On Monday, Daimler released information and pictures about the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive, which is due to go on sale in the U.S. in the summer of 2014. With a top speed limited to 100 miles/hr, and an all-electric range of 85 miles, the B-Class ED is a credible electric car, even if it doesn't live up to what we'd expect from a car designed in partnership with Tesla Motors.
As a car B-Class ED is similar to a station wagon, seats five people, and has ample storage in the back accessed via a hatchback.
The drive train features an electric motor generating 177 hp (132 kW), a 0-60 miles/hr time of 7.9 seconds, and maximum torque of 251 lb-ft (340 Newton meters). Daimler says this amount of torque is similar to a 3 liter engine.
The charging system gains 60 miles of range in 2 hours. Daimler doesn't disclose the power of the on-board charger, but this is faster than the 25ish miles per hour of charging that's typical of 6 kilowatt on-board chargers. When Tesla collaborated with Toyota on the Gen2 RAV4 EV, that on-board supported up to 8 kilowatts charge rate (40 amps), so Tesla may have done the same with the B-Class ED. However, the actual charging rate is limited to the capability of the charging station.
The B-Class ED does not support fast charging of any form.
Daimler has not released the price (MSRP) for the B-Class ED, nor precise availability dates. They did say it will be available initially in the U.S., and later it will be launched in Europe.
Several years ago Daimler bought a stake in Tesla Motors. One result is that many of the parts in the Tesla Model S are sourced from Daimler. The other result is that Tesla Motors designed and built the drive train for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive.