Electric Vehicle choices keep getting more compelling, and Mercedes-Benz is doing its part by unveiling the upcoming B-Class Electric Drive. The B-Class is among the smaller of MB's cars (one step up from the A-Class), fitting squarely in the MPV category. It's basically a mini-minivan. MPVs are small but big enough to be practical, and they tend to be economical. The fully electric powertrain in this 2014 model that just rolled onto the stage here at the New York International Auto Show should go a long way in that regard. Follow us after the break for more details and some photos.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive eyes-on
The B-Class launched in 2011 and, from the beginning, Mercedes-Benz envisioned alternative powertrains, creating space in the floor for things like battery packs. The 28kWh unit here slots in beneath the front and rear seats, where it won't compromise storage space in the back, while the electric motor is positioned under the hood, filling the gap created by excising the internal combustion unit.
The 135HP motor should provide a reasonable amount of oomph, and the nature of the electric powertrain of course means instant throttle response. But, with a 0 - 60 speed of somewhere approaching 10 seconds it won't be a monster on the quarter-mile. More important is the range, which is estimated to clock in at 115 miles. That's more than many current EVs, like the Leaf and Focus Electric -- and it certainly won't challenge the Tesla Model S -- but certainly not enough for this to be the sole vehicle for most families.
While MB isn't giving a cost at this point (product manager Heiko Schmidt said that it would be "priced competitively"), the company has committed to launching it in the US first, sometime in the spring of 2014. Want to be at the head of the line? No need to camp out: you can place your order this fall.
Stuttgart/New York – A new-generation electric car is celebrating its world premiere at the 2013 New York International Auto Show: the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive makes its debut with a dynamic design, high-quality interior and a high-torque electric motor for local emission-free driving. This makes for lively and effortless driving pleasure over a range of around 115 miles (200 km). In addition, the
B-Class Electric Drive is digitally networked. Thanks to its connected services, it can be conveniently checked and configured via the internet. As a true Mercedes it also sets high standards in terms of comfort, quality and safety. Bearing the Mercedes star as an unmistakable trademark, the B-Class Electric Drive will be launched first in the USA at the beginning of 2014, where it will be the first luxury battery electric car from Mercedes-Benz in the market.
The new B-Class Electric Drive surprises with a particularly dynamic driving experience, delivering decidedly powerful acceleration while gliding along the road practically silently. The driver and passengers in this new electric Mercedes will enjoy the familiar comfort of a well designed, high-quality interior offering a generous amount of space. The B-Class Electric Drive thus combines dynamism and driving pleasure with zero local emissions – in short, electric driving at the premium level.
According to Dr. Joachim Schmidt, member of the Mercedes-Benz Cars Board of Management responsible for Sales and Marketing: "The B-Class Electric Drive meets the wishes of many customers for emission-free driving without foregoing the hallmark attributes of a Mercedes-Benz, namely safety, comfort and, of course, not to forget exhilarating driving pleasure."
Powerful and lively drive system
The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is based on the conventionally powered B-Class, which has become a bestseller in many countries since its market debut in 2011. As a particularly versatile vehicle concept, the B-Class also allows environmentally friendly motoring at the Mercedes level thanks to its innovative electric drive. In the USA, the vehicle is being introduced onto the market exclusively as the electric variant.
Quiet and local emission-free drive power is provided by an electric motor generating more than 100 kW. Typically for an electric drive, the maximum torque of 310 Nm is available right from the first tap on the accelerator pedal – this roughly corresponds to the torque delivery of a modern petrol engine with a displacement of 3.0 litres. This results in decidedly powerful acceleration from a standing start. For the standard sprint from 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h), the electric-powered B-Class requires considerably less than ten seconds. This guarantees superior driving performance and highly dynamic, exhilarating driving pleasure in any situation.
A powerful lithium-ion battery feeds energy to the electric drive and is accommodated in the so-called "Energy Space" in the vehicle's underfloor – a solution which is both space-saving and safe. Thanks to this intelligent packaging, the five-seater retains the familiar, generous interior space and luggage space of the B-Class.
Emission-free even over longer distances
The maximum speed is electronically limited to 100 mph (160 km/h) in the interests of operating range. Depending on the respective driving cycle, the range is around 115 miles (200 km). This means that in addition to emission-free driving in urban traffic and on short-range trips, longer journeys can also be undertaken without any problems – such as the distances covered on a daily basis by commuters going to work, for example. The B-Class Electric Drive can be recharged at any standard household power socket. In the USA, the charging time for a range of about 60 miles (100 km) is less than 2 hours at 240 V/40 A.
While the car is on the move, the electric drive itself contributes to a favourable energy balance through recuperation, by converting kinetic energy into electric current in deceleration mode and during braking and feeding this energy into the battery.
Dynamic Mercedes-Benz design
Refined sportiness together with aesthetic visual appeal – the B-Class Electric Drive is another example of the self-assured and dynamic Mercedes design, with powerful, tense lines and finely styled details. Both the front and rear set the tone for the vehicle's width, which comes courtesy of the wide, prominent grille and headlamps extending into the vehicle sides, as well as the wide rear window, two-piece rear lamp cluster and the large tailgate with low boot sill. The side sill panels and striking bumpers with bar-shaped LED daytime driving lights exude dynamism. The charging socket is inconspicuously installed behind the charging flap.
Sporty interior with premium details
The interior underscores the high comfort standards of Mercedes-Benz. High-quality materials and finely structured surfaces, premium details, and precise finishing all highlight the fact that electric driving is defined at a very high level according to the philosophy of Mercedes-Benz.
The three large, round air vents in the centre with their distinctively designed cross-form nozzles are sporty features that contribute to the emotional design idiom of the interior. Above the air vents is the display screen for the telematics system which appears to be free-floating – a modern, eye-catching feature of the cockpit.
When it comes to information and communication systems, the electric B-Class offers levels of convenience and functionality that were previously reserved for higher classes of vehicles. Standard onboard features include the Audio 20 with a 14.7 cm colour screen, a twin tuner, an MP3-capable CD player and a USB connection. Navigation is provided for by the Becker® MAP PILOT. The multimedia system COMAND Online with internet access, navigation and LINGUATRONIC voice control is also available as an optional extra.
Functions specific to electric vehicles have been added to the instrumentation of the B-Class Electric Drive. The power display in the dial instrument on the right is immediately obvious. When power is being consumed, its pointer rises in a clockwise direction from the green to the red area, and drops back below the zero line when the vehicle is feeding recuperative energy back into the battery.
Fully networked: connected services
Its cutting-edge technology ensures that the B-Class Electric Drive is not only sustainable (because it offers local emission-free driving) and agile (because of its high torque and acceleration), but also fully networked. Remote checking and remote configuration of the vehicle are conveniently possible via the Vehicle Homepage, for example. The driver can easily access his vehicle via the internet, using a PC or smartphone. In this way, it is possible to check the current charge status of the lithium-ion battery or to verify the vehicle's current range on a map. The planned route can also be displayed, immediately showing where the vehicle can be recharged along the way, if necessary. The range of connected services is rounded off with a pre-entry climate control option offering individually timed pre-heating or cooling. This pre-entry climate control system makes the B-Class Electric Drive unique in its segment.
Big on safety
Mercedes-Benz applies its familiar, high safety standards to the B-Class Electric Drive. Thanks to the innovative "Energy Space", the battery is safely accommodated in the underfloor of the vehicle for crash protection. In addition, Mercedes-Benz has already equipped this innovative electric car with the radar-based collision warning system COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST with adaptive Brake Assist as standard. This assistance system gives the driver a visual and acoustic warning of recognized obstacles, prepares him for braking action and assists him with the braking process as the situation requires. In this way it significantly reduces the danger of a rear-end collision. Additional, more up-to-date driver assistance systems are also available – among them Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Active Parking Assist.
Electric motoring made by Mercedes-Benz
Local emission-free electric vehicles such as the new B-Class Electric Drive are a major part of the Mercedes-Benz strategy for sustainable mobility. The Stuttgart-based premium manufacturer is reasserting its claim to leadership in this sector with electric vehicles which are fully suitable for everyday use. These include the A-Class E-CELL, the B-Class F-CELL, the Vito E-CELL van, and the SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive. The smart fortwo electric drive - of which well over 1000 units have been produced and delivered since the middle of last year - has enjoyed an extremely positive response from our customers, too. The new B-Class Electric Drive will be available initially in the USA from the beginning of 2014, and will be launched in European markets subsequently.