Category Archives: B-Class

BMW i3

10 Most Fuel-Efficient Luxury Cars Of 2015

Kelley Blue Book released its list of the “10 Most Fuel-Efficient Luxury Cars of 2015.”

Ranking is opened by BMW i3 (second year in a row in the # 1 spot), followed by Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED, Cadillac ELR and BMW i8. Plug-ins capture the entire Top 5.

BMW i3
BMW i3

Best hybrid is at 6th and with more plug-in models coming, next year plug-ins could take the entire Top 10.

  1. 2015 BMW i3
  2. 2015 Tesla Model S
  3. 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class
  4. 2014 Cadillac ELR
  5. 2015 BMW i8
  6. 2015 Lexus CT 200h
  7. 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
  8. 2015 Lexus ES 300h
  9. 2015 BMW 328d
  10. 2016 Audi A3 TDI

About the winner:

“BMW’s i3 tops this list for the second year in a row. This electric 4-door’s design is modern and fresh, and truly stands out on the road. Not only is the i3 the most fuel-efficient luxury car, it’s the most fuel-efficient car, period. Adding a cure for anxiety is an available range-extending gas engine.

City/highway/combined mpge: 137/111/124
Range: 81 miles”

Source: Inside EVs

Tesla Model X (Image: Tesla)

Top 10 Electric Vehicles Coming Soon in 2015

Last year marked a big breakthrough for electric cars; the majority of major manufacturers invested heavily in developing electric drive-trains and subsequently added an array of appealing battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models to their rosters.

By the end of 2014 there were over 17,000 plug-in cars and vans on UK roads with that number expected to more than double by the end of this year.

As noted by Dr Ben Lane, Managing Editor of Next Green Car: “2015 will see a continuing roll out of battery electric and plug-in hybrid models as UK motorists become more accustomed to electric drive-trains. This year will be the year when EVs start to considered as ‘normal’.”

The future is only looking bright for electric mobility and there a number of exciting EV prospects expected to feature prominently this year. Below is Zap-Map’s list of top 10 electric vehicles coming soon in 2015:

1. Tesla Model X – BEV

Tesla Model X (Image: Tesla)
Tesla Model X (Image: Tesla)

Originally scheduled for 2013, Tesla recently announced that the eagerly anticipated Model X crossover will be launched in the third quarter of 2015. Despite being larger than the Model S, the all-wheel electric drive will give the Model X a similar level of performance (that’s 0 to 60 mph in around 5.9 seconds!). With 10% additional weight, the expected driving range will be slightly less; around 170 miles for the 60 kWh battery pack or 230 miles for 85 kWh battery. One the striking features of the next Tesla will be its rear ‘Falcon’ doors which open upwards instead of swinging outward. Final pricing has yet to be announced. Although it’s been a while coming, with the new Model X, Tesla is unlikely to disappoint.

2. Volkswagen twin-up! – PHEV

Volkswagen twin-up! PHEV (Image: VW)
Volkswagen twin-up! PHEV (Image: VW)

The twin-up!’s 55kW powertrain consists of a 0.8 litre TDI diesel engine working in conjunction with a 35kW electric motor. The energy storage system includes a lithium-ion battery (energy capacity: 8.6 kWh), a conventional 12V battery for on-board electrics, and a 33 litre capacity fuel tank. On the official test cycle, the twin-up! delivers a combined fuel economy of over 250 MPG with a CO2 emissions of just 27 g/km. In zero-emission operation the PHEV can cover a range of 31 miles and is anything but a slouch: the twin-up! accelerates up to 62 mph in 15.7 seconds and has an all-electric top speed of 80 mph. Pricing to be announced.

3. Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive – BEV

Mercedes B Class Electric (Image: Mercedes-Benz)
Mercedes B Class Electric (Image: Mercedes-Benz)

The Mercedes-Tesla relationship is evident (and welcome) in the B-Class ED with the drive-train and battery pack coming from the California-based company. Capable of 125 miles per full charge, the B-Class ED provides electric motoring in a quality package with more reserved styling than some other brands such as the BMWi range. While the motors can deliver up to 179 bhp (Sport mode), two other driving modes are available: ‘Economy’, where power is limited to 131 bhp; and ‘Economy Plus’ with just 87 bhp and a maximum speed of 70 mph. Expected to be priced from around £27,000.

4. Volvo XC90 plug-in hybrid – PHEV

Volvo XC90 PHEV (Image: Volvo)
Volvo XC90 PHEV (Image: Volvo)

No doubt encouraged by the huge success of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volvo will bring its own plug-in SUV to market in 2015, in addition to the usual range of petrol and diesel engines. While all will offer four-wheel drive, for the first time there will also be a front-wheel drive option. The XC90 PHEV will also feature a collection of entertainment and safety technology including a 9.3 inch screen compatible with Apple’s new CarPlay interface and Volvo’s new collision avoidance system. The XC90 range is priced from £45,750.

5. Volkswagen Passat GTE plug-in hybrid – PHEV

Volkswagen Passat GTE PHEV (Image: VW)
Volkswagen Passat GTE PHEV (Image: VW)

Now in its eighth incarnation, the new Passat range includes the GTE, the first Passat with a plug-in hybrid drive. Powered by a turbocharged direct injection petrol engine (TSI) and an 85kW electric motor, the GTE is capable (on the official test) of over 141 MPG (petrol) and 13.0 kWh/100km (electric) with CO2 emission of under 45 g/km. On a full tank and fully recharged 9.9 kWh lithium-ion battery, the new PHEV has a total driving range of over 620 miles. In ‘E-Mode’, the Passat GTE can also cover a distance of up to 31 miles with zero emissions. AC charging options include standard (or ‘slow’) charging at 2.3 kW from a domestic socket in 4.25 hours or an optional a home 3.6 kW charger which provides a full charge in 2.5 hours. Anticipated pricing from around £20,000.

6. BMW X5 e-drive – PHEV

BMW X5 e-Drive PHEV (Image: BMW)
BMW X5 e-Drive PHEV (Image: BMW)

The BMW X5 e-drive concept was first unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt International Motor Show and is seen as the logical next step for the successful X5 series. Combining a four-cylinder combustion engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and lithium-ion battery, the plug-in hybrid can driver approximately 19 miles solely on electric power. There is a choice of three driving modes, depending on requirements and situation – the intelligent hybrid drive option for a balance between sportiness and efficiency; pure electric and therefore emission-free driving; or Safe Battery mode to maintain the current battery charge. According to BMW, the X5 e-drive is capable of 74.3 mpg and on average emits 90g of CO2 per kilometre. Estimated to be priced at £55,000 – £60,000, the X5 e-drive is on course to directly compete with the Volvo XC90 PHEV.

7. Renault Zoe 2015 (new battery) – BEV

Renault ZOE EV
Renault ZOE EV

Renault’s battery-electric Zoe, the second best-selling EV after the Nissan LEAF, will be revitalised by a smaller and more efficient electric motor in 2015. By reducing the motors size, Renault expects a 10% increase in the Renault Zoe’s official 130 mile range. Renault also claims the improvements will reduce charging time by 20-30 minutes when using low-level power supply such as a 3kW 3-pin slow charging unit. The upgrades to the Zoe will be added to all new models from Spring 2015 Renault say.

8. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV S – PHEV

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV-S (Image: Mitsubishi)
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV-S (Image: Mitsubishi)

Following on from the successful Outlander PHEV launch in 2014, Mitsubishi plans to release the Outlander PHEV-S. Power for the Outlander PHEV-S is expected to come from the same four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol and twin electric motor system that drives the original car. This will see up to 204bhp sent to all four wheels, resulting in a 0-62mph time of 11 seconds and a 106mph top speed, whilst offering 148mpg and emissions as low as 44g/km CO2. The main difference will be in appearance, offering a refined interior and exterior design that will magnify the Outlander PHEV’s unique driving experience. Pricing to be announced.

9. Audi Q7 Quattro plug-in hybrid – PHEV

Audi Q7 e-tron Quattro (Image: Audi)
Audi Q7 e-tron Quattro (Image: Audi)

The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro, which will be launched soon after its conventionally powered counterparts in the spring, is the first plug in hybrid from Audi with a diesel engine. It is also the world’s first diesel PHEV with quattro all-wheel drive in the premium SUV segment. It returns the equivalent of up to 166.1mpg, which corresponds to less than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometre and can travel just under 35 miles on battery-electric power alone. Pricing to be announced.

10. Peugeot Quartz – PHEV

Peugeot Quartz PHEV (Image: Peugeot)
Peugeot Quartz PHEV (Image: Peugeot)

The Quartz plug-in hybrid concept mixes elements of a crossover vehicle and a saloon, to bring a new take on the SUV segment. It uses a plug-in hybrid drive train comprising of a 1.6-litre petrol engine supplemented by two 85kW electric motors, driving each axle. When the vehicle is in ZEV mode, it utilises the electric motor only and can cover up to 31 miles on a single battery charge. Peugeot have estimated the vehicle will not reach production until 2016; it will be interesting to see if the striking design mellows between now and then.

Source: Zap-Map

Volkswagen twin-up! PHEV (Image: VW)

Top Ten 2015 Green Car – Twin-up!

The year 2015 will see the strengthening of the market for electric vehicles (EVs); both pure electric and plug-in hybrids. With over 17,000 EVs already on UK roads, Next Green Car forecasts almost 40,000 will be in use by the end of the year.

New low emission petrol and diesel models will also be launched in 2015 with a shift to petrol cars reflecting the increasing concern about air quality. While diesel vehicles can offer lower CO2 emissions, petrol units provide lower NOx and particulates which are associated with poor respiratory health in urban areas. Look out for fuel-frugal petrol two- and three-cylinder turbo engines which can now offer the driving performance of larger engines.

As noted by Dr Ben Lane, Managing Editor of Next Green Car: “2015 will see a continuing roll out of battery electric and plug-in hybrid models as UK motorists become more accustomed to electric drive-trains. This year will be the year when EVs start to considered as ‘normal’.

“If an electric car isn’t right for your driving requirements, an ever increasing choice of sub-100 gCO2/km petrol and diesel models will become available with zero car tax and high MPG. You will need to choose a conventional model wisely, however, as the official MPG figures of some brands are increasingly at odds with the real-world fuel economy data.”

To mark a year which will bring high quality, high-tech, low emission models to UK showrooms, the following ‘Top 10’ list highlights some of the most important models due for launch and delivery in 2015.

1: Volkswagen twin-up! – Plug-in Hybrid – CO2: 27 g/km

Volkswagen twin-up! PHEV (Image: VW)
Volkswagen twin-up! PHEV (Image: VW)

The twin-up!’s 55kW powertrain consists of a 0.8 litre TDI diesel engine working in conjunction with a 35kW electric motor. The energy storage system includes a lithium-ion battery (energy capacity: 8.6 kWh), a conventional 12V battery for on-board electrics, and a 33 litre capacity fuel tank.

On the official test cycle, the twin-up! delivers a combined fuel economy of over 250 MPG with a CO2 emissions of just 27 g/km. In zero-emission operation the PHEV can cover a range of 31 miles and is anything but a slouch: the twin-up! accelerates up to 62 mph in 15.7 seconds and has an all-electric top speed of 80 mph. Pricing to be announced.

2: Smart fortwo 1.0 start/stop – Petrol – CO2: 93 g/km – NGC: 26

3: SKODA Fabia 1.4 TDI – Diesel – CO2: 88 g/km – NGC: 25

4: Kia Soul EV – Electric – CO2: 0 g/km – NGC: 32 (14)**

Kia Soul EV
Kia Soul EV

The new Soul EV is the result of almost 30 years of research and development into the feasibility of electric vehicles at Kia and it shows. A 27 kWh lithium-ion battery gives the Soul EV an official range of 132 miles beating everything but the Model S. As you’d expect for an electric car, the Soul EV is quiet and perfect for nipping around town. Unlike most other EVs, however, it also scores highly on the use of low impact materials including bio-degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric which are all used in the interior. Zero tail-pipe emissions mean zero London Congestion Charge and zero car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty). Priced from £24,995 the Soul EV isn’t cheap but it does come with Kia’s class-leading 7-year warranty.

 **If powered using renewable (e.g. wind, solar) electricity

5: Mazda2 1.5 SKYACTIV-D – Diesel – CO2: 89 g/km – NGC: 27

6: Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive – CO2: 0 g/km

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (Image: NGC)
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (Image: NGC)

The Mercedes-Tesla relationship is evident (and welcome) in the B-Class ED with the drive-train and battery pack coming from the California-based company. Capable of 125 miles per full charge, the B-Class ED provides electric motoring in a quality package with more reserved styling than some other brands such as the BMWi range. While the motors can deliver up to 179 bhp (Sport mode), two other driving modes are available: ‘Economy’, where power is limited to 131 bhp; and ‘Economy Plus’ with just 87 bhp and a maximum speed of 70 mph. Expected to be priced from around £27,000.

7: VW Passat GTE – Plug-in Hybrid – CO2:

Volkswagen Passat GTE PHEV
Volkswagen Passat GTE PHEV

Now in its eighth incarnation, the new Passat range includes the GTE, the first Passat with a plug-in hybrid drive. Powered by a turbocharged direct injection petrol engine (TSI) and an 85kW electric motor, the GTE is capable (on the official test) of over 141 MPG (petrol) and 13.0 kWh/100km (electric) with CO2 emission of under 45 g/km. On a full tank and fully recharged 9.9 kWh lithium-ion battery, the new PHEV has a total driving range of over 620 miles. In ‘E-Mode’, the Passat GTE can also cover a distance of up to 31 miles with zero emissions. AC charging options include standard (or ‘slow’) charging at 2.3 kW from a domestic socket in 4.25 hours or an optional a home 3.6 kW charger which provides a full charge in 2.5 hours. Anticipated pricing from around £20,000.

8: VOLVO XC90 – Plug-in Hybrid – CO2: TBC* g/km

Volvo XC90 Plug-in Hybrid (Image: AutoExpress)
Volvo XC90 Plug-in Hybrid

No doubt encouraged by the huge success of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Volvo will bring its own plug-in SUV to market in 2015, in addition to the usual range of petrol and diesel engines. While all will offer four-wheel drive, for the first time there will also be a front-wheel drive option. The XC90 PHEV will also feature a collection of entertainment and safety technology including a 9.3 inch screen compatible with Apple’s new CarPlay interface and Volvo’s new collision avoidance system. The XC90 range is priced from £45,750.

9: Toyota Mirai FCV – Hydrogen Fuel Cell – CO2: 0 g/km

10: Tesla Model X – Electric – CO2: 0 g/km

Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X

Originally scheduled for 2013, Tesla recently announced that the eagerly anticipated Model X crossover will be launched in the third quarter of 2015. Despite being larger than the Model S, the all-wheel electric drive will give the Model X a similar level of performance (that’s 0 to 60 mph in around 5.9 seconds!). With 10% additional weight, the expected driving range will be slightly less; around 170 miles for the 60 kWh battery pack or 230 miles for 85 kWh battery. One the striking features of the next Tesla will be its rear ‘Falcon’ doors which open upwards instead of swinging outward. Final pricing has yet to be announced. Although its been a while in coming, with the new Model X, Tesla is unlikely to disappoint.

Read more: Next Green Car

B-Class Electric Drive reduces CO2 emissions by as much as 64 percent

Stuttgart. Locally emission-free, significantly more eco-friendly over its complete life cycle thanks to 64 percent lower CO2 emissions than the equivalent B 180 petrol model, generous in terms of space and range (200 km) and still dynamic on the road (output of 132 kW): the B-Class Electric Drive is a convincing proposition in all sorts of ways. Its high environmental compatibility has now also been confirmed by the inspectors at the TÜV Süd technical inspection authority, who have awarded the electric-drive Sports Tourer from Mercedes-Benz the environmental certificate in accordance with ISO standard TR 14062. This certification is based on a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of the B-Class Electric Drive, documenting every detail of relevance for the environment.

“The fact that we are able to integrate the electric motor and batteries into a perfectly ‘normal’ B-Class does not only mean that we can assemble the Electric Drive alongside the other B-Class vehicles on one production line, but almost more importantly means that our customers do not have to make any compromises at all in terms of spaciousness, safety or comfort”,

explained Professor Dr Herbert Kohler, Chief Environmental Officer at Daimler AG.

“The B-Class Electric Drive is an important milestone along our journey towards emission-free driving.”

Mercedes-Benz analyses the environmental compatibility of its models throughout their entire life cycle – from production, through their long years of service, to recycling at the end of their lives. This analysis goes far beyond the legal requirements. The Environmental Certificate and supplementary information are made available to the public as part of the “Life Cycle” documentation series, which can be accessed at http://www.mercedes-benz.com.

Over its entire life cycle, comprising production, use over 160,000 kilometres and recycling, the B-Class Electric Drive produces emissions of CO2 that are 24 percent (7.2 tonnes – EU electricity mix) or 64 percent (19 tonnes – hydroelectricity) lower than those of the B 180 – despite the higher emissions generated during the production process. This is due primarily to the exceptional efficiency of the electric motor, which gives rise to significant advantages during the use phase. One key factor here is its ingenious energy management system: the optional radar-based regenerative braking system, for example, ensures the optimal recuperation of braking energy back into the battery. This further enhances the efficiency of the drive system and enables even greater ranges.

CO2 emissions during the use phase here depend upon the method used to generate electricity. In 160,000 kilometres of driving use, the new B-Class Electric Drive (NEDC combined consumption from 16.6 kWh/100 km) produces 11.9 tonnes of CO2, assuming use of the EU electricity mix. When electricity generated by hydroelectric means is used to power the electric vehicle, the other environmental impacts relating to electricity generation are also almost entirely avoided. The B 180 (NEDC combined consumption 5.4 l/100 km) on the other hand emits 23.8 tonnes of CO2 during the use phase.

Source: Daimler

Mercedes B Class Electric

Mercedes B Class Electric Not Available to Test Drive

We are currently in the process of trying to arrange test drives of the new Mercedes B Class Electric for our customers. According to various news reports and press releases (like this one) the B Class Electric is available to order now in the UK.

However, we have been in touch with two different Mercedes dealers in the south of England and they both tell the same story. They are not expecting to have cars to test drive until about Easter, and deliveries would be some time after that.

That’s a pretty disappointing state of affairs. We’ve certainly yet to hear of any B Class Electrics being delivered in the UK, so that’s consistent with what we’ve been told.

We’ll keep following up on this, and report here if we get any new information.

Mercedes B Class Electric (Image: MB)

Order books open for electric Mercedes B-Class

Mercedes has opened the UK order books for its first volume electric car, the B-Class Electric Drive.

Available in two trim levels – Sport and Electric Art – the B-Class Electric Drive can cover up to 142 miles on a single charge and accelerate from 0-62 mph in 7.9 seconds, making it, says Mercedes, the fastest five-seat electric car in its class.

The B-Class Electric Drive is powered by lithium-ion batteries located under the car floor, so it retains the versatility of the B-Class MPV on which it’s based, with seating for five and 501 litres of boot space – rising to 1,456 litres with the rear seats folded. It comes with a fast-charging cable, which enables a full charge in three to four hours, compared to up to nine hours from a conventional home supply.

Available in a choice of eight paint finishes, the Sport model’s standard equipment list includes 17-inch alloy wheels, unique front and rear bumper designs, LED daytime running lights, a 7-inch central display, Artico trim, automatic climate control, a reversing camera and cruise control.

The Electric Art model – available in either Cirrus White or South Seas Blue – features contrasting mirrors and radiator grille elements, 18-inch dual colour alloy wheels, automatic climate control, contrast blue stitching on the seats and aluminium trim.

Mercedes B Class Electric (Image: MB)
Mercedes B Class Electric (Image: MB)

An optional Energy Assist Package (£945) features adaptive energy recuperation systems to sense road conditions via the forward facing radar. When traffic is identified, increased recuperation is employed to make the most of any deceleration. Likewise, it can use signals from the COMAND system (when specified) to read the topography of the road ahead and adapt accordingly. The driver can override the regenerative cycle via the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel to alter the level of retardation – reducing the likelihood of any energy being wasted.

Further measures fitted as part of the Energy Assist Package include privacy glass and a heated windscreen to reduce load on the air conditioning system, increased insulation around the doors and windows and the addition of a Range Plus button for occasional use, adding extra range to the battery capacity than would normally be feasible. Finally, the car will emit a subtle but audible signal at speeds of up to 18 mph to warn pedestrians of its presence.

The new Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is available to order now for 2015 deliveries.

Volkswagen e-UP (Image: VW)

2014 Next Green Car Awards fetes VW e-Up!, Tesla Model S

The California-made Tesla Model S was one of about a dozen models given props by the Next Green Car Awards. And the prizes ran the gamut between conventional, diesel, plug-in and battery-electric powertrains because who doesn’t like variety?

Leading off in the Next Green Car awards was the Volkswagen e-Up!, which took home the City Car award:

“With the e-up!, Volkswagen has produced a high quality, practical and affordable electric city car which is perfect for zero-emission urban driving where space is a premium.”

Americans may associate “Family Estate” cars with huge, fake-wood-paneled station wagons of the ’70s and ’80s (and with Clark Griswold), but NGC gave the Family Estate award to the far-more-fun Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid.

“As the first plug-in hybrid estate car, the A3 Sportback e-tron perfectly combines conventional fuel practicality for long distance driving with zero-emission motoring for urban trips.”

The Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid, Nissan e-NV200 Combi and Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric were also all given props.

“The Outlander PHEV sets the SUV bar high offering plug-in capability for the price of a diesel. With a 5% BIK rate, you can see why the Outlander is the UK’s most popular plug-in hybrid.”

“With the e-NV200, Nissan has broken new ground offering an affordable and practical zero-emission alternative to the ubiquitous diesel van.”

“Powered by Tesla know-how, the Mercedes electric B-Class brings electric mobility to the compact MPV class for the first time. High on quality, long on range, and zero on emissions.”

Finally, the Tesla took home the top-of-the-line “Executive” prize.

“Simply the most beautiful and technologically advanced electric car on the market, the Model S combines a gadget-packed interior with an exhilarating electric driving experience.”

Read more: Autoblog, Next Green Car

Mercedes B Class Electric

Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive first drive review

Exceptionally refined with punchy overtaking abilities and impressive ride and handling. Premium driving experience at expense of ultimate usability

What is it?

This is the Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive, the manufacturer’s pure electric version of the newly facelifted B-class.

Rather than follow the lead of the BMW i3 and build an electric car around an all-new architecture, this EV is based on the standard production car, which has needed the minimum of amount engineering changes.

Taking inspiration from the original A- and B-class models, the new-generation car has the option of a ‘sandwich’ version of the rear half of the car’s platform.

Called the ‘Energy Space’ by Mercedes, raising the floor in the rear half of the cabin frees up underfloor space, which, in the EV, accommodates the lithium-ion battery pack. This space is also used by the natural gas-powered version of the B-class to accommodate three gas tanks.

The upshot is that the B-class is as effectively as spacious as the mainstream versions, which means a good 500-litre boot, generous head and legroom and the option of a fold-forward front passenger seat, which allows loads well over two metres long to be swallowed.

The electric drive system has been sourced from Tesla (interestingly, the day this production car was launched to the press was same day Daimler disposed of its four per cent stake in Tesla, which it had held since 2009).

The B-class Electric Drive has a three-mode operation. Economy Plus – designed for constant steady-speed journeys – reduces the output of the motor to just 83bhp and top speed to 68mph. Economy reduces output to 132bhp and Sport offers the motor’s full 179bhp. However, the two Economy modes can be overridden and full power and torque accessed by the driver using the kickdown function.

If the ‘Collision Prevent Assist Plus’ system is added as an optional extra, this B-class acquires a very neat radar-assisted recuperative braking system. Using information from the radar about the state of traffic ahead, the car can use battery-charging braking to slow itself or, when the road ahead is clear and/or downhill, switch to ‘sailing mode’ which doesn’t use any battery power.

Fully recharging the B-class via a 16-amp home wall socket will take around nine hours if the battery is empty. Using a 400-volt three-phase electricity supply (rather more common in Asia than Europe), the car can be recharged in just three hours.

What is it like?

Very impressive indeed. In terms of all-round refinement and pace, the electric B-class is far better than its internal combustion engine sister cars. Indeed, the car’s effortless torque and near-silent progress puts it in a category of its own.

This car has the refinement that would shame some luxury models and the kind of effortless overtaking ability that would trouble some hot hatches.

What’s most disorientating is that these two sides of motoring excellence are delivered in a humble-looking baby MPV. It’s hard to work out why, but even the steering response and ride quality of the electric B-class is markedly better than what we experienced with the all-wheel-drive B220 and the gas-powered B200.

On the wider issue of the facelift, there’s no doubt that B-Class looks much better. The somewhat melted appearance of the original version has been fixed thanks to a much more taught front bumper design and wheels that now properly fill the arches.

It’s also a handy size, well-packaged and nicely finished inside. The big, tablet-sized screen on the dashboard might look a little clunky, but is ideally placed and the graphics and presentation of Mercedes-Benz’s sat-nav system is first rate.

Should I buy one?

There’s no doubt this is a delightful car to drive, genuinely enjoyable and satisfying. The downside, of course, is the limited range of the electric B-class and – without a supply of industrial three-phase electricity – the lengthy recharge time.

True, being able to replenish the battery overnight would be fine for anybody whose daily mileage is less than 100 miles.

The price of this car (post government grant) is just about that of a B220 diesel with an automatic transmission. In terms of driving pleasure it is leagues ahead.

As odd as may seem, any lover of driving ability will love the B-class, regardless of its market position as a truly ‘green’ MPV.

Source: Autocar

Mercedes’ first electric car goes on sale

Mercedes-Benz has opened the order books for its first fully electric car in Germany; the new B-Class E-Cell.

Based on the combustion B-Class hatchback, the new E-Cell model is due to go on sale across Europe later this month.

But details have already emerged about price and specifications that customers in Germany can expect to enjoy, giving us a better idea of what to expect when the B-Class arrives here.

According to details emerging from Germany, the E-Cell will be available to lease from €399 a month (around £312 a month and based on a 3 year, 30,0000 kilometre contract hire agreement with a €8,473.31 deposit).

To buy the new model, costs from €39,151 (£30,621.61) – making around £8,000 more than an entry-level combustion B-Class, and therefore highly affordable once government grants are taken into account.

Strong performance

Fitted with a 132kW electric motor, offering max torque of 340Nm, the new B-Class will deliver on performance too, with a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds (almost as good as the best in the B-Class range, the B220 Sport 7G DCT 4MATIC, at 7.5 seconds).

There will also be a 124 mile range – comparable to that of the Nissan LEAF.

There is also a choice of three drive modes; Economy Plus, Economy and Sport.

With the lithium ion battery pack safely tucked under the floor, the B-Class offers impressive 501 litres of boot space and is offered in a choice of three trims; Style, Urban and the exclusive Electric Art.

Mercedes will also offer Range Plus as an option, which can extend the range of the E-Cell by around 18 miles. The driver simply presses the Range Plus button on the dash to extend the range. This option also include a heated windscreen, various insulation measures and heat-insulating, dark-tinted glass.

There is also an optional radar-based, regenerative braking system (€416.50) which uses data from Collision Prevention Assist Plus system to either increase or reduce to zero, as appropriate, the level of regeneration and therefore deceleration.

To protect pedestrians and cyclists, an acoustic vehicle alerting (€119) is also offered and generates a specific Mercedes-Benz sound up to a speed of 18mph.

The B-Class Electric Drive will come as standard with a charging cable for wallbox and public charging stations (faster charging, Mode 3) although a charging cable for a domestic socket will also be offered at no extra cost.

For an extra €297.50, customers can order a combination of a charging cable for a standard household socket (Mode 2) and a charging cable for wallbox and public charging stations (faster charging, Mode 3).

More details of a UK-bound B-Class E-Cell are due to be released in the coming weeks as order books are expected to be opened here too this month.

Source: Green Car Website