Do you suffer from anxiety? How about range anxiety? Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mercedes B-class only offers around 85 miles of driving before needing to be plugged in. That still makes it a viable commuter, but we’ll need to see if its price might result in payment anxiety.
It’s undeniable that once reaching a certain threshold of supply and demand, what was once relatively mundane and common becomes inherently collectible. Consider the bones of dead animals for example. Millions of years ago, there were parts of the planet where you likely couldn’t swing a dead Sinocalliopteryx without hitting a Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the apex predators of the time. Today, a mere 32 adult T. rex skeletons have been discovered and each of those is valued in the millions, with ownership of the most famous one — Sue — being the source of years worth of court battles.
This is all not to say that the 1986 Ford Mustang GT we looked at yesterday is in any way a dinosaur, it’s just a way to somewhat ameliorate the animosity given to its $14,900 asking price in your comments. Scarcity can impact valuation as the supply fails to meet demand, perhaps through something as simple as attrition. Yesterday’s car did seem to be a pretty nice ’80s Mustang and there are getting to be fewer and fewer of those around anymore. Unfortunately for the seller, our opinions are a lagging indicator of this reality, and the car went down in a 75 percent No Dice loss.
Let me ask you, how long is your commute these days? During the pandemic, I’d say it was probably something like 15 feet and didn’t even require the donning of pants. July’s job numbers here in the U.S. indicate that a whole lot of people are once again (for better or worse) getting out of the house and getting back to jobs that require a commute, and oftentimes even pants.
If you happen to be one of those getting back on the road and in the office, you might be thinking about owning an electric car for that trek, as well as all the punky little trips you make around town — going to the grocery store, picking up tonight’s pizza, or maybe trips to your local dispensary. The thing of it is, electric cars used to be all hells-to-the-no expensive. Today, however, there are a number of commuter cars around that aren’t all that pricey. We can all thank California for that.
It was back in 2012 that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued a mandate requiring all carmakers selling at least 60,000 vehicles a year in the state to carve out a tiny percentage of the total number for Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs). This created a whole class of what we call compliance cars, electrics generally based on an existing platform but with batteries and an electric motor in place of a fuel tank and ICE powerplant.
With longer-range electric cars being all the rage these days, these earlier models which generally came with a range of under 100 miles before the batteries pooped out, have seen values plummet. That now makes them excellent second or third cars for people of even just modest means.
This 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-class electric is just such a compliance car. Those of you who don’t call California home or who have never visited the state for fear of suddenly becoming overcome with the urge to eat granola and only drink organic wine may have never even seen one of these before at all.
Built on the same basic platform as the smaller A-class and the gas-engine CLA/GLA, the B carried a number of different drivetrains in different markets. Those included gas and diesel dead dino drinkers, a hydrogen fuel cell edition, as well as this all-electric.
That electric power is made by way of a 36-kWh lithium-ion battery pack sourced from Tesla juicing a 177 horsepower electric motor that turns the front wheels. Mercedes claimed a three-and-a-half-hour charge time on 240 volts and a realistic range of about 85 miles from that charge.
That’s not too bad for around-town stuff. And, you get to do it in what’s arguably one of the cooler compliance cars. This one, in white over a black interior has 56,831 miles under its belt. That’s a small number but may be enough to blunt that overall range a bit. It’s dealer-offered and comes with a slew of fancy pants options including navigation, dual-zone climate control, and power everything. It also has cute mini-R-class looks that might appeal to Mercedes fans.
The car looks to be in good shape both outside and in, and features factory alloys wrapped in low-rolling-resistance tires and stickers that let you roll solo in California’s elite HOV lanes since you’re an electric driver. The inside carries handsome fake wood trim on the dash and little fold-down trays on the backs of the front seats so that rear-cabin passengers can feel like they’re in a Maybach or something.
The original MSRP of the B-class was a tad over $42,000. With incentives and tax credits, that could have whittled down to under $30K, which wasn’t too bad at the time. This one, with seven years of use and still a clean title, comes in at well under half that. The asking price is $12,950 and it’s now time for you to weigh in on that price and whether it makes sense to buy this limited range electric at all given the rapidly changing electric car landscape.
What do you say, do you give this Mercedes and its price a plug up or a plug down?
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