Mercedes-Benz has revealed a new plug-in electric version of the second-generation B class ahead of its public unveiling alongside other battery-powered models from the carmaker at the Paris auto show later this month.
Developed in partnership with Tesla, the near-to-production-ready concept paves the way for the B class Electric Drive to be sold in selected markets from early 2014 and is part of broad based zero emission model offensive set to be launched by Mercedes in Paris.
Planned to debut alongside the B class Electric Drive at the show are the definitive production versions of the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive and the Smart Brabus Electric Drive. Details on pricing and market launches for both models will be released at the Paris show, a Mercedes spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
At the heart of the new B class, which will likely be offered on an extended monthly lease scheme similar to that of the Smart Electric Drive, is an electric motor mounted in the space usually dedicated to the B class's various four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. The brushless unit produces 134-hp.
Power for the motor is provided via a lithium ion battery pack of as yet unspecified capacity mounted low down in the floor of the front-wheel drive B-class's platform ahead of the rear axle – a set-up the German carmaker is calling Energy Space.
On a full charge, the batteries provide an overall range of 124 miles (200 kilometers), according to Mercedes. They are charged both via plug-in means and via recuperative means whilst on the move.
David Jolley contributed to this report