Spied: Mercedes-Benz Ramping Up Development of Production B-Class Electric Drive

At last year’s Paris Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated a new concept for an all-electric version of the latest B-Class small MPV alongside the SLS AMG and Smart Brabus Electric Drive models. At the time, the German brand revealed that a production version of the B-Class Electric Drive would be added to its range of compact cars in 2014. True to its word, Mercedes is continuing the development of the car, which our spies captured in prototype form undergoing cold weather tests in Sweden. The only way you can tell the all-electric model from its conventional petrol and diesel engine-powered siblings, are the redesigned air-vents on the lower part of the front bumper, the absence of tailpipes at the back and the battery, recuperation and economy gauges that replace the tachometer, temperature and fuel instruments on the dashboard. Like the concept, the production B-Class Electric Drive is fitted with a lithium-ion battery that feeds an electric motor delivering an output of around 100 kW, equal to 134HP, and torque of 310 Nm (228.6 lb-ft) available right from the first tap on the accelerator pedal. In concept guise, Mercedes says that the pure-electric B-Class can go from zero to 100km/h (62mph) in under 10 seconds with its top speed limited to 150km/h (93mph). Currently, the car’s batteries ensure a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) and can be recharged at any standard domestic 230 V power outlet, while also offering a rapid charging function good enough for 100 kilometers (62miles) in less than an hour, but these figures may improve by the time the new B-Class Electric Drive arrives in the market. By Andrew Tsaousis