What if you like the idea of a Tesla, but want a different badge on the front? Preferably a three pointed star. Well, the 2015 B-Class Electric Drive is the first volume production electric car by Mercedes-Benz that uses Tesla's technology with a range of up to 142 miles on a single charge.
It will also accelerate to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds thanks to its 180 horsepower electric motor that gives you 250 foot pounds of torque from the moment you press the silent pedal.
Mercedes claims that despite the batteries hidden in the floor, the electric B-Class remains just as versatile as the standard cars with enough space for five adults and a 17.69 cubic foot boot that can be extended to 51.4 with the seats folded down. Charging the Electric Drive via a wall box or public charging station with the provided fast charging cable takes about four hours, while a conventional 230V outlet will do the job in nine.
UK buyers can choose between two trim levels. While the Sport comes with unique bumpers, 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, a seven-inch central display, Artico trim, automatic climate control, a reversing camera, cruise control and is available in a choice of eight paint colors, the Electric Art model can only be white or blue, featuring contrasting mirrors and grills, dual color 18 inch wheels, automatic climate control, and contrast blue stitching for the seats with an aluminum trim.
More importantly, Mercedes offers an optional Energy Assist Package for £945 ($1,475):
This includes adaptive energy recuperation systems to sense road conditions via the forward facing radar. When traffic is identified, increased recuperation is employed to make the most of any deceleration. Likewise, it can use signals from the COMAND system (when specified) to read the topography of the road ahead and adapt accordingly. The driver can override the regenerative cycle via the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel to alter the level of retardation – reducing the likelihood of any energy being wasted.
Further measures fitted as part of the Energy Assist Package include privacy glass and a heated windscreen to reduce loading on the air conditioning system, increased insulation around the doors and windows and the addition of a 'Range Plus' button for occasional use, adding extra range to the battery capacity than would normally be feasible. Finally, the car will emit a subtle but audible signal at speeds of up to 18 mph to warn pedestrians of the presence of the car.
America is getting the B-Class Electric Drive, but the listed range for it is just 85 miles. There are also plenty of choices here, like the 500e, an e-Golf or the BMW i3. I'm also pretty sure this tech could be fitted into the CLA, but that remains to be seen.