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Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

A German-American star

The B-Class Electric Drive from Mercedes-Benzsports the powertrain of the Tesla Model S. In every other respect, the compact van resembles the conventional B-Class down to the last detail – to appreciate its cutting edge technology, you have to get behind the wheel.

A great deal has to happen in order for a German car manufacturer to put its latest model on sale abroad half a year earlier than at home: the electric B-Class has been on US roads since July, but will not be available in Germany until December. This is partly due to substantial sales incentives, particularly in the lead market California. However, there is also a certain degree of symbolism at play: the powertrain of the B-Class Electric Drive – comprising battery, electric motor and system controls – comes from Tesla’s Model S.

This makes the new compact van the first tangible product of the cooperation in place as a result of the Stuttgart-based giant’s four percent stake in the small Californian carmaker. It is the second fully electric car to emerge from the Daimler stable, after the Smart Electric Drive. Just like the electric Smart, the car is based on a conventionally powered model, in this case the B-Class, available since 2011.

This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 05/2014

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