Swift and smooth acceleration; whisper-quiet interior; easy-to-use regenerative braking.
Range isn't dramatically different from other less expensive EVs; less efficient than other EVs; availability limited to select states; stiff ride quality; limited standard equipment with pricey options list; less interior space than you'd expect.
What's New for 2014
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is an all-new model.
Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Hatchback
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What's New for 2014
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is an all-new model.
For many Americans, the Mercedes name has long been synonymous with large, powerful luxury sedans and SUVs. But you might have to rethink that image with the introduction of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric. This small, front-wheel-drive hatchback combines a U.S.-built battery-electric powertrain, a roomy interior and Mercedes' usual array of high-tech standard features and options. If you're searching for an EV but want something more upscale than what's traditionally been offered, the B-Class Electric could be an interesting option.
Built on a platform that's related to the new CLA entry-level sedan, the B-Class Electric is powered by a 132-kilowatt electric motor connected to a 28-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, both of which are supplied by electric car pioneer Tesla Motors. According to the EPA, that combo is good for 87 miles of range. Recharging with a 240-volt power source takes fewer than 4 hours, Mercedes says.
Inside, the 2014 B-Class Electric looks like a real Mercedes for the most part, with some premium materials and a suite of safety and multimedia features available on the options list. Unlike the cramped rear seating of the CLA sedan, the B-Class provides more headroom, and legroom for four adults. Luggage and cargo space are also good, as the battery pack is underneath the floor instead of taking up space inside the vehicle itself.
Despite its unique nature, though, the B-Class Electric has some clear shortcomings that are worth considering. There is a respectable amount of range by modern standards but it isn't very efficient in its use of power. On our Edmunds EV testing loop, a B-Class with the optional range-extension package went 105 miles before it ran out of power, but it used nearly 50 percent more power than a Volkswagen e-Golf along the same roads. Interior surfaces are an issue, too, as they may seem high-quality at first glance but the seats are stiff and many dashboard pieces are made from hard plastic. It's also worth noting that the B-Class is missing some standard equipment such as heated seats, navigation and a rearview camera.
Given the growing number of all-electric car models on the market these days, we think potential buyers would do well to check out some of the B-Class Electric's competitors. Its closest rival, the 2014 BMW i3, earns our recommendation for its superior performance and efficiency, cutting-edge carbon-fiber construction and futuristic interior. There are a few solid choices from mainstream brands, too. The 2014 Nissan Leaf and 2014 Ford Focus Electric lack the B-Class' upscale vibe but perform similarly in most other respects. We also recommend the Volkswagen e-Golf for its premium and roomy interior and pleasing driving characteristics.
While we like the concept of an affordable luxury EV, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric has too many drawbacks for us to fully recommend it.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric is a four-door hatchback with seating for five passengers. It is offered in a single trim level.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic wipers, air-conditioning, MB-Tex (premium vinyl) upholstery, 10-way power-adjustable front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, 60/40-split folding rear seats, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5.8-inch display screen, Mercedes' COMAND interface, mbrace emergency communications, a navigation system and an audio system with a CD player, a USB port and HD radio.
Most options are grouped into packages. The Premium package gets you bi-xenon headlights, auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirrors, heated front seats and a premium Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio and iPod integration. The Interior package includes leather upholstery and upgraded interior materials. The Multimedia package includes a rearview camera, an upgraded navigation system, a 7-inch display and an SD card reader.
A Range package includes a heated windshield, additional insulation in the roof and doors and an extended range mode that makes it possible to eke out a few extra miles between recharges.
Other stand-alone options include blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel parking system and a radar-based system that can adjust the B-Class' regenerative braking amount based on traffic conditions.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric is powered by a front-mounted 132-kilowatt electric motor connected to an underfloor-mounted lithium-ion battery pack. Both are supplied by Tesla Motors. The motor's output, which translates to 174 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque, is delivered to the front wheels.
The EPA estimates the B-Class Electric can travel on average 84 MPGe combined (85 MPGe city/83MPGe highway) before running out of juice. When equipped with the optional Range package, the B-Class can go an additional 17 miles, but Mercedes recommends that you use this feature only occasionally.
Recharging can take anywhere from 30 hours on standard 110-volt household current to 3.5 hours with a 240-volt charging station. The EPA rates the B-Class Electric's efficiency at 40 kWh of electric power used for 100 miles of driving (remember: the lower the number here, the better.) For comparison, the BMW i3 has a 27 kWh/100 miles rating and the e-Golf checks in with 29 kWh/100 miles.
During Edmunds testing, a B-Class sprinted from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 6.7 seconds. That's about 2 seconds quicker than the average electric vehicle. The only two electric vehicles we've tested that are quicker are the BMW i3 (6.6 seconds) and the Tesla Model S (4.4 seconds).
Standard safety features on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, active front head restraints, frontal collision warning and a driver attention monitor. The mbrace system includes automatic collision notification, roadside assistance, remote lock control and stolen vehicle location.
Front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and a blind-spot warning system are all available as options.
During Edmunds testing, a B-Class came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet, a few feet longer than average for an EV.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric offers an interior that has the aesthetically pleasing ambience you'd expect, especially when done up in two-tone color schemes and real wood trim. Design cues are typical Mercedes, from the circular air vents to the COMAND display screen perched atop the dash, which admittedly looks a bit too indicative of the aftermarket. The quality of some of the interior plastics is disappointing, too.
Front- and rear-seat headroom is acceptable, but taller occupants will have to slouch a bit. Rear seat legroom is adequate for adults. There is plenty of cargo space, though, with a healthy 21.6 cubic feet behind the 60/40-split rear seats; fold down those seatbacks and, though they don't fold completely flat, you still have a generous 51.4 cubic feet of space to work with.
Like other electric cars, the B-Class Electric delivers sprightly acceleration around town. This is no small feat considering the fact that its powertrain is tasked with moving a vehicle that weighs in at over 3,900 pounds. Different driving modes and adjustable levels of natural-feeling brake regeneration give the driver a choice of more energy-efficient or sportier performance.
On the whole, the driving experience in the B-Class Electric is unremarkable. It's just as quiet as you'd expect it to be, with no engine to generate noise and plenty of insulation, but seating comfort and ride quality aren't as good as we'd expect from a Mercedes-Benz in this price range. The seats are a bit firm and so is the ride, which largely interferes with an otherwise serene and quiet driving experience.
by anonymous on Jan 26, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Leased the 2014 B-Class in June of 2015 for $260/mo including the 3 yr maint. Fit and finish is very good, on par with MB standard. Car feels solid and the style makes it blends in with most other vehicles on the road. Descent acceleration at stop lights. I got the multimedia and extended range pkg. The command center is nice, however, even a Hyundai can put a touch screen in their vehicle, and this MB cost twice as much and yet only has a fixed display the show limited info.
Ventilation is poor for the back seats. If I have all the vents open in the front, there is very little air flow to the back. On damp days, if I do not have the A/C on, the windshield fogs up very quickly. Heating and cooling control was tucked way down in the center console, you have to take your eyes off the road and search for the button to make changes -- poor design.
The 1-finger seat fold down design is a welcome improvement. So are the blind spot and 'too close' braking warning. The 'drift off lane' warning needs a program rewrite as it often gave false alerts when I make turns.
The most important point of an EV - range. EPA and MB rated this car at 87 miles. I can only get 62-summer and 55-winter out of it. (Yes, warning for hot summer days (using A/C) and cold winter days (using heater), your mileage WILL vary!). This works OK during the week as I only have a 25 mile round trip commute. However, this limits/eliminates the usage for this vehicle for weekend trips (as EV charger are few and far in between in the tri state area). At lease for me, it is uncommon to travel over 30 miles 1-way to visit a friend/relative or my favorite bar/restaurant. The 60 mile range just doesn't cut it.
I try the 110v/12A charger that came with the vehicle when I first got the vehicle - added 20 miles over a 24hr period. and the salesman assures me that I can charge the vehicle within 8 hrs with this level 1 charger, go figure! With a Clipper Creek HC40, this car needs 3.5 hrs to charge to 100%.
The ride is very comfortable and quiet, very quiet. Entertainment system is OK considering the price of the car. Cost per mile is much better than my SUV but just a tag under the 30 mpg Corolla. So the savings will depend on which vehicle are you replacing.
Range, charge time, and available charging stations remains to be the weak points for these EVs (at lease at the time this review was written Jan2016).
by Brian Smith on Jan 4, 2016 Vehicle: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
These vehicles have commonly been leased/sold at considerable discounts to MSRP in low volume. Compared to the M-B vehicles offered at similar MSRP that we have driven as dealer loaners, such as the C-class and the GLA/GLC, the B-class is better appointed inside for couples or families, and is much less costly to own and operate. This is our first electric vehicle, and our first Mercedes-Benz. We were attracted, in large part, due to its safety, performance, interior room, and the fact that it doesn't have an "electric car" outward appearance. The fact that the B-class is sold in various configurations worldwide, and the Tesla-sourced motor abetted our confidence in selecting the electric drive U.S. version. After 1 year, we are very happy with the B-class and our decision, we are more educated about electric vehicles, and we would repeat the decision similarly, perhaps with the exception of insisting upon the range extender package to ameliorate our sub-freezing use of the vehicle and to better accommodate longer weekend getaway trips. Information risk was higher than average at the time of purchase, but the choice of the B-class over competing electric vehicles (and not in relation to any other M-B product) has proven to be a good selection. Understated value may be the theme here, and I'm glad we were able to spot it. Many of the benefits of the B-class over other electric vehicles are not those that are easily represented in comparison charts, just as many operating benefits of electric vehicles are not easily represented in comparison charts. If M-B revamped this model, or produced another electric vehicle at or below $65,000 MSRP, we'd be in the market. In the meantime, we'll be watching the used market prices as these vehicles come off-lease.
by Martin Schulter on Oct 11, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
This is a rare and unique Benz that's evolved from the B car originally sold only in Canada (gas).
The fact that Tesla has partnered with Benz to design, develop manufacture the drive train, batter, engine and ship it to Germany so that Benz can assemble it into their vehicle tells you more than anything else. Let's face it Tesla makes the finest EV cars, batteries you can get - not considering price point. That coupled with the fact that Benz offers an incredible lease deal: a $49,500 B literally loaded requires no more than $4,500 down and about $360 a month depending on what else you add to the lease like maintenance, no fault nicks small dents etc. The B is roomy, all Benz from materials, handling, quality to sharp looking looking EV. Remarkably well designed with all new hi-tech command system incorporating the latest apps smart looking fairly large command screen and all the usual Benz options: driver assistant w/lane change warning, 6 months free MBRACE & Serius Satellite, memory seats, etc.
One negative for the 2015 is the limited range: average 85 miles. I understand that the 2016 iOS that to about 115, which is a significant boost allowing more options before charging. The B also needs on board high speed charging. Overall rating A.
by harleymyk on Feb 9, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
Good amount of power, which is especially impressive at lower speeds. Very quiet, velvet smooth, and handles just fine on winding canyon roads. Small on the outside and a breeze to park. Love the luxury appointments and standard technology: rain sensing windshield wiper controls, power memory seats, and even a buzzer that goes off if it thinks you are getting drowsy. Plenty of room in the back seat for at least two adults. With the back seats folded down I can toss my bike in without taking off the front tire
You probably should not buy this car as your only vehicle. The 70-110 mile range works for me because I rarely drive more than 60 miles in a day and we have 2 other cars.
by alfi4 on Feb 7, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I am Doctor and driving 40 mile a day. Live in Glendale,CA. This was My first experience with electric Car.1- lack of Trained sales and service .2-Very limited charge Station and mostly not functional for this car.3-Real range of Drive about 60-70 mile 4-Car released by a level 1 charger(110/12 AMP),it means 110*12=1.3 KW.or other word if you use this adapter in regular home Plug :in the best condition(with 15 AMP plug and cable) will take 28:1.3=22 hrs to charge.5-A lot of noise in Audio system. 6- Performance is very Poor in uphill.7-No Fast charger
In summary: not practical for US. not functional with 110 Power. No Local support by Water and power company.Too much limitation
by rickc7 on Jan 9, 2015 Vehicle: 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive 4dr Hatchback (electric DD)
I've been driving my B class electric for 2 months now. I truly enjoy every time I get in this car. It is surprisingly quick off the line and passing on the highway. Okay, it's not a Tesla S, but it is a great car for half the price (the battery and motor are from Tesla). Mine has the Range package which includes the range extender (haven't used it yet), the heated windshield, the Harmon-Kardon sound system and the extra sound-proofing insulation in the doors and roof. This makes it a very quiet car. The sound system is much better than any car I've ever owned (may be partly due to the lack of engine noise). I drive it every day for commuting.
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