- How Mercedes nicely calculates the electric B-Class
- It all comes down to recuperation
- The trick with the distance radar
- Anything but an eye catcher
- Adventurous pricing policy
- Help from Tesla
How Mercedes nicely calculates the electric B-Class
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With the electric version of the well-known B-Class, Mercedes is responding to the BMW i3 and the VW E-Golf.
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It will initially be launched in the USA and will also be available in Germany from the end of the year for around 40,000 euros.
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The outwardly largely unchanged five-door has an electric motor with 180 hp and a range of up to 200 kilometers, depending on driving style and weather.
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During the first test drives in California’s Silicon Valley, the newcomer proved to be an easy-to-use family car that is suitable for everyday use.
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US specialist Tesla supplied the drive unit.
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The driver can choose between various settings for so-called recuperation, i.e. the degree to which the battery is charged by the energy generated when rolling or braking…regulate energy.
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Networking with the radar sensor of the collision warning system offered in all B-Classes is being used for the first time. This means that someone in front of you can automatically s…o it must be followed that the ideal form of energy recovery always takes place.
With the B-Class electric drive, Mercedes finally has an e-mobile like BMW (i3) and VW (eGolf). The drive technology comes from Tesla, and it will cost around 40,000 euros. It will hardly stay that way.
E.It took a little while, but now Mercedes, too, has to be taken seriously. Because even if the Swabians were right at the forefront in the fleet test of electric cars and were the first to have a production car in the group with the Smart ed, the BMW i3 and the VW eGolf have recently made it into the parade.
Now comes the electrified B-Class electric drive, which will be launched in America in the summer and in Germany at the turn of the year with a simple formula: "Drive emission-free without compromises," says developer Jochen Strenkert.
In addition to the driving comfort and the ambience of a normal Mercedes, it promises the same amount of space as in any other B-Class and performance that doesn’t have to hide behind a diesel or gasoline engine. And it promises even more for city traffic. The electric motor of the B-Class has 180 hp and mobilizes 340 Newton meters.
That’s enough for screeching tires during kick-down and for a sprint from 0 to 100 km / h in 7.9 seconds in an emergency. And the fact that it is already over at 160 km / h is not due to a lack of power, asserts Mercedes man Strenkert, but is only due to the range. Otherwise, the promised 200 kilometers could never be achieved even in theory – especially since, according to the on-board computer, in practice, even with comfortable climatic conditions and moderate use of additional electrical consumers, the action radius is rarely more than 130 kilometers.
Then the more than 4,000 lithium-ion cells in the car floor, which together have a capacity of 28 kWh, are empty – and the B-Class has to be plugged in – either three hours to the wallbox or a fast charging station or overnight to a 220 -Volt socket.
It all comes down to recuperation
How far you can actually get with the B-Class and which peaks the precisely calculated radius of action on the navigation display allows, the driver can influence several times himself. For example with the Eco button.
It limits the output to 132 hp and noticeably slows down the Stromer. However, when overtaking, for example, all you need is a courageous step on the accelerator pedal, then full power is available again and the Stromer dashes forward courageously.
The second big adjustment screw for the range is the degree of recuperation, the resistance of the electric motor when it becomes a generator and recovers energy when braking. This is barely noticeable in normal operation and the B-Class drives almost like a conventional car.
Something changes only with a grip on the paddles on the steering wheel: If you shift up, the recuperation is noticeably reduced and the Stromer sails along as if you had switched to idle. If, on the other hand, you shift down, the resistance increases significantly with decreasing pedal pressure and the B-Class decelerates much more strongly.
However, the car itself is still miles away from the so-called “one-pedal feeling” that BMW proclaims and makes the brake pedal almost superfluous.
The trick with the distance radar
While the different adjustable recuperation levels are also known from the competition, Mercedes has come up with something special for the B-Class. For the first time, the recuperation is also controlled there with the distance radar: the larger the gap to the vehicle in front, the further the electronics allow the car to roll and the closer you drive, the more recuperation is achieved.
Developers like Jochen Strenkert can rave about the many driving and recuperation modes for hours and weigh up the advantages of the individual operating strategies. And of course you try everything out on the first test drive.
But when the first curiosity has been satisfied and the instinct to play has been satisfied, you don’t want to know anything more about all the many modes, but just go for it. And that is perhaps the greatest strength of this B-Class: Because the drive works so spectacularly unspectacularly that after a quarter of an hour at the latest you have completely forgotten that you are sitting in an electric car.
Anything but an eye catcher
The electric B-Class not only drives perfectly, it unfortunately also looks like it. Where the i3 with its futuristic body catches everyone’s eye and looks as revolutionary as the first iPhone at the time, the B-Class is about as innovative as a smartphone with a rotary dial. Because even the blue mirror caps, the blue-tinted radiator grille, the new aprons and the almost completely closed rims make the electric Benz not exactly an eye-catcher.
However, each passenger can open their doors alone and independently of all other passengers, let in not only light but also air through the window and still sit reasonably comfortably in the second row. Everyday life instead of the avant-garde.
Even if the developers emphasize it again and again – even Mercedes does not succeed in electrification so completely uncompromisingly. Because the chassis, for example, cannot hide the fact that the car with the huge battery pack is around 200 kilos heavier than the production model.
And while the trunk with a capacity of 501 to 1456 liters is actually unchanged, the so-called energy space in the vehicle floor is at the expense of the space in the rear. There is plenty of legroom in the back seats. But the footwell comes up so far from the battery pack that you have to bend your knees quite far and you no longer sit as comfortably as in the production model.
Adventurous pricing policy
A clear conscience will certainly not be cheap. Even in America, the Swabians are charging $ 41,450 for the electrified B-Class, which is the equivalent of around 30,000 euros. In Germany, the sales price is expected to be around 40,000 euros.
So that it doesn’t get even more expensive, they operate a comparatively adventurous surcharge policy. Instead of upgrading its high-tech flagship with everything that the research department has to offer, Mercedes is also paying extra for most of the extras. And that doesn’t just apply to conventional items such as handsome tires, heated seats or xenon lights.
Special e-features are also affected, such as the additional recuperation modes or XL charging, with which the capacity of the technically unchanged battery can be increased by 15 percent in individual cases. And even the navigation system, which is essential for calculating the range or searching for a charging station, costs an extra charge – if the Swabians are not on the wrong track.
Help from Tesla
As impressively as the electric B-Class drives, as quickly as you can get used to the new drive – the history of its origins also raises a few questions. Because although Mercedes not only has years of development experience with electric vehicles, but also has its own factory for electric motors and a battery manufacturer, the B-Class is not, strictly speaking, an in-house development.
The inventor of the automobile, of all people, got development aid for the drive and is now proudly advertising with the slogan "Tesla Inside": Both the batteries and the motor are directly derived from the Model S..
No problem, say the Swabians. First of all, that’s not the worst reference. Second, there was a very simple reason for this, argues developer Strenkert. "We had a finished car and our colleagues had a finished drive – so we saved a full two years on the project and were finished earlier." And on top of that, Daimler has a stake in Tesla, so that the American development aid is basically nothing more than one dividend.
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