedes immediately after the BMW:

  • Stupid, ugly, inelegant, cumbersome on/off/shifting pod behind the wheel. Deb had a hard time getting it started, and in gear. Take a tip from Tesla: when someone does something really well, imitate. Mercedes controls are the best.
  • No regen paddles.
  • Park bench dash and door materials.
  • Terrible/claustrophobic accommodations for rear passengers.
  • Front seatbelt attached to rear door, further instilling the feeling of being trapped.
  • Huge, ugly, inoperable window in back instead of something smaller that actually opens — FURTHER instilling the feeling of suffocating rear-seat passengers.
  • Weird, pop-up mini iPad displays.
bmw i3 cupholder

Nice backup sensors.

I didn’t get a deep dive into the Mercedes, but I liked:

  • Paddles for regen.
  • An AMAZING interior with memory seats.
  • A range charge option — (It’s a Tesla, remember? Don’t want to charge to 100% unless you absolutely need it.)
  • Awesome rear-seat room and comfort.
  • Nice, normal looking — huge improvement over previous ugly duck look.
  • Great Mercedes/Tesla control stalks — improved for 2015!
  • Smooth-adjusting cruise (better than Tesla).
  • Great backup camera.
  • RANGE mode — the battery pack charges to 80%, range mode allows a periodic full charge, meaning this car CAN go 100–120 miles when you need it to.
  • Etc….

I didn’t like the iPad display on the Mercedes either. Or that it didn’t have keyless go. And I couldn’t get the cruise control radar to work.

mercedes b-class electric

New Mercedes B Electric — really nice backup camera feature!! (Hey Tesla, add these lines!?)

And I did like the ​more powerful ​regen in the BMW. I found the seats of both equally comfortable. The BMW is more “sprightly” (but it’s much less car). BMW had AWESOME modular cup holders, and keyless go. Ultimately I don’t like the weird for weirdness sake look​,​ or ​the poor design of that back door. The front seat needs a built-in seatbelt (like my ‘98 Dodge had) and the rear window needs ​be smaller and it needs ​to operate.

Really, I liked both cars, possibly more than the Car & Driver folks did. But the Mercedes is so much nicer and more useful that I think Somebody didn’t do their readers justice with their BMW-biased commentary.

About the Author: Ted Kidd is a Rochester NY Electric Vehicle fanatic, Energy Activist, and Energy Efficiency expert in the residential and small business market.

All images copyrighted by Ted Kidd.

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.


You May Also Like


The Tesla Model Y was the 2nd best selling automobile in the overall German auto market in February (an "off-peak month" for Tesla).


Lynk & Co is the #1 best selling car in the overall Dutch auto market.


Motoring journalist Justus Visagie has been doing road trips in electric vehicles in South Africa to show that fully electric cars can easily cover...


The UK saw plugin electric vehicles take 22.9% share of the auto market in February 2023, down from 25.6% year on year. Overall auto...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.