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Frankfurt auto show: Mercedes-Benz previews the electric B-class

Wed, 14 Sep 2011

Mercedes-Benz revealed an electric-powered B-class with range-extending capabilities at the Frankfurt motor show. This rounds out the company's line of standard gasoline- and diesel-engine versions in the second generation of the multipurpose fiver-seater.

Set to go on sale in selected markets in 2013, the B-class E-cell Plus is propelled by a 136-hp electric motor that draws electricity from a lithium-ion battery mounted low within the car's MFA platform structure.

Together with plug-in capability, the E-cell Plus also uses a new 67-hp, turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine--the same unit earmarked for the next-generation Smart Fortwo--to generate electricity on the run, which in turn is stored in the battery.

The new car's electric-only range is put at 62 miles--rising to more than 370 miles in combination with the so-called range-extender engine, which is capable of providing direct drive to the front wheels with the electric motor at speeds topping 37 mph.

Mercedes-Benz puts the 0-to-62-mph time at less than 11 seconds, while top speed is limited to 93 mph.

By Greg Kable