By 2014, Mercedes-Benz would already start offering an electric version of its new B-class compact in the U.S., according to an insider. The EV will be built on a new front-wheel-drive platform and will utilize battery packs, electric motor and other parts provided by Tesla Motors.
Automobilwoche, a sibling publication of Automotive News, spoke to a Daimler source, who said that the company seeks to offer one more battery-powered unit to the market. An electric version of the Smart ForTwo is available from Daimler, which holds a 4.7% stake in Tesla. The battery packs are supplied by Tesla for the second-generation Smart EV.
In the fall, Daimler will start the production of the third-generation Smart EV, with the use of its own batteries and electric motor. Furthermore, the source said that it intends to offer a B-class hybrid in 2014, which will have a small internal combustion engine since the range-extender has been postponed. The source said that zero-emission vehicles get more favorable classifications and higher incentives than vehicles with a range extender.
This is a problem, particularly in the U.S. Mercedes was at the Frankfurt auto show to display its Concept B-class E-cell Plus, which came with a range extender. Executive have said that this vehicle will soon enter production.
The first model to be built on this platform is a five-door version of the B class. It started selling in Europe in 2011. Beginning next year, the U.S. will acquire at least four cars that will use the new platform. Sources in Germany said that these four vehicles are the B-class EV, A class, CLA four-door with coupe-styling and a crossover.