Mercedes-Benz has kicked off this week production of the B-Class Electric Drive at the Rastatt factory in Germany.

Looking virtually the same as the conventional-powered second-gen B-Class, the Electric Drive weighs 1,750 kg (3,858 lbs) and is powered by an electric motor generating 177 bhp (132 kW) and 250 lb-ft (338 Nm) of torque. It will do 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 7.9 seconds and an electronically-limited top speed of 100 mph (161 km/h).

More importantly, the B-Class ED has an estimated range of 124 miles (200 km) thanks to a lithium-ion battery pack manufactured by Tesla Motors. Its direct competitor, the BMW i3, has an approximate range between 81 and 99 miles (130 and 160 km) and needs 0.7s less to do the 0-62 mph sprint.

Deliveries of the B-Class Electric Drive will commence in a few months at first in United States, followed towards the end of the year by Germany and select European markets. For now production is limited only to left-hand drive cars but next year Mercedes will also start putting together RHD units.

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz begins B-Class Electric Drive production at Rastatt factory

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