Slow to embrace the first wave of hybrid power, German luxury makers seem to be in a race to see who can now add more battery-based models to their line-up. We saw a flood of new offerings at the Geneva Motor Show, earlier this month, including the first plug-in hybrid from Audi, the A3 e-Tron, as well as the production version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive supercar.
Mercedes plugs into the New York Auto Show with a decidedly different take on battery propulsion, its new B-Class Electric Drive making its world debut on the German maker’s stand at Jacob Javits Center.
Set to go on sale in the U.S. early next year – likely with a focus on the green-minded California market – the Electric Drive is a battery-electric version of the maker’s compact people-mover, and the only version of the B-Class scheduled for sale in the States.
This is no stripped down electric. It will be filled with the sort of up-market touches you’d expect from the tri-star brand, asserts Dr. Joachim Schmidt, the Mercedes board member responsible for sales and marketing: “The B-Class Electric Drive meets the wishes of many customers for emission-free driving without foregoing the hallmark attributes of a Mercedes-Benz, namely safety, comfort and, of course, not to forget exhilarating driving pleasure.”