Posted 05-8-2013 in Cars by Christopher
The first battery electric production car from Mercedes for a North American audience seems to be positioned to compete with BMW's upcoming i3; an upscale four door hatchback that emphasizes comfort and safety with a premium brand.
Sporting a neon-blue paint job and prominent ED Electric Drive lettering on the bottom of the front door panels, Mercedes appears aware that many EV early adopters are enthusiasts if not evangelists, and MB astutely uses the distinctive presentation to make the point that this is no ordinary Mercedes.
In an earlier release, Daimler indicated that the B-Class would use the Tesla-developed electric motor, battery pack and power control circuitry. Among the specifications released at the NY show, Mercedes revealed that the car would feature a 134 hp motor capable of 228 pound-feet of torque. The car has a top speed electrically limited to 100 mph.
The B-Class ED appears to up the ante on range vs the Ford Focus EV and Nissan Leaf. The 28 kWh battery spec is +5, +4 over the others' 23 and 24 kWh energy storage units. Mercedes estimates range at 115 miles, although real-world driving will probably be closer to 90 vs the Focus' typical performance of 70 and the 2013 Leaf's 80. (Nissan achieved an increase of about 10 miles over the 2012 model with updated hardware and software). In any case, an extra 12-14% will be a welcome improvement to the range of EVs priced below $50,000.
The car will feature the latest high-tech options like a collision-warning system with adaptive brake assist and active park assist, which will parallel park the car automatically. Other options include blind-spot assist and lane-keeping assist.
The dashboard display screen looks like a 5.8-inch touch screen tablet attached to the dash, which controlls the audio and navigation systems.The optional COMAND Online system allows owners to check battery and charge status remotely using a computer or smartphone. As with other EVs in its price range, you can pre-heat or cool the interior based on a timer or remote control.
Mercedes initially revealed its production intent B-Class Electric Drive at the 2013 New York Auto Show. The Mercedes Benz Electric Drive is scheduled to go on sale in the US in early 2014, about the same time the BMW i3 hits the streets.