2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class electric drive arrives in U.S.

The 2014 B-Class Electric Drive, Mercedes-Benz's new four-door electric vehicle hatchback, will arrive at dealerships in July with a price tag of $42,375, including a $925 destination charge. The B-Class Electric Drive could be eligible for federal tax credits of as much as $7,500, in addition to state and local credits, including up to a 10 percent rebate (up to $4,000) of the transaction price  in the state of Illinois.

The luxury EV initially will be available only in 10 states, including California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, with nationwide expansion expected to be announced next year. The EV version is the only variant of the B-Class available in the U.S.; gas and diesel models are sold internationally.

The automaker says the electric motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, is equivalent in power to a three-cylinder gas engine making 177 horsepower and 251 pounds-feet of torque. Mercedes-Benz estimates a zero-to-60 mph time of 7.9 seconds and a top speed of 100 mph. The automaker also said charge time for 60 miles of range should take less than two hours on a 240-volt outlet; the vehicle's maximum range is estimated at 85 miles. When the B-Class originally was announced, its range was expected to be 115 miles; that figure is 30 miles more than the estimated range now being reported.

Standard equipment on the five-seat, front-wheel-drive B-Class Electric Drive includes navigation, a collision prevention system with adaptive braking, Attention Assist, 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-year 100,000-mile battery warranty, no-cost annual maintenance and roadside assistance. In addition, the Vehicle Homepage system allows owners to access the vehicle remotely via computer or smartphone to monitor info such as the charging progress, the vehicle's map position and recharging stations along a planned route, in addition to pre-entry climate control.

The B-Class Electric Drive, which we first saw at the 2013 New York International Auto Show, has exterior and interior dimensions roughly the same as Ford's C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, but is much more expensive. The Energi starts at $33,745, including destination.

For more on plug-in car availability by state and MPGe ranking, click here. 

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