Mercedes-Benz announced B Class electric drive
Historically speaking, Daimler has always remained adamant of its investments into research and development for Mercedes-Benz vehicles, their dialogs often inclusive of words such as “pioneering” and “Trendsetting”. This standard is certainly present within its flagship S Class model, where there is no shortage of innovative features such as efficient drivetrain technologies and automated driver assists.
With the introduction of the Electric Powered B-Class, the three pointed stars first ever mass production electric powered vehicle, the original philosophy now extends into brave new territory. The specifications are fairly modest, featuring a 177-hp electric motor that produces a range of 87 miles when fully charged, propelling the vehicle to 60mph in 6.8mph.
In terms of styling, there isn’t much to report about the exterior apart from the charging port found inside the fuel door. In contrast, the cars closest competitor, the i3 from BMW, has been designed to be complimentary of its electrical functions, featuring polished surfaces and a compact body. Within the interior however, the B-Class is far more spacious thanks to the compact electric drive train, with BMW opting for a “form over function” approach.
Overall then, the B-Class seems like a solid package, particularly given the substantial development of electric vehicle recharging networks in the UK, it is an enticing proposition for drivers looking to make the switch to electric.
What is surprising however, is the timing of the B-Class. Electric vehicles have been in production for years now, with the i3 recently surpassing its one-year anniversary. At first it may seem odd, that the German manufacturing giant has waited this long, but in actual fact, Mercedes has been experimenting with electric powered vehicles for some time now.
For instance, the electrical KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) technology found within Formula one cars has proven an integral aspect of the engineering of motor sport vehicles. It is of course debatable how relevant this technology is to mass production road cars; it is likely some of this technology has carried over to EV’s and hybrid EV’s.
As an emerging market, it is understandable that the electrical vehicle frontier seems to possess its own challenges in terms of competitive rivalry, technological breakthroughs, and establishing credibility with consumers. For an innovator such as Mercedes, it is possible that this extended time frame was utilised to ship a competent vehicle, one that still may change perceptions of EV’s. It seems that only time will tell.