2014 Mercedes Benz B-Class Electric: Is This the Car that Kills the Tesla?

Is the 2014 Mercedes Benz B-Class Electric the car that kills the Tesla?

If you listen to what the reviewer, a single mom and automotive journalist for the Orange County Register, has to say, the newly launched 2014 Mercedes-Benz B Class Electric has something going for it:

I’ve been leasing a 2012 Nissan Leaf for the past 2 1/2 years, so each time a new battery electric vehicle comes on the market, it isn’t just for review. I’m actually shopping…I’ve driven every pure electric car on the market…If cost weren’t an issue, the Tesla Model S would get my money. But I’m a single mom and a journalist, so my aspirations are more modest. And I can say that the ones most in contention for purchase are the Spark, the Leaf and the new Mercedes B-Class.

Mercedes Benz B-Klasse Electric Drive, (W 242), 2013

Will this be Tesla’s swan song?  Actually, no.  Mercedes partnered with Tesla on the B-Class.  It’s another example of Elon Musk’s new strategy of making money by seeding Tesla technology across the automotive market.

The effect of merging a Tesla power train with a Mercedes-Benz coach?  According to the reviewer:

The Mercedes offers the most luxurious EV experience one can buy without stepping up to a Tesla.

Quotes like that should make Stuttgart ecstatic.  They simply make sense.  Mercedes knows how to make a galaxy-class luxury vehicle.  Tesla knows how to propel electric cars.  Combine the two, and you should get comments like that.

Mercedes Benz B-Klasse Electric Drive, (W 242), 2013

The other thing making Stuttgart happy?  The B-Class comes in with a base MSRP of $41, 450, effectively half the cost of a Tesla Model S.  I packed one full of options using Mercedes “Build-It” at their site.  My total was $53,531.  Keep in mind you can still take advantage of a $7500 EV credit, set to expire in 2016.

Will the B-Class kill the Tesla?  Probably not.  But it puts pressure on Tesla engineers to make their upcoming smaller sedan a hit.  That being said, helping build the competition should put them in an interesting position to either succeed or fail spectacularly.

Mercedes Benz B-Klasse Electric Drive, (W 242), 2013

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Sebastian James

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