A Daimler representative told Automobilwoche he believes the upcoming Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive will be better than the recently introduced 2014 BMW i3 and other cars in this segment.
Daimler's R&D boss Thomas Weber says the electrified B-Class will be able to travel for 200 km (125 miles) before running out of juice. He added the figure refers to a real-world range attainable in normal daily use, not just on paper. Charging the battery pack will be done in about three hours and the car will reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.9 seconds before topping out at 99 mph (160 km/h).
Its electric motor will provide an instant torque of more than 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) and will be enough to offer a "sports car feeling in a compact car." Pricing details have not been established at this point but Weber says Mercedes-Benz wants to be "extremely competitive" in this area.
One of the car's highlights will be the two-stage energy recuperation system, while the steering wheel-mounted paddles will enable the driver to brake the car in two stages without having to use his feet to operate the brakes.
A range-extending engine is not being considered at this moment, but Weber doesn't rule out the possibility of launching future models with the option of a range-extending engine. The B-Class Electric Drive will be out next spring in the United States and will be marketed as an electric-only multipurpose vehicle. It will look more like a compact SUV due to a higher ground clearance and 18-inch alloy wheels. Europe will get the car next fall when the revised B-Class will hit the market.
When asked about the S-Class lineup expansion, Thomas Weber said a production version of the S-Class Coupe Concept will be out sometime in 2014. He also acknowledged that a convertible variant will likely derive from the coupe, along with a longer S-Class sedan targeted mostly for China and United States.