Mercedes to offer electric B Class in U.S. form 2014 image

Premium carmaker Mercedes Benz will offer an electric version of its new B-class compact in the United States starting in 2014, Germany’s Automobilwoche reports.

The EV will employ an electric drivetrain developed by Tesla Motors and will be based on a new front-wheel-drive platform according to a company source.

“Daimler’s partnership with Tesla has developed very well and is long-term oriented,” Thomas Weber, Daimler’s development chief, said in a statement. “Both companies are leading players for electric mobility and continue to push ahead together in this field.”

No technical details were given on the new powertrain, but the original idea was to have a Volt-like 138-horsepower electric powerplant for the B-Class compact, with a 67-horsepower gas engine backing it up.

Mercedes showed the Concept B-class E-cell Plus with a range extender last fall at the Frankfurt auto show. At the time, executives said the vehicle would go into production.

Mercedes-Benz is yet to officially confirm its plans for an all-electric B-Class.

“Zero-emission vehicles receive more favorable classifications and higher incentives than vehicles with a range extender,” a source at Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler AG, told Automobilwoche, a sibling publication of Automotive News.

“This is especially an issue in the U.S.”