The Mercedes B-Class electric is engaged in a range war with the likes of the BMW i3, its arch EV rival. There has been plenty of speculation as to the exact EPA MPGe and range rating, though Green Car Reports says it has confirmed the ratings.
According to the EPA, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive can go up to 87 miles per charge, and received a 84 MPGe rating. That gives it about 6 more miles of driving range that the BMW i3, but it falls far short in comparable efficiency, with the i3 rated at 142 MPGe. We doubt this includes an optional “range extender” that adds up to an extra 17 miles of driving range in case of emergency, bringing the total potential range to over 100 miles.
How can two cars with such similar driving ranges have such different efficiency ratings? It comes down to battery size, with the B-CLass boasting a larger 36 kWh battery. However, only 28 kWh are actually usable with the other 8 kWh serving as a buffer against “bricking” the battery or wearing it out prematurely. The extra battery therefore doesn’t add much range, but it does add a lot of weight, leading to a lower range rating compared to the BMW i3, which can go 81 miles with just a 22 kWh battery. That’s because the i3 weighs a whole lot less thanks to its carbon fiber architecture…and I’d like to think the fact that it’s rear-wheel drive helps too.
Unfortunately for Mercedes, despite the fact that the B-Class Electric is powered by a Tesla drivetrain, it’s definitely the underdog in the contest of electric cars thanks to its limited range and low efficiency, and it’s easy to predict that it won’t sell as well as the other contenders in the market.