(Phys.org) —Mercedes-Benz is to show off its electric car at the New York International Auto Show, open to the public from March 29 to April 7 at the Jacob Javits Center. Mercedes-Benz calls its vehicle the B-Class Electric Drive. This is an all-electric five-seater to be available for sale in the U.S. next year. What was MB thinking in coming up with such an unfortunate title for such a good-looking vehicle? Naming it B-Class Electric Drive, while indicating it is one of MB's smaller designs, in a larger context may be confused with a general perception of the letter B as signifying mediocrity, which is not the case with this vehicle. The car maker is positioning it as "the first luxury battery electric car from Mercedes-Benz in the market," one that will give its drivers "electric driving at the premium level."
The B-Class Electric Drive is actually based on the B-Class car introduced in 2011, but this time around with special features, from instrumentation to total design. The power display is of note; when power is being consumed, a pointer rises in a clockwise direction from a green to red area, and drops back below the zero line when the vehicle is feeding recuperative energy back into the battery.
Three large, round air vents are "sporty" features, according to the company, and above those vents is a display screen. The car's connectivity features include an embedded data connection that allows owners to check battery and charge status via their computer or smartphone.
According to the publicity release, the maximum speed is electronically limited to 100 mph (160 km/h) in the interests of operating range. Depending on the driving cycle, the range is around 115 miles (200 km). For a sprint from 0 to 60 mph, the electric car requires less than ten seconds.
A lithium ion battery is placed in the vehicle's underfloor, for crash protection. The B-Class Electric Drive can be recharged via standard household power sockets. The charging time for a range of about 60 miles (100 km) is less than two hours at 240 V/40 A.
Wired estimated the B-Class will cost in the mid-$30,000 range, but the actual selling price is not yet known. The new B-Class Electric Drive will be available initially in the US from early 2014, and will be launched in European markets after that.
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