Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive features bonus-range button

Option unlocks an extra 17 miles of charging capacity, but could affect battery life.

Mercedes-Benz' new B-Class Electric Drive reportedly includes an optional range-extension feature that was not highlighted in initial launch announcements.

The company's configurator includes a "temporary range extender" that allows drivers to press a button on the console and unlock an extra 17 miles of range on the next charge cycle. Without the bonus range, the EV provides a company-estimated 115 miles of driving.

Electric vehicle makers are forced to make compromises in battery charge levels and drain allowances to provide long-term battery life. Depending on particular battery chemistry, both overcharging and regular deep cycles can negatively affect future charge capacity.

The range-extender button appears to put some of the battery-management power back in the hands of the owner, who might be willing to occasionally cycle the battery outside of the optimum range if they need a bit more range to make specific trips.

"Range extender should only be used on a limited basis, and could shorten battery life if used excessively," reads the disclaimer, which was first spotted by Autoblog.

The range-extender button adds $600 to the B-Class Electric Drive, which starts at $41,450 in the US market.

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