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Auto Show : 2013 New York Auto Show

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: New York Auto Show

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author photo by Doug DeMuro

What is it?

The B-Class is a Mercedes-Benz hatchback, currently offered in foreign markets like Europe and Canada. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is an all-electric version of the model slated to go on sale in the U.S. It's powered by a 28-killowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery that delivers 134 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque. Despite its relatively low power figures, the B-Class Electric Drive still reaches 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds. And, according to Mercedes, it has a range of around 115 miles.

How much?

Mercedes hasn't announced pricing, but we'd expect pricing it to start well above $40,000. Of course, that's before various federal and state tax credits available for electric vehicles.

When can you get it?

The all-electric B-Class goes on sale in May 2013.

Add it to your shopping list because...

With 115 miles of range, the all-electric B-Class is a serious competitor to many of today's best electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf. But it also offers an upscale image, thanks to its Mercedes badge and high-end features. That's good news for luxury-oriented shoppers who want to reduce their environmental impact. Like most EVs, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive can be recharged from any power outlet. But for customers who install a 240-volt Level 2 charger, Mercedes says the B-Class can recharge to provide 60 miles of range in just two hours.

Other cars to consider:

Chevrolet Volt: The Volt uses a range-extending gasoline engine in addition to its electric motor, so you can keep driving without recharging. Like the B-Class, the Volt is also a 5-door hatchback -- and it also starts around $40,000 before incentives and tax rebates.

Ford C-Max Energi: The C-Max Energi shares the B-Class's tall-roof, 5-door bodystyle. In fact, the two models are close competitors in Europe. In the U.S., the C-Max comes in two forms: a hybrid and the Energi, which is a range-extended EV like the Chevy Volt. The C-Max Energi starts around $34,000.

Ford Focus Electric: Priced from $40,000, the Focus Electric also offers a fully electric drivetrain and a hatchback bodystyle. With 143 hp, the Focus Electric is slightly more powerful than the B-Class.

Nissan Leaf: The Leaf remains the most popular electric car. The 2013 Leaf starts under $30,000, while upscale versions can reach into the high-$30,000 range. The leaf has 107 horsepower and can travel about 100 miles on a single charge.

Toyota Prius Plug-In: Unlike the B-Class or the Focus, the Prius Plug-In uses an electric motor mated to a range-extending gasoline engine. Priced from $33,000, high-end versions of the Prius Plug-In offer premium features such as radar cruise control and a heads-up display.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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