Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to introduce the B-Class Electric Drive compact car in the U.S., making the all-electric vehicle a first of its kind in the country. The German automaker is likely to use Tesla battery technology.
The compact from Mercedes has a 115-mile range and four-hour charge time on its electric batteries, which are likely to be produced by Tesla, since Mercedes' parent company Daimler owns a 4.7-percent stake in Tesla Motors, according to Wired.
The B-Class is a popular car in Europe for Mercedes but until now, the five-door hatchback was not sold in the U.S. It will go on sale next year, only available as the electric version.
The B-Class E.D., as it's called, sports a similar body to its gasoline sibling but has an electric motor and battery. The car has 100 kilowatts (around 135 horsepower) with maximum torque — nearly 230 pound-feet. It can reach up to 100 mph and go 0-60 mph in under 10 seconds.
The B-Class can go for an additional 60 miles in less than two hours when plugged into a 240-volt outlet. According to Wired, the lithium-ion battery pack is in the neighborhood of 30 kilowatt-hours, making it about 20-percent bigger than the pack in the Nissan Leaf, and is likely to come from Tesla.
The B-Class connectivity features include an embedded data connection to let owners check battery and charge status via their computers or smartphones. Infotainment features include the Comand Online system with navigation and voice control. Both are offered as options, not standard.
Although Mercedes hasn't announced pricing, Wired estimates the B-Class will retail in the mid-$30,000 range.
As we reported earlier, Tesla CEO Elon Musk raised a lot of suspense earlier this week with a tweet that coyly suggested he will make a major announcement on Thursday. It is believed he may announce the Supercharger battery network.