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Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive coming to US this summer

by Justin King

After launch delay, EPA range estimate drops again to 85 miles with smaller 28 kWh battery.

Mercedes-Benz is finally readying its B-Class Electric Drive for a US launch sometime this summer.

The concept model introduced in 2012 promised to deliver a 125-mile range with a 36 kWh battery, however the production edition will be offered with a smaller 28 kWh pack that provides enough charge to drive for an estimated 85 miles.

The Tesla-developed electric drivetrain generates 177 horsepower and 251 lb-ft of torque, enabling the compact to reach 60 mph from a standstill in 7.9 seconds. It lists an electronically limited top speed of 100 mph.

The company suggests a two-hour charge time on a 240V connection will give the EV enough juice to run for up to 60 miles.

Despite its modest exterior aesthetics, the B-Class aims to deliver a sportier interior consistent with other Mercedes-Benz offerings. The instrument cluster and infotainment system have been modified slightly from the gasoline-powered edition, adding a power display to track energy consumption.

With a $41,450 price tag, the B-Class Electric Drive appears to be directly aimed at BMW's i3. The latter carries a similar price and offers similar range, though it is a bit snappier off the line and can be paired with an optional gasoline-burning range extender.

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