Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Put It on My Charge ; A Merc You Run off the Mains? Andy Enright on the B-Class Electric Drive

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Put It on My Charge ; A Merc You Run off the Mains? Andy Enright on the B-Class Electric Drive

Article excerpt

THE idea of an electric car is beguiling. e ability to glide about town noiselessly with no tailpipe emissions, propelled efiortlessly by a giant groundswell of torque is most certainly the way forward, devoid of chugging diesel engines and minus hundreds of moving parts and their potential for costly failure. e thing is, many of us have considered an electric car but very few of us, after even the most cursory investigation, have gone on to take the plunge. Mercedes-Benz thinks it has the car that could well convince us.

Engineered in conjunction with Tesla, the B-Class Electric Drive doesn't seem the most exciting electric car out there, but perhaps that's the genius. It normalises electric power.

Power comes via a 177bhp electric motor that punts it silently to 62mph in 7.9sec and on to a limited top speed of 100mph.

Optional paddle shifters behind the wheel don't change gear but instead let the driver choose three difierent levels of regenerative braking. e best economy comes in the car's Economy Plus mode, which is best for steady state cruising. Here the engine develops 83bhp which limits top speed to 68mph. Switch into Economy and you get 132bhp on tap while Sport unleashes the full 177bhp. Both Economy modes can be overridden by using the kickdown function if you need instant overtaking power.

It's properly quick with all of the electrical horses freed up, the instant pickup feeling pretty brisk for such an unprepossessing mini-MPV. It asks quite a lot of its front tyres given the weight on board, but the steering is good.

If you were hoping for a car with all the theatre and innovation of the BMW i3, the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive is going to come as a major disappointment. From the outside it looks much like any other B-Class. e Q-branch went to a lot of trouble building James Bond an invisible car in Die Another Day. ey could have saved themselves the bother and given him a Mercedes B-Class. is anonymity might just be the B-Class Electric Drive's ace in the hole though. …

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