With Tesla Inside, 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Zips From 0 to 62 MPH in 7.9 Seconds; Puts BMW i3 On the Lookout

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 54

2014 B-Class Electric Drive - With Tesla Inside

2014 B-Class Electric Drive – With Tesla Inside

Previously, Mercedes-Benz had stated that the upcoming 2014 B-Class Electric Drive would get from 0 to 62 mph in under 10 seconds.  Well, there’s a lot of area under 10 seconds, which left us wondering whether the B-Class would be in the zippy league of the BMW i3 or the less-than-quick area of the majority of the rest of the plug-in pack.

Tesla Recognized Over $4 Million In Revenue From the Upcoming Mercedes B-Class Project

Tesla Recognized Over $4 Million In Revenue From the Upcoming Mercedes B-Class Project

At a confirmed 7.9 from 0 to 62 mph, the B-Class Electric Drive will indeed give the BMW i3 a run for its money.  The i3 may be quicker (0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds in pure electric form), but the B-Class Electric Drive has several advantages.

For starters, the B-Class seats 5, whereas the i3 only holds 4.

The B-Class has vastly more cargo space, too.

Then there’s this “We have Tesla inside” comment made by Mercedes-Benz board member Thomas Weber.b-class-interior-2

Tesla is well known for its ability to produce exceptional electric powertrains, which have been in production for some time now.  M-B is playing up the fact that Tesla = know-how, luxury and tried-and-true.  BMW cannot yet say this of its electric hardware found in the i3.

Weber further says that the 2014 B-Class Electric Drive will beat the competition in all “essential criteria” and that it’ll put the competition on the lookout.

Range of the B-Class Electric Drive will likely be slightly above that of the pure electric i3.  Mercedes-Benz claims that the 28-kWh pack in the B-Class is good for up to 200 km (125 miles), but we think it’ll be rated by the EPA at ~ 100 miles, compared to the i3’s ~90ish miles.  A wash really, but if the B-Class comes out on top, then you can bet M-B will focus on marketing it like that.

All we need to know now if what the price of the B-Class Electric Drive will be.  That’ll be the decision for most who are choosing between the i3 and the B-Class.

The B-Class Electric Drive will launch first in the US in Spring 2014 (roll-out over the summer regionally), which means that its US launch will be almost at exactly the same time as the i3 (second quarter 2014).

Source: Automobilwoche

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54 responses to "With Tesla Inside, 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Zips From 0 to 62 MPH in 7.9 Seconds; Puts BMW i3 On the Lookout"

  1. Aaron says:

    Mercedes marketing this car’s EV range over the i3’s EV range would be a mistake. BMW would just turn around and mention the lack of range extender option.

    If choosing between the B-class and the i3, I would take the B-class hands down. Although a hatchback Mercedes looks a little strange to my eyes, the i3 looks a LOT strange to my eyes. The fact that it holds 5 people and has a Tesla powertrain is just gravy.

    1. TSLA says:

      no one wants a stupid gas extender pure electric

      1. MTN Ranger says:

        Speak for yourself. Until AER reaches 200 miles or more, a range extender definitely has it’s place.

        1. GrumpyCat says:

          I agree, pure electric range has to be 200+ miles before things get interesting. Far too often I drive 150 miles in one day without opportunity or time to beg a charge off someone. All the while passing dozens of gas stations. Plus you have to account for wear. When a 200 mile range wears down to 100 miles you are still ahead of those who started with 100 mile range.

          Am not happy the i3’s REX is not a user-installable quick-connect option. I’d like to leave it at home in mothballs when not in use. I’d like a bay in the car where 3rd parties might build their own REX, or even an extended/swappable battery pack.

          I like the way the B-class looks. Like it better than the i3. At least in pictures. Sometimes cars look a lot different in person.

      2. If nobody wants one them then nobody will order it when they buy i3’s. I believe your wrong though and the range extender option will be ordered on over 70% of the i3’s sold here in the US, initially at least.

      3. Brian says:

        Tell that to the >3000 new Volt owners in the last month alone. Until AER is at least 150 miles (in all conditions) AND quick-charging is ubiquitous (requires no planning when making your trip), range extenders are a great option for many.

      4. Anton Wahlman says:

        No one? Want to place a bet on that one? You’re saying that 0% of the people buying an i3 will do so with a range extender? Good luck on that bet! NOT. I think it will be a lot closer to 100% than 0%.

      5. Priusmaniac says:

        Even Elon Musk admitted, in an interview aboard the Tesla roadster, that having a Falcon 9 running on fuel instead of electricity was kind of strange but that we should not be to strict to that. He also added that eventually the fuel of the future could be renewable and made from sunlight water and carbon dioxide.

        A range extender in an EV is a pragmatic way to make it available faster and at a lower cost and in the long run the fuel will be renewable like electricity anyway.

        The only mistake in the i3 is the odd shape and too small size and using a low tech generator instead of a super compact shoebox sized Flex-Fuel Wankel generator with a decent 10 gallon tank.

        1. GrumpyCat says:

          The i3 REX’s gas tank is limited to keep the REX range under the EV range so as to quality as a 100% EV in California.

          1. Priusmaniac says:

            A very unfortunate side effect of homo legislatus standing above homo technologicus and not thinking about the consequences of ill made legislation.
            In the same time BMW could have been so smart as to provide a 10 gallon tank and put an 8 gallon piece of foam in california tanks. That would have been a local problem fix with a global solution instead of a global problem for a local fix.

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      This car needs at least 40kWh and a 0-60 in the 6s range, with a top speed of at least 100mph. It should be lighter than the RAV4EV and not cost a whole lot different.

  2. TSLA says:

    why couldnt it have been a nice sedan instead of the odd looking european van thing

  3. James says:

    Why is Mercedes wasting their time/money on a 28kW battery? That’s maybe, just maybe 90 miles on 100% charge, but nowhere near 125, unless piloted by a very accomplished hypermiler. 40kW should have been the minimum for a premium car.

    1. Josh says:

      I agree. Mercedes could have created their own niche (like i3 w/ the optional extender), by going with a 35 – 40 kWh pack size. It would have allowed them to clearly differentiate between the “100 mile” EVs and the Model S. It will likely be in between the two in price as well. If they added $5k to their eventual price, it would cover the added pack size.

      Many people that can’t stretch the budget for a Model S, but need a real world 100 mile range (all conditions, and after 5 years degradation), would find this as their perfect option (I don’t count RAV4 because of the limited availability).

      1. Rob says:

        I agree with both of you. 40kWh would have really been a game changer. I for one would look at this Benz if it had a battery pack of that size as that would be enough for a weekend trip to the cottage. I lost interest in this car as soon as I found out the battery pack is 28kWh, effectively the same as the Leaf by the time you account for the additional weight and aerodynamic drag… Also, as a premium vehicle manufacturer, Mercedes may have been able to have charged for a 40kWh pack and still made money. There is space for a car that offers more than the 90 miles or so of a Leaf, Focus EV, Fiat EV, etc., but which doesn’t cost as much as the top of the line Tesla with its 85kWh pack.

        I want to see a car with a 40kWh pack, a real trunk and room for 5 people OR a 20kWh pack, a 150hp electric motor, a real trunk and room for 5 people; so far no manufacturer produces such a car and I think I’m not the only one interested. So far the Volt and i3 come closest, but both lack cargo space, the Volt’s battery is a bit small and the i3 range extender’s gas tank is 20 litres smaller than what I’d like to see.

        1. Unplugged says:

          As even Tesla has shown, no one makes money on an EV. At least not yet.

    2. Nelson says:

      I agree 100% 40-48kWh should be the pack of choice for a sub $60K EV.
      I suspect Tesla dropped their low end because they realized it would eat into the profits of their highend Model S, not because of the stated low demand.

      NPNS!
      Volt#671

    3. Spec says:

      Batteries are expensive! These car companies are understandably reluctant to reduce sales of profitable ICE cars and replace them with thin or negative margin EVs.

      1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        They need to ask Apple and Sony about their differing ideas on product cannibalization. One was smart enough to realize that they needed to cannibalize themselves before someone else did, the other was not.

      2. Unplugged says:

        The real problem isn’t so much the manufacturers, but it is the anachronistic dealership system. Many dealers make their profit on the service side of the shop. This means that it isn’t in the dealer’s interest to sell one EV, let alone a hundred.

        Until the dealers have a way to make money outside of the service department, EVs will always be a niche product for a gas-addicted manufacturer.

    4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      You may not have noticed this, but right now no manufacturer has created a compact with a 40kWh battery. So, maybe, just maybe it doesn’t have a 40kWh battery because it’s hard to fit one and keep the car practical.

      40kWh, even at Tesla prices would add about $5k to the price and the utility would be severely hampered. Besides, simple observation of the markets for the Tesla Model S and RAV4 should tell people that a 40kWh battery simply isn’t in demand: it adds to the cost, but doesn’t (currently) allow fast enough charging to keep the drive:charge ratio high enough to allow early-pragmatists to use it for long-distance travel.

      5 seater, 100 miles, 0-60 under 8s. I’ll defer judgment.

    5. Rob says:

      40-48 kWh would not work with B class – the car is too small and too cheap. But C class would be perfect.

  4. Josh says:

    Any word if they will add DCQC as on option on this?

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Doesn’t look like it, at least not yet…all I have seen thus far is a touting of a ‘quick’ charge of “60 miles of range in two hours”, but that is still via traditional 240 (40A) L2

      1. Josh says:

        Thanks Jay. Looks like this will probably be off this list then.

  5. Chris says:

    @James A larger battery does not necessarily mean more range, these days weight is the key factor. A lighter chassis means a smaller battery can be used for similar range. I’m betting the B-Class is heavy being a conversion, the BMW ActiveE is 4,000lbs and to get 100 miles it needs a 32kW pack and yes you need to be a light foot. The i3 uses 22kW to get close to 100 range and its well under 3,000lbs…keep in mind that 125 miles is most likely Euro spec, so in the US spec it might be 100 miles or less.

  6. Jeff says:

    Is this going to be another compliance vehicle only for California?

    I’d likely have bought a RAV4 EV by now, except I live in Texas, and Toyota is being openly hostile toward folks who have purchased RAV4 EV’s and taken them across state lines. They won’t service them. I hope MB will do better.

    1. alainl007 says:

      Hello,
      RAV4 EV – With Tesla Inside can use the superchargers?
      Regards

      1. Jeff says:

        The RAV4 EV is not able to use superchargers or other (CHADEMO, SAE) DC quick chargers.

  7. alainl007 says:

    Hello,

    B-Class Electric Drive – With Tesla Inside can use the superchargers?

    Regards

    1. Jay Cole says:

      There was actually a rumor to this effect at one time…but alas, it remains just that. Would mess up Tesla’s business model one would think.

    2. Josh says:

      Jay commented above, so far, the B-Class will have no DC quick charge capability of any kind. The only vehicle that can use the Tesla SuperChargers is the Model S right now. All future Tesla cars will be able to use the SuperChargers (at least as optional equipment), but no Tesla partners have decided to use it on their vehicles.

  8. I had a chance to see one of these and talk to the engineers. No DC quick charge, but it will charge L2 at 40amps so It can take 9.6kW, like a standard Model S. If you have the correct supply, it will charge in 3 1/2 hours.

    1. So, exactly like a Rav4 EV. Sad.

      1. Spec says:

        Yeah, this does sound like the same powertrain from the RAV4 but in the Mercedes body. Is that all it is?

        1. Same drivetrain in the Rav4 and the Model S… Except this Mercedes has a really small battery.

    2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

      Bummer, they should have maxed out the L2 amperage if they weren’t going to offer quick charging of one form or another. My own L2 is 60A.

  9. Guys, you have to use “apples to apples” when comparing EV range.

    All LEAFs will drive about 80-ish miles of REAL WORLD range when at 62mph (100km) ground speed on a level, no wind, hard surface roadway with no cabin climate control and a new condition battery at 70F/20C or above battery temperature.

    Yet, here are the LEAF official government rated range worldwide:

    124 miles = 200km Japan “EPA” rating for 2011-2012
    142 miles = 228km Japan “EPA” for 2013

    109 miles = 175km UK / Euro 2011-2013

    73 miles = USA 2011-2012
    75 miles = USA 2013-2014, with 66 miles for 80% and 84 miles for 100%

    Nissan has been throwing out numbers like a bingo parlor for some time; with the impending release of the 2013 last year, they were suggesting to the press that a 2013 LEAF might go 250km (155 miles). Of course, the press just lap that up, as do EV advocates and EV consumers sometimes!

    So, my point is to not let your hopes get in from of reality. The battery in the B Class appears to be 17% bigger than a LEAF, and I’ll just guess that the overall weight, aerodynamics and drivetrain efficiencies are similar. That means that 84 EPA miles on the LEAF multiplied by 17% puts it close to 98 miles.

    Obviously, the BMW i3 is much, much lighter than either the LEAF or the B Class, with a corresponding smaller battery.

    1. Josh says:

      I agree with Tony and also add that the i3 has less frontal area than a LEAF or B Class, which means less aerodynamic drag. Cd is a way of comparing the aerodynamic quality of shapes regardless of size. CdA is the Cd times the frontal area, which is a more telling metric. I feel like this is something often misunderstood.

      Anyway, the total drag force (using CdA and velocity) has the largest effect on highway range (speeds over 55 mph). The weight of the vehicle has little to no effect on highway range across level ground. Other factors include rolling resistance, drivetrain efficiency, and aux power usage. Weight does play a major factor in range for start/stop city driving, but that is often not the most demanding range case.

      1. George B says:

        Unfortunately, the i3 does not have less frontal area than a LEAF. Here are is the data straight from the manufacturer:

        LEAF
        —————-
        cd = 0.29
        cdA = 0.65

        i3
        —————-
        cd = 0.29
        cdA = 0.69

        i3 REx
        —————-
        cd = 0.30
        cdA = 0.71

        1. Josh says:

          Wow, I am shocked. Sorry for making that assumption.

          I assumed the narrow width (4 seater) was a move to keep the CdA down.

          1. The i3 is actually just about the same width as a LEAF, in fact it’s 0.2″ wider.

            1. Josh says:

              I was under the impression it was iMiev size. So what happened with the seating. They have no problem squeezing 5 into a 3 series (no headroom), why omit the 5th seat in this?

    2. Agree, what we need is way to make apples to apples comparisons and not an obscure numbers from government sponsored drive-cycle tests.

      The most useful comparison is “energy use per hour” of vehicle driven at constant speed under controlled conditions. @Tony has made a remarkable effort documenting “energy use” and range of LEAF at 100 km/h. Adding a few more standard speed points woud create a “standard efficiency curve” that could be easily compared. “Range” can be determined for any speed from the curve. Furhther, known “adjustment(s)” could be applied when accessories are used ( +_ kW/h), or for known types of road conditions. (eg: a wet road, or hill of know inclination will have increased kW/h usage)

      |
      | (kW/h)
      |
      +—————
      (km/h, or miles/h)

      A nice blog post on effiency curves for Model S included a range and energy curves:
      http://www.teslamotors.com/de_CH/blog/model-s-efficiency-and-range

  10. miimura says:

    I really like the look of this car – inside and out, form and function. However, with the small battery and me-too range it’s a non-starter. MB really whiffed this one by leaving out the 40kWh battery and DCQC. I would have sold my RAV4 EV for one of these if it had equivalent battery and QC. Now, not a second thought about B Class EV.

    1. miimura says:

      Now, MB will be able to join the automakers trumpeting “See – nobody wants BEVs!”.
      While in reality, nobody wants the lukewarm dish you’re serving. You would think other automakers would learn from Tesla’s example. Sadly, no.

  11. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class is very interesting EV with 5-seating like the LEAF with bit better performance numbers. That there’s a “Tesla on the inside” matters less than what can be plugged-in “on the outside”. To go anywhere, an EV needs to be plugged in! The type of plug and “miles per hour charging capability” will determine if the B-Class is limited to home-range when charging, or will it have free-ranging mobility?

    “Miles per hour charging capability” is as big a factor as “usable battery capacity”. The LEAF has one, the Model S has both speed and range capability.

  12. Stuart22 says:

    The best difference I can see between the i3 and the B-Class is the conventional 4 door design of the B vs. the i3’s suicide setup which I predict will not be an appreciated feature.

  13. Priusmaniac says:

    Tesla inside, that sounds like Intel inside from the computers.
    If that is of any lesson Tesla will end up being in 90% of the cars. That could be a fast way to change over the world car production for the better. Add a wall-mart 899$ 10 KW generator in the back for cheap range extending and everybody can drive in an affordable EV much sooner.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Oh, I like that Tony, (=

        +1

  14. SIvad says:

    Isn’t it a little odd that they decided to put the plug hatch in the conventional location for an ICE? I can’t think of any other EV that does that. The Plug-in Prius has their plug in the back as well but all the others like the Volt and the Ford Energi line have the plug in the front. It mostly doesn’t because the length of the charge cord is usually long enough. But there have been a few times where I’ve had to park in an adjacent spot to a public charger because someone has parked there so having the port in the front allowed the cord to reach a spot over. If it’s in the back and on the opposite side in the next parking space you would be out of luck.

    1. SIvad says:

      what I meant to say
      “…mostly doesn’t matter because…”

  15. Rick G says:

    So, as a LEAF owner, am I behind the eight ball in the sense of range characteristics by residing in Colorado? Does daily ascending and descending in elevation weaken my overall range vs someone who lives in a relatively flat zone?