2012 Paris Motor Show: Mercedes-Benz introduces the Concept B-Class Electric Drive

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 28, 2012

Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new plug-in electric version of the second-generation B-class at the Paris Motor Show. The almost production-ready MPV was made with the cooperation of Tesla. It gives us a preview of the B-class Electric Drive that’s due to be offered in selected markets starting in early 2014.

This project is include in a new-product offensive of broad based zero emission models, which include the SLS Electric Drive.

It’s probable that this new car would be offered on an extended monthly lease scheme similar to the one used on the Smart Electric Drive. It will feature an electric motor positioned where the B-class’s various four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are placed.

The brushless unit has an output of 134bhp and 228lb ft torque. The motor is powered by a lithium ion battery pack but its capacity has yet to be announced.

This is attached down in the floor of the front-wheel drive B-class’s platform before the rear axle. Mercedes-Benz refers to this set-up as the Energy Space. It is claimed that the batteries offer an overall range of 200km on a full charge.

They can be charged by either plugging it in or by recuperative means while being driven. The Smart Brabus Electric Drive debuted beside the B-class Electric Drive at the Paris motor show.

Press Release

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Concept

A variant running on battery power alone is to be added to Mercedes-Benz's range of compact cars in 2014. Mercedes-Benz will be offering an initial preview of the electric future for the B-Class at the 2012 Paris Motor Show in the guise of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Concept. Similarly to the successful B-Class models with conventional drives, the concept vehicle combines a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience with full suitability for everyday and family use. The so-called "ENERGY SPACE" in the floor ensures that the concept vehicle offers the same generous and variable space inside as the current series production models. The Energy Space provides a safe and space-saving means of accommodating the lithium-ion battery and also has a positive effect on the vehicle's centre of gravity. The high-torque electric motor ensures that the local emission-free B-Class Electric Drive Concept is a lively proposition and guarantees hallmark Mercedes-Benz quality together with an enjoyable driving experience over a local emission-free range of 200 kilometres.

Local emission-free electric vehicles are a key element of the Mercedes-Benz strategy for sustainable mobility. The advances that the Stuttgart-based premium manufacturer has achieved in this field are demonstrated by electric passenger cars which are already being manufactured under series production conditions and demonstrating high everyday practicality today. Such vehicles include the B-Class F-CELL, the Vito E-CELL van and the smart fortwo electric drive. This broad product portfolio will be bolstered in 2014 by the addition of the battery-powered electric variant of the B-Class.

"In developing our electric vehicles we accord top priority to customer benefits," says Professor Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management at Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "Accordingly, the B-Class Electric Drive Concept demonstrates premium-standard electric mobility for all the family. The concept vehicle offers outstanding everyday practicality and great driving enjoyment."

Powerful acceleration and an effortlessly enjoyable driving experience

The near-series concept vehicle provides a glimpse of what the near future holds. Quiet and local emission-free drive power is provided by a 100 kW electric motor. Typically for an electric drive, the maximum torque of 310 Newton metres is available right from the first tap on the accelerator pedal - corresponding on a theoretical level roughly to the torque delivery of a state-of-the-art petrol engine with a displacement of three litres. This results in unusually powerful acceleration from a standing start. For the standard sprint from 0 to 100 km/h the electric-powered B-Class requires less than ten seconds. This adds up to superlative performance and all the joys of highly dynamic driving in every situation.

At a top speed limited to 150 km/h, the capacity of the highly efficient lithium-ion battery ensures a range of 200 local emission-free kilometres. This means that in addition to urban driving and short-range trips, longer journeys can also be mastered without any problems - such as the distances covered on a daily basis by commuters, for example. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Concept's battery can be recharged at any standard domestic 230 V power outlet. A rapid charging function is also integrated which enables sufficient energy for 100 km to be charged in under an hour.

While the car is on the move, the electric drive itself contributes to a favourable energy balance by transforming kinetic energy into electric current in deceleration mode and during braking and feeding this energy into the battery (recuperation).

Elegant and sporty lines

The powerful lithium-ion battery on board the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Concept is accommodated safely and compactly in the so-called "ENERGY SPACE" under the rear part of the vehicle. This intelligent space concept ensures that the five-seater retains its familiar generously sized interior and boot.

In terms of appearance, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Concept showcar differs to series production B-Class models in a number of details. These include first and foremost a striking front bumper and new side skirts which flow elegantly into both the front bumper and the newly designed rear bumper. The charging unit is installed inconspicuously behind the filler flap. A special reflective blue colour effect on the exterior highlights the B-Class Electric Drive Concept's status as a local emission-free electric vehicle.

High-end comfort: exclusive interior

The range of instruments has been extended to cover functions specific to an electric vehicle. The round dial on the right incorporates a power display which is immediately and intuitively comprehensible, for example: the pointer rises when power is being consumed and drops below the zero line when the vehicle is feeding recuperative energy back into the battery. The instrumentation has been designed according to the motto "keep it clean", i.e. avoiding any unnecessary electronic gadgets which might distract the driver unnecessarily from the traffic.

Soft nappa is predominant inside the vehicle, covering steering wheel, seats, door centre panels, armrests and the dashboard, which is bordered with carefully applied decorative turquoise blue stitching. The passenger compartment is finished in black, white and crystal grey. The perforated seat centre panels and armrests are in keeping with the showcar's sporty, agile character. Special highlights are provided by fine piping in black, white and turquoise which provides a border for the light seat surfaces. The head restraints additionally sport an embroidered Electric Drive logo.

Connected services

Cutting-edge technology ensures that the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Concept is not only sustainable, but also fully networked and online. Remote checking and remote configuration of the vehicle is possible via the so-called Vehicle Homepage. The driver can access their vehicle on the internet, using their PC or smartphone. In this way, it is possible to check the current charge status of the lithium-ion battery or to verify the vehicle's current range on a map. The planned route can also be displayed, showing directly whether and where the vehicle can be recharged along the way. The range of connected services is rounded off by a pre-entry climate control option offering individual timing. A further feature is smart charging. This involves the customer selecting a desired time for the beginning of his journey. The system then ensures that the battery is fully charged in time, taking economical and ecological considerations duly into account by using the most cost-effective or CO2-optimised charging times.

Big on safety

Mercedes-Benz attaches the same high safety standards to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Concept as apply to all the other series-produced vehicles of the MB brand. The very high safety standard of the new Mercedes-Benz B-Class provides the starting point. Thanks to the innovative "ENERGY SPACE", the battery is accommodated under the floor at the rear of the vehicle, enhancing safety in the event of a crash.

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