Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber talked EVs in an interview this week with Automotive News Europe’s German sister Automobilwoche. Weber believes the upcoming Mercedes B class Electric Drive will be a worthy competitor for the BMW i3: “In all the key criteria, this vehicle will be at least as competitive as our competitors’ models. With the B class, we are bringing out an electric vehicle with five full-fledged seats and no constraints on trunk space.”
Mercedes’ new EV will have a range of 200 km, top speed of 160 kph and 0-100 kph acceleration in 7.9 seconds. Like the i3, it’s designed to offer “sports car feeling in a compact car.” It will go on sale in the US in the spring of 2014. There’s no word on price, but Daimler “wants to be extremely competitive.”
Like the Cadillac ELR, the B Class EV will have steering-wheel paddles that let the driver engage regenerative braking.
Weber also talked about the S 500 PHEV, which will reach the market next year. “We consider the comprehensive hybridization of our large model lines to be an important component of our powertrain strategy,” said he.
Weber said that the smart fortwo ED has been very successful – “a clear market leader among all newly registered electric cars in Germany.” The company has had some trouble ramping up battery production quickly enough to meet demand, but now has the situation under control: “It is a matter of putting cell production on a long-term basis without any time pressure. At the same time, economies of scale are very important. That is why we are talking to practically every battery manufacturer, from Korea to Japan all the way to the US. We have plenty of time since the current battery technology for the smart will be the basis for the next generation. Incidentally, I am very happy that we launched our own cell production with Evonik. It has given us more expertise than any other automaker.”
Source: Automotive News Europe