Extended-Range Mercedes to Launch in 2013, But in Low Numbers

By · January 17, 2012

M-B B-Class E-Cell

Mercedes-Benz will unveil its production-ready B-Class E-Cell at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

Mercedes-Benz says it will unveil a production-ready version of the B-Class E-Cell at the 2012 New York Auto Show in April, and could add the vehicle to its US lineup in 2013. The company first unveiled the range-extended electric vehicle at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack from Deutsche ACCUmotive—a joint venture between Daimler and Evonik—the E-Cell Plus boasts an electric-only range of up to 62 miles. A 67-horsepower, 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine takes care of range-extending duties, providing the E-Cell with a total range of 373 miles.

The E-Cell's electric drive system pumps out 100 kW (136 hp). At low speeds, the 1.0-liter engine charges the battery via a generator. As speeds increase, the three-cylinder engine assists the vehicle's electric drive in propelling the E-Cell down the road. Mercedes-Benz says the E-Cell scoots from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 11 seconds, with a top speed of 93 mph.

M-B B-Class E-Cell schematic

The extended-range Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-Cell should reach US dealerships in 2013.

Baby Steps Only

Mercedes-Benz is quiet on the E-Cell's specific launch date and isn't yet willing to discuss production volumes, but the German automaker insists the B-Class E-Cell will enter the production cycle.

Yet, based on past statements from Daimler executives, we shouldn't expect Mercedes-Benz to do much more than dip its toe in the water. Last year, PluginCars.com spoke with Christian Mohrdieck, Daimler’s director of fuel cell and battery drive development, who characterized the EV movement as "hype." He said that battery, and fuel cell technology, takes time to develop. "People have very high expectations in terms of quality and reliability of the car," said Mohrdieck. "There will be an increasing number of battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, but it won’t just jump from zero to 100,000 cars a year."

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