Mercedes-Benz has started series production of the new B-Class Electric vehicle at the Rastatt factory in Germany – the same plant where the German automaker builds the A, B and GLA models.
The electric vehicle, based on the conventional B-Class is set to go on sales in the U.S in mid-2014, followed by sales in Germany later in 2014.
The 1,750 kg (3,858 lbs) car is powered by a front mounted 177 bhp (132 kW) electric motor – capable to push the vehicle to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds – mush faster compared to Nissan’s Leaf. Daimler says the Electric-Drive B-Class will have a range of about 200 km thanks to a lithium-ion battery produced by Tesla Motors (a company where Daimler has acquired an equity stake of 10% in 2009 ). Top speed is limited to 161 km/h.
Full technical details are yet to be revealed, but from the first images we can see that the vehicle gets a newly styled front bumper and body-colored cladding within the wheel arches – features that are expected to be incorporated on the upcoming B-Class facelift that will hit the market later this year.
For the moment Daimler will build only left-hand drive models, but the automaker has already confirmed that right-hand-drive versions are under development – and are expected somewhere in 2015.
So far the automaker hasn’t offered any price information – but we do expect to start at $45,000.