By J.P Mutt, Contributing Writer
From 1886 when Carl Benz was awarded a German patent number for a three- wheeled, self-propelled “Motorwagen,” to today’s global, luxury, automotive empire, Mercedes-Benz continues to shift the paradigms of safety, style and performance.
Safety features included as standard are Attention Assist and Prevention Assist, with Blind Spot Assist being optional. Mercedes-Benz owners have come to appreciate these features that identify driver drowsiness and provide radar assisted warnings, to avoid frontal collisions and warn of vehicles located in blind spots.
The B-Class is truly fun to drive. The car is perfect for the city being compact, stylish and comfortable, but has ample power for canyon driving, nimbly handling hairpin bends, and braking responsively when needed. To sum it up, it’s a Mercedes-Benz and it drives like one.
The base price for the B-Class starts at $42,000, and well equipped is in the range of $52,000. With the $7,500 Federal Tax Credit, the cost of going ‘green’ Mercedes-Benz style is accessible, especially considering the luxury, technology and safety that comes standard with this brand.
As the automobile industry evolves further into the alternative fuel sector, and manufacturers start to offer more ‘green’ choices, Mercedes-Benz continues to dominate. With an on-going commitment to further reduce fleet emissions, the company has the most hybrid vehicles (buses, vans and cars) on the road globally, offering vehicles such as the E250 Blue TEC. Producing its first electric car in 1906, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the B-Class Electric Drive to the American public in 2014, one hundred years later. The five-passenger, front wheel hatchback offers quick, electric powered acceleration, with an attractive interior fit and finish expected from Mercedes-Benz.
Power is provided by a 177-hp electric motor that runs off a Tesla-manufactured, lithium-ion battery located under the floor. The motor generates 251 lb-ft torque which, according to the manufacturer, can propel the car from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. The low center of gravity from the battery placement results in very responsive handling.
This car is not a hybrid; it’s 100% electric. Its estimated driving range from a complete charge is from 85 to 115 miles, depending on driving style. Charging time can range from 3.5 hours with a 240v charge, to 32 hours at 120v. The recommendation is to opt for the 240v system.
The interior is clean and crisp in Mercedes-Benz tradition, similar to the C-Class in terms of finish level. The seating features 12-way adjustable power front seats and split folding rear seats, accommodating up to five people with four fitting comfortably. With the rear seat folded down, the car can handle over 51 cubic feet of cargo.
The dashboard instruments are well laid out and include a power meter and a range indicator, designed to assist in both monitoring and maximizing the mileage. The steering wheel can control the multifunction 5.8” color screen display. Navigation can be voice controlled, and hands-free calling and wireless phone audio streaming via Bluetooth, are standard equipment.
Sustainability has long been a consideration for Mercedes-Benz and its parent company, Daimler. The 1991 S-Class was the world’s first CFC-free vehicle, in both its air conditioning and entire production process. Vehicle interiors have long used steam-expanded foam, sustainably forested wood, and natural products from coconut, flax, hemp and olives. Mercedes-Benz have also used water-borne paint and coded plastic parts for recycling for decades, and half of the patents earned in 2010 were for green technologies, with Blue TEC rated #1 in CO2 emissions in Germany’s luxury class.
Mercedes-Benz is known for designing cars of exceptional durability that are built to last. With the industry progressing, new technology will be initiated through the developments (and requirements) in Formula 1 Grand Prix racing, resulting in more advanced applications in mass produced automobiles. We should not lose sight that Mercedes-Benz is one of the leaders in Formula 1 racing technology today, as we look forward to new technologies and sustainability being further incorporated into their fleet.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive. Smart. Luxurious. Electric.
Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz USA