Unlike other manufacturers who opted for the more complex option of producing a bespoke car, Mercedes launched their first all-electric model as a radical element of the re-launch of the highly successful Mercedes B-Class MPV brand.
It is a new breed of Mercedes, but the B-Class Electric Drive arrives with a pedigree stemming from the established, conventionally powered production model.
That said there was some smart engineering required to install the new power source. Mercedes created an ‘Energy Space’ in a sandwich formed from a lowered underfloor and raised rear floor into which was slotted a lithium-ion battery pack. While the rear bench seat is slightly higher the boot space remains the same at very practical 486-litres.
The 179bhp electric motor, co-developed with Tesla, provides the Electric Drive with a range of around 124 miles and can take it from 0-60 in a highly respectable 7.9 seconds. Three driving modes are available, two of which feature regenerative braking to keep the ED on the road.
The optional Energy Assist package includes a heated windscreen and radar-based regeneration, which helps ensure more efficient driving. Range Plus adds a further 18 miles to the ED’s capability through efficiency measures including additional insulation and all-round tinted privacy glass which reduces the need for cabin heating or cooling.
Recharging can be completed in 3 hours from a public station or dedicated home wall box.
The ED range currently boasts two models, Sport and Electric Art, both with distinctive highlights, paint and an extensive list of standard equipment. Additional packages – Exclusive, Executive and Premium – offer owner’s the opportunity to enhance their car with optional extras.