Mercedes preps B-class electric drive set for 2014

The push by Mercedes-Benz into having more green car options available in its consumer fleet upped by one this week as the German automaker unveiled at the 2013 New York Auto Show an all-electric car for its B-Class compact luxury line.

Dubbed the B-Class Electric Drive, the vehicle first surfaced as a concept at last year’s Paris Auto Show. Another green vehicle currently in this line up as well is the hydrogen fuel cell powered B-Class F-Cell.

The Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive, according to parent company Daimler, offers a driving range of around 115 miles. The car is powered by an electric motor generating more than 100 kW and offering a maximum torque of 310 Nm. Capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in less than ten seconds, the maximum speed is electronically limited to 100 mph in the interests of operating range.

A lithium-ion battery powering the motor is stored in the vehicle’s underfloor, allowing the five-seater to have room for both passengers and cargo. It can be recharged at any standard household power socket, and the charging time for a range of about 60 miles is less than 2 hours at 240 V/40 A. Also on board is recuperation, which converts kinetic energy into electric current in deceleration mode and during braking, feeding this energy into the battery.

On the interior the vehicle is loaded down with luxury offerings. Standard onboard features include a high end audio system tied to a color display, a twin tuner, an MP3-capable CD player and a USB connection. Navigation is available, as is Internet access and voice control. Also added are functions specific to electric vehicles in the instrumentation of the B-Class Electric Drive. These include a power display.

Remote checking and remote configuration of the vehicle are available as convenience features. The driver can access his vehicle via the Internet, using a PC or smartphone. Options here include the ability 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, showing where the vehicle can be recharged along the way, if necessary. Also include is a pre-entry climate control option offering individually timed pre-heating or cooling.

The B-Class Electric Drive will be available in the early part of next year. Pricing was not disclosed.

* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling