Mercedes-Benz has kicked off production of the new B-class Electric Drive at its plant in Rastatt, Germany.
Set for sale in left-hand-drive in selected European markets during the latter half of 2014, the five-seat MPV has been conceived as a rival to the likes of the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. Unlike the uniquely styled electric car competition, however, the new zero emission Mercedes-Benz is based on an existing model – the second-generation B-class.
At the heart of the new car is a lithium-ion battery produced by Tesla Motors – a company with which Mercedes-Benz has enjoyed close technical ties ever since its parent company Daimler took a minority ten per cent stake in the California-based electric car maker back in 2009.
Developing 177 hp and 340 Nm (252 lb ft) of torque, the electric motor of the car can propel it from naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 7.9 seconds, while the Tesla-sourced battery can keep it on the road for approximately 200 km according to European NEDC ratings or 115 miles in US city driving.