Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes-Benz introduced the all-new 2014 model-year B-Class Electric Drive, its first luxury electric car in the market, at the 2013 New York International Auto Show in April.

The Electric Drive shows off a dynamic design, high-quality interior, and a high-torque electric motor for completely emissions-free driving up to 115 miles, according to the automaker.

Based on the conventionally powered B-Class, a bestseller in many countries since its market debut in 2011, the vehicle will only be intro-duced with battery electric drive in the U.S.

Quiet and locally emission-free drive power is provided by an electric motor with more than 134 hp (100 kW). Typical for an electric drive, the maximum torque of 228 lb.-ft. is available right from the first tap on the accelerator pedal, allowing for acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. The maximum speed is electronically limited to 100 mph (160 km/h).

The lithium-ion battery is accommodated in the "Energy Space" in the vehicle's underfloor, allowing the five-seater to retain the interior and luggage space of the original model.

The Electric Drive's battery can be recharged at any standard domestic power outlet. In the U.S., the charging time for a range of about 60 miles is less than two hours at 240v/40 A, according to Mercedes-Benz.

While the car is on the move, the electric drive itself contributes to a favorable energy balance by converting kinetic energy into electric current on the overrun and during braking, and feeds this energy into the battery (recuperation).

When it comes to information and communication systems, the B-Class Electric Drive offers convenience and functionality typical of Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Standard onboard features include the Audio 20 with a 5.8-inch color screen, a twin tuner, an MP3-capable CD player, and a USB connection. Navigation is provided by the Becker MAP PILOT. The multimedia system COMAND Online with Internet access, navigation, and voice control is an available option.

Functions specific to electric vehicles have been added to the instrumentation of the B-Class Electric Drive. A power display in the dial instrument has been added on the right. Its pointer rises in a clockwise direction from the green to the red area when power is being consumed, and drops below the zero line when the vehicle is feeding recuperative energy back into the battery.

The B-Class Electric Drive is also fully networked. Remote check-up and remote configuration of the vehicle is conveniently possible via the Vehicle Homepage. The driver can easily access his vehicle via the Internet using a PC or smartphone. In this way, it is possible to check the current charge status of the lithium-ion battery or to verify the vehicle's current range on a map. The planned route can also be displayed, immediately showing whether and where the vehicle can be recharged along the way. The range of services for connectivity is rounded off with a pre-entry climate control option offering individually timed pre-heating or cooling.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz equips the electric car with the radar-based accident warning system Collision Prevention Assist with adaptive Brake Assist as standard. This system gives the driver a visual and audible warning of recognized obstacles, prepares him for braking action and assists him with the braking process as the situation requires. This system significantly reduces the danger of a rear-end collision. More modern driver assistance systems are also available — among them Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Active Park Assist.

The new B-Class Electric Drive will be available in the U.S. from early 2014. The European launch will follow.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet