With its torquey electric motor, the B-Class Electric Drive offers lively and effortlessly superior fun at the wheel over a range of around 200 kilometres – all locally emission free. Full climate control for the interior as standard and some innovative optional extras, such as the recuperative braking system with radar support or the RANGE PLUS range extender, add to the car’s ride comfort and everyday practicality.
The new B-Class Electric Drive surprises with an especially dynamic driving experience: it provides noticeably powerful acceleration and glides almost noiselessly along country roads. The new electric Mercedes offers the driver and up to four passengers the familiar high standards of ride comfort in a high-class, spacious and precision-designed interior. The B-Class Electric Drive combines dynamism and driving pleasure with zero local emissions.
The electric B-Class was developed by Mercedes-Benz in collaboration with TESLA Motors. The two companies share many years of cooperation in the field of electric mobility. The battery for the predecessor model of the smart fortwo electric drive, for instance, comes from TESLA. For the B-Class Electric Drive, Mercedes-Benz is once again availing itself of the extensive know-how available from the electric car pioneer and is using the TESLA drive system in its own vehicle.
Quiet, locally emission-free motoring is ensured by an electric motor generating more than 132 kW. Typically for an electric drive system, this develops its maximum torque of more than 340 Nm (251 lb-ft) straight away from idling speed. This is approximately equivalent to the torque from a modern, naturally aspirated three-litre petrol engine. The result is noticeably powerful acceleration from a standstill. For the standard sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph), too, the electrically powered B-Class requires only 7.9 seconds. Effortlessly superior driveability and exhilarating driving pleasure with a high level of dynamism are thus guaranteed in every situation.
According to whether the driver wishes to drive economically or perhaps with more emphasis on comfort or sportiness, there is a choice of three driving programs. The driving programs at a glance:
- E+ (Economy Plus): This driving mode is configured for a defensive driving style and lends itself to driving at a constant, steady speed. The output here is reduced to around 65 kW, whereby the top speed falls to around 110 km/h (68 mph) on the flat. With kickdown, however, an output of 132 kW and a top speed of up to 160 km/h (99 mph) remain available.
- E (Economy): The philosophy here is a comfortable driving experience. The output is restricted to 98 kW, although of course even in this driving program, kickdown will summon up as much as 132 kW.
- S (Sport): Maximum output for maximum acceleration is the motto behind this mode, configured for sporty driving. Accordingly, the engine can call upon 132 kW.
Range sufficient for everyday use, audible warning system
In the interests of optimising the range, the top speed is electronically limited to 160 km/h. Depending on the driving cycle, the vehicle has a range of around 200 km (124 mi). This permits emission-free motoring not just in city traffic and on short journeys, but also over longer distances – such as those covered by many commuters on a daily basis.
The instrumentation of the B-Class Electric Drive is rounded off by functions that are specific to electric vehicles. One of the striking features is the power display in the right-hand circular instrument. When full power is demanded by the driver, the instrument pointer moves in a clockwise direction from the green zone towards the red zone, dropping back below the zero line when the vehicle is feeding energy into the battery through the recuperation feature.
As protection for pedestrians and cyclists, a specific Mercedes-Benz sound is generated (optional extra) at speeds of up to 30 km/h (19 mph). Once over 30 km/h this is no longer necessary, as wind and tyre noise then begin to dominate.
On the road, the electric drive makes its own contribution to a favourable energy balance by recovering energy under overrun conditions as well as by converting the kinetic energy produced during braking into electric power and feeding it to the battery. This process is controlled through the energy management system. The level of recuperation and thus of drag deceleration can be influenced by the driver via the brake pedal (approx. 10% of pedal travel). The potential recuperation performance depends, among other factors, on the state of charge and the temperature of the high-voltage battery.
Particularly effective energy recovery and thus an extension of the vehicle’s range are made possible with the optional extra of a radar-supported, recuperative braking system. The system also supports the driver in controlling proximity and speed. The system uses the data from the radar sensors of COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS to increase or reduce to zero, as appropriate, the level of recuperation and thus of deceleration.
If the system detects a slow-moving or slowing vehicle ahead, it triggers an increase in recuperation torque and thus a reduction in speed. If, on the other hand, any vehicle it detects is far in the distance or accelerating away, the vehicle will switch into energy-saving “sailing” mode, without recuperation. This is particularly useful in town or on fast roads with a slight downhill incline. When driving downhill in “sailing” mode or on a steep slope, an increase in recuperation will restrict acceleration. The effect here is comparable to changing down a gear. In conjunction with COMAND, the regulation is extended to take account of information supplied by the traffic sign recognition system as well as of speed limits stored in the navigation system.
With this optional equipment item, the driver is also able to use the steering-wheel gearshift paddles to switch between four stages of recuperation – from “sailing” through to a high level of recuperation with a sporty accelerator pedal curve. The following four recuperation stages are available:
- D+: “sailing” mode, no recuperation
- D: moderate recuperation
- D-: high recuperation
- DAuto: recuperation according to the traffic situation