US Rollout Update: Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

DEC 30 2013 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 28

Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive Concept

Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive Concept

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.

B-Class Electric Drive Reveal

B-Class Electric Drive Reveal

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?

No.

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:

Tesla Is Not Yet Making Parts For Daimler - That Won't Begin in Q2 of 2014

Tesla Is Not Yet Making Parts For Daimler – That Won’t Begin in Q2 of 2014

“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”
Hey, What Is Happening In Here?

B-Class Interior

Categories: Mercedes, Tesla

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28 Comments on "US Rollout Update: Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive"

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ggpa

“In order for Tesla to begin mass producing components for Daimler, the necessary equipment must be in the place.”

From the specs it seems that some parts will be shared with Model S and RAV and I hope that the other equipment gets installed really soon.

This car should be a great addition to the EV landscape!!

Warren

And then there is the Smart ED roll-out.

From my local dealer’s website…for the last year: smart electric drive (coming soon)

David

Surprised at how long development and rollout is for any of these vehicles. Makes you appreciate existing vehicles more.

Seems too little too late. Hopefully by 2015 Nissan will be making substantive improvements to the LEAF’s range. Another me-too EV with the typical 100 mile (70-80 real world) range isn’t anything special.

Nate

Yeah I agree with you. The advantages of this over the current Leaf may be:
–better appearance (though this is subjective)
–10kw charging
–faster acceleration
–knowing Mercedes, probably better safety ratings (over the 2013 Leaf not 2011-2012)

I don’t think this would be worth the price difference for me. If it had significantly longer EV range, or if it had a range extender, then it may have something to justify its price premium.

Sam EV

You’re forgetting the #1 feature, a battery that won’t degrade rapidly in the heat. Nissan has announced one for mid-2014, but we will have to wait to see if it performs as promised.

Ocean Railroader

I hope Nissan raises the range of the Leaf to the solid 100 mile mark over the 80 mile mark when they upgrade the batteries on it to be more safer in the heat.

vdiv

So the i3 with its 22 kWh/19 kWh usable battery has about the same AER as the B-class ED with a 28 kWh/24 kWh usable?

Not exactly pushing the envelope, are they?

Mikael

Well… the B-class is nothing but a converted car. Unlike the i3 that is a brand new electric car. So far there are only 3 electric cars on the market. Tesla Model S and BMW i3 and the Leaf. And I’m not 100% sure that the Leaf should be in that list either.

It will be interesting to see what happens when companies start to build EV’s from scratch and not just convert other ICE-models. That’s when things will really happen.

vdiv

There are a few more EVs “on the market” if you count the Ford Focus EV, the Fiat 500e, the Spark EV, the Fit EV, the RAV4 EV, the Smart ForTwo ED, the Mitsubishi i MiEV, or even the used Tesla Roadsters. Most are converted and most are quite similar in battery capacity and range.

I think he meant dedicated platform EV’s, and he’s right, LEAF was based on the Versa. Still a pretty serious EV.

Aaron

The LEAF and the Versa have different platforms. While the LEAF was prototyped on the Versa platform, they don’t share that platform anymore. (106″ wheelbase on the LEAF versus 102″ wheelbase on the Versa/Versa Note attest to this.)

@Mikael – Not sure why you say there are only 3 electric cars in the market. In the US alone, there are 24. Most are not clean sheet designs, but given the development cost of an entirely new platform, that’s not surprising.

Some electrics, like the Fiat 500e and Ford Focus Electric, are much better incarnations if their ICE counterparts. That’s progress.

I do count plug in hybrids. When a driver can travel all-electric, it should be tallied in the electric car column.

Mikael

I know that there are more models out there and that new platforms cost a lot of money. My point was rather that the advantages of the car being electric will be even more when the electric car industry is big enough for the companies to design them from scratch.
For example interior space and luggage space. Flat packs to make the center of gravity lower and make the weight distribution perfect and being able to put in larger battery packs etc. etc.

I’m sure the B-class electric will be great all I’m saying is that it will be a lot better when built from scratch using all the advantages of being electric.

If you’ve driven a Focus Electric, you’d know that a proper conversion will by design have a low center of gravity and 50/50 weight distribution.

Also, if you’ve done some light research online, you would realize that this highly-touted i3 has a mere 9.18 cu ft of cargo space behind the rear seats according to plugincars.com. That’s less than the Spark EV, and way less than the Focus Electric and MiEV. In fact, it has less room back there than any other 4-door conversion:

Ford Focus Electric 14.5 cu ft
Mitsubishi MiEV 13.2 cu ft
Honda Fit EV 12.0 cu ft
Chevy Spark 9.6 cu ft

As far as interior space for the passengers – None of the pure electrics listed above have less passenger space than their ICE counterparts as far as I know… do you know any different?

Mikael

I’m not saying that EV’s are bad nor that they are not as good as their ICE counterparts. But without making them on their own platform from scratch you can’t use some of the advantages that makes the EV’s superior to ICE’s.
Such as the skateboard design of the battery pack, making the EV like a magnet to the ground when driving it. And adapt the space to how the people want it, e.g. a lot of leg room, flat trunk space etc. and not be limited by all the ICE parts that need to be in a special place.

So even if the conversions are not bad, there are still a lot of room for improvement.

It absolutely boggles my mind that this was written without one mention of the OBVIOUS REQUIRED REASON that this car will be produced. With a converted old chassis, no quick charge capability of any kind even offered, sold in certain states, 100 mile range, etc. What could it all mean? No, it’s not another “me too” and “too late in 2015” car as one commenter suggested. Even specific states were mentioned… I wonder why those states are important? Anybody? Yes, just like GM with the Spark EV introduction, iwhich was going to be sold in Europe and big fleet sales in Canada (ya, that’s a red herring if I ever heard one, fleet EV sales in Canada, giggle, giggle) if you believed their endless press releases lapped up by the press. Yet, it only ended up being sold in California and Oregon in really tiny numbers. Gosh, I wonder why? The car will arrive exactly when required, in the 2015 model year, because that is when Daimler / Mercedes Benz becomes subject to California Air Resouces Board – Zero Emission Vehicle (CARB-ZEV) mandates. They “can’t not” make it. Here’s what percentage of ZEV cars each of the following companies (For… Read more »
Mark H

Tony, I agree with your point on the B and you generally keep us in line on the CARB-ZEV EVs. I agree with how that applies to FCVs too, but I think Georgia has proved just how close the tipping point is for EVs to expand beyond the CARB-ZEV states. When I look at the Leaf, Volt, and Model S sales in the US, there appears to be decent penetration. Still second to the west coast, but not exactly isolation either.

Folks, it’s going to happen. But stodgy, highly profitable car companies aren’t going to seriously venture far from the well worn path, and neither has Toyota or Daimler with their Tesla produced EV components for discontinued oil cars. Both lacking quick charging, even though both are member auto manufacturers of their respective charge standards, CHAdeMO and Frankenplug.

Nissan / Renault and Tesla have bet big, and BMW is certainly pushing the envelope with credible purpose built EVs. Mitsubishi is hanging in their, and now seems to have a hit with its CHAdeMO equipment plug-in hybrid SUV type car. But, those companies are the exception, not the rule.

Here’s my current CARB compliance ratings. This Mercedes car fits in the first category: 1) Compliance-only – cars like Toyota Rav4 EV, Honda Fit EV, GM Spark EV, Fiat/Chrysler 500e; built because the manufacturer is required to build EV’s, and in pure compliance with the rules, the manufacturer makes just the minimum so that they can continue to sell high profit margin oil cars. Anything beyond that is generally in the form of press releases and not cars. These cars are typically sold at a significant loss to their respective manufacturer. Typically optimized for “100 miles”, but practically have closer to 70-80 miles, and can be 40-50 miles with cold weather. Making the car go double the 100 mile range only produces 25% more credit hence no compliance-only cars are 200 mile range. They typically don’t have ANY quick charge option. 2) Compliance – cars like Nissan LEAF, and we hope BMW. These are cars that must be built because CARB requires it, however they are typically sold anywhere buyers can be found, generally with a profit motive. They are generally built on a dedicated (and expensive) chassis. Because they really want to sell these, all offer some sort of… Read more »
Mark H

And then there is life outside of CARB. It started with the HEV Toyota Prius in 2000. It proved that an electric motor, a small battery, and a regenerative braking system could make a difference and 3 million later it was the beginning.

Then there was the PHEV world followed by the EREV that are proving to also be successful at even a better pace than the HEV.
http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/OwnerMap

I do not disagree at all with your CARB definitions/classifications and their impact on the BEV but we have to look at the whole spectrum. The pace is OK. We are five years away from a cumulative% and it is OK.

Mint

It’s going to happen when the long term profits show up, and the key to that is a cellphone model.

Subsidize the car up front, and charge $3 per 50 miles (i.e. “cheaper than 50 mpg”) for the life of the car. It creates a 10+ year income stream (probably closer to 20). The car-makers can even strike deals with electric utilities to include electricity cost without needing a separate meter.

New car buyers only look at savings over a few years, not the life of the car, because they don’t care about savings going to a future owner and barely care about resale value. That’s one of the biggest reasons that fuel economy gains have been so stagnant and CAFE is needed to push them forward.

Kevin

Vapor ware except for CA and some other carb states
No fast charge on a BEV …….. No way non-starter
Only the clueless will buy

Level 1 at home, Level 2 at work, 80 mile round trip commute. Works well for me and many others. Glad I didn’t have to pay for a fast charger because I’d never use it. Guess that makes me clueless?

Aaron

“Only the clueless will buy”

You didn’t read the article — it says a nationwide launch in early 2015. It’s even in bold. By the way, its 90 mile range means I could travel to and from my job 5 times without charging. Given that I travel almost exclusively on surface streets, I could probably do better than that. Hell, if I can squeeze 85 miles out of my i-MiEV (rated at 62 miles), then I could probably go 150 miles on a B-class.

Bill Howland

All this talk about fast charging is interesting, however it is basically a west coast / texas / florida phenomonon. New York State (not exactly a backwater) finally got a small supercharger installation in Queens, but with the close proximity of other Superchargers, I don’t see really the point of it, other than commuters to Long Island.

As far as I know there is only Albany planned, and being it Buffalo, it is inaccessible to me even with a 85 kwh battery. The only one planned anywhere near to me will be in Canada, and seeing as it is more of a chore to cross the border compared to historically, I wouldn’t be using it, nor need to really.

Canadian vistors to my area use the 30 amp 200 volt chargepoints for their supercharger capable model S’s.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I don’t see really the point of it, other than commuters to Long Island.

Supercharger at JFK + HOV access on the LIE = Tesla Victory.

There definitely need to be more Superchargers in the NY area though, at least along I-90, I-95 and I-87 up to Canada..

Aaron

Remind me not to Google people’s names. 😉

smart ED

90 miles? lol, it will easily get over 100 per charge, no way it wont, my smart ed got 90 miles with 6% left and has a smaller battery, havent got 90 miles again though but i usually get between 70-80, noticed a slight drop in the winter but when its hot (which is majority of the time here in cali) it gets 70+ easily, and thats with pedal mashing, fast accelerations, freeway and city, etc. Dont use the AC though.