For the first time, Mercedes brings a fully electric car to the U.S
The B-Class ED is the product of a technology-sharing alliance between Tesla and Daimler that goes back to Mercedes’ 2009 investment.
Rather than rely on in-house R&D, Mercedes essentially contracted with Tesla—the Silicon Valley car maker and acknowledged leader in electric automobiles—to provide the EV architecture (motor, transmission, battery, power electronics) for its electron-fired B-Class.
Tesla will make the B-Class battery pack, power management system etc at the factory in Fremont, Calif., and ship them to Germany for final vehicle assembly.
The B-Class Electric Drive, which is built on the same production line as the gasoline-powered version, is going to go on sale in Europe around the end of the year and will also come in a right-hand drive version for other markets in 2015.
One of these days, one of these compliance cars is going to break out, sales-wise. The B-Class ED, which will sell in all 50 states, could be the one. While it might have emerged out of a compliance effort, the B-ED just shines, a premium family electric that braids Tesla’s and Mercedes’ DNA so convincingly the car might as well be called the Model B.