US Rollout Update: Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
There have now been several sightings of the prototype Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive in the US and with those sightings come speculation that the electric M-B will arrive in showrooms sometime soon.
Truth is, the B-Class Electric Drive is still in the development stage and it’s not scheduled for US launch until mid-2014 (previously the B-Class Electric Drive was set to launch in the US in January 2014 and then delayed until early 2014, but even the early 2014 statement is no longer true).
“…B-Class ED will be available starting summer 2014 at authorized Mercedes-Benz dealers in select states — CA, CT, MD, OR, NJ, NY, RI and VT — and then nationwide in early 2015.”
That’s Mercedes-Benz’ official word.
Prototype sightings are common and we’re certain that as its launch draw near, more and more B-Class Electric Drives will be seen on US roads. Should we then assume that Mercedes-Benz is trying to push forward the US launch of the electric B-Class?
The B-Class Electric Drive relies on several Tesla-made components (battery pack, electric motor and so on). Those components won’t enter the production cycle at Tesla until Q2 of 2014.
Per Tesla’s shareholder letter:
“The development program with Daimler is on track for full completion by early next year. Shortly thereafter, we anticipate the start of production to support market launch by Daimler in 2014.”
In order for Tesla to begin mass producing components for Daimler, the necessary equipment must be in the place. That equipment will come as part of Tesla’s recently announced $415-million order.
When all the cards line up (Mercedes-Benz completes development of B-Class Electric Drive, Tesla gets necessary production equipment in place and begins manufacturing B-Class components) the B-Class Electric Drive will launch in the US. That won’t happen until Summer 2014, according to Mercedes-Benz and even then the rollout will only be in select states. It isn’t until early 2015 when the B-Class Electric Drive will be available nationwide.
Here’s a look at what to expect when the B-Class debut in Summer 2014:
- 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds
- 28 kWh battery pack
- Range ~ 90 miles
- 174 hp
- 228 pound feet of torque
- Top speed 100 mph
- 10 kW charging capability
- Price tag “in the low $40s”