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Paris show: Benz electrifies the B-Class

Zapped: The Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive will enter production in 2014.

Electric Drive moniker to adorn all production Mercedes EVs – starting with B-Class

18 Sep 2012

MERCEDES-Benz has unveiled an almost production-ready, fully-electric B-Class that it intends to put into mass production from 2014.

To go public at next week’s Paris motor show, the B-Class EV is among the first vehicles from Three Pointed Star to adopt its new ‘Electric Drive’ moniker – the badge Benz says will adopt all its battery-powered electric passenger cars from now on.

The ‘concept’ Electric drive is powered by a 100kW/310Nm motor synced up to a lithium-ion battery pack, and has a claimed driving range of 200km. This means the Benz generates more power and has a longer range than existing pure EVs such as the Nissan Leaf.

The battery – which can be charged from a 240-volt domestic plug or a 400-volt fast-charge terminal – is located inside a designated ‘Energy Space’ within the floor, and is said to have no impact on cargo space or practicality – a key selling point of the regular internal combustion B-Class.

The brand new modular MFA platform that underpins the B-Class – plus the A-Class and a range of forthcoming models like the CLA sedan and GLC SUV – was designed from the get-go to accommodate alternative fuel-sources such as this.

Mercedes pointed out in a release that the B-class was – partly for this reason – an ideal test vehicle for diverse means of propulsion, and the company already displayed a plug-in petrol-electric version called the E-Cell Plus at the Frankfurt show one year ago, also set for production in 2014.

Much like the Chevrolet/Holden Volt and Toyota Prius plug-in, this vehicle combined a smaller electric motor with a 1.0-litre petrol engine, alleviating range anxiety (the E-Cell has a range of up to 600km).

Benz also created hydrogen fuel-cell versions of the previous-generation B-Class, including a limited production run of lease vehicles for Europe and the US.

The Electric Drive will likely be offered in Europe on an extended monthly lease scheme similar to that used by Daimler/Mercedes-owned brand Smart with its production EV.

The B-Class Electric Drive will spearhead a green-focused show stand in Paris for Mercedes, and will sit alongside a production Electric Drive version of its flagship SLS AMG gull-winged super-coupe.

The electric SLS was premiered in concept form at the Detroit motor show in January 2011, with four individual electric motors developing a total of 392kW/880Nm and hustling the extreme machine from zero to 100km/h in around four seconds.

Daimler’s city-car brand Smart will display the electric Forstars crossover concept at Paris, as well as a new version of its Brabus Electric Drive based on the ForTwo.

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