Mercedes has begun production of the B-Class Electric Drive at their plant in Rastatt, Germany. On sale in Europe in 2014, UK in 2015.
With the BMW i3 grabbing headlines – and flying out of showrooms – as BMW’s first electric car, Mercedes need to play catch-up with a convincing EV of their own, and that’s the new B-Class Electric Drive – an EV version of the regular B-Class – which has now gone in to production in Germany.
Built alongside regular ICE versions of the B-Class at Mercedes’ Rastatt Plant, the B-Class ED (Electric Drive) looks practically the same as its more conventionally powered siblings – although the front bumper does look a bit different – and has an electric motor good for 177 bhp and 250 lb/ft of torque, can manage a scoot to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds and has a range of up to 124 miles.
The range – at least the quoted range – is a chunk better than the BMW i3’s and on a par with the latest Nissan LEAF, thanks to EV technology provided by Tesla, and the wrapping of an EV drivetrain in a conventional series production car could appeal to more buyers than the ‘statement’ design of the BMW i3.
Sales of the B-Class ED will start in the US, with Germany and other European countries following later in 2014 and RHD models for the UK arriving in 2015.
So far, Mercedes hasn’t revealed pricing for the B-Class ED, but it’s highly unlikely it’ll start at anything less than £35k even after the £5k taxpayer bribe for EVs.