Mercedes B-Class Electric Fails To Impress Consumer Reports

 

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Consumer Reports rarely minces words when it comes to its car reviews, and it calls the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive hatchback the least-efficient electric car on the market. Ouch.

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive hatchback has a sticker price of around $41,350 and while the hatchback does offer abundant cargo space and a clear view of the road, it isn’t enough to earn high marks from Consumer Reports.

The electric B-Class has an 80 mile range, but also offers what Mercedes is calling an extended Range Plus mode which will push the Merc an additional 20 miles, offering a maximum of 100 miles of driving range. The extended Range Plus mode is done by selecting the option prior to charging the vehicle, which increases the charge from the cars normal 28 kWh to the full 36 kWh. Of course overclocking the battery will have a negative impact on the batteries lifespan. Unfortunately, the B-Class Electric also doesn’t offer a DC fast charge option like its main competitor, the BMW i3, so it takes a full 3.5 hours to charge compared to the Bimmer, which can top off in about 30 minutes.

While the Range Plus mode is interesting, it did not help once Consumer Reports took the B-Class for a spin. The results were the B-Class running at 2.9 miles per kWh, or the equivalent of about 98 mpg. While 98 mpg would be great for a gasoline powered car, it is a very poor score for an electric vehicle, and it’s even worse than the 3.2 kWh of the much older Nissan LEAF, which has been on the market for four years now.

Consumer Reports found other problems too. Even with a drive system coming from Tesla, the independent magazine said the car felt dated with a noisy cabin, stiff suspension, and dull handling despite a healthy 177 horsepower engine. Additionally, one of the largest issues aside from the Range Plus mode that Consumer Reports had with the B-Class was with the regenerative brake system. The B-Class offers two regenerative brake modes, one called Drive Minus which boosts regenerative braking but is tricky to use effectively. The other mode is Drive Plus mode, which allows you to coast, but brings down the range extending benefits of regenerative brakes.

Consumer Reports is not alone in their negative view of the B-Class as Car and Driver had some choice words as well. In any event, the B-Class Electric Drive is available in California only for now, but will be more widlely available across the U.S. in 2015.

Source: consumerreports.org





About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison

  • Steve Grinwis

    This makes me sad. I was hoping the b class electric would be awesome.

  • beardedman

    Very disappointing. They were late to the party and, in theory, had time to see what other manufacturers had already done. Using an existing car always has drawbacks but CR’s harsh words seem to indicate it wasn’t even a particularly good existing car. You would think MB could make a better effort. Thankfully, I’m enjoying my second Chevy Volt, the 2014 being even better than my 2011. Our second car is a 2014 Chevy Spark EV and has proven to be a fantastic around-town rocker. Neither of these have the MB status but this is what MB has to beat. (Not to mention the excellent Leaf and others.)

  • Hard to know for sure… CR has always been anti-MB

  • steveh1001

    Have close to 10k miles on my B electric. It’s a great car… don’t understand the so-so reviews. Has more zip than my S430. Very quiet and great range. I commute 75 mi daily with an 1100 foot climb going home. No problem making it on one charge using the 28 kw set point. A/C works great and has minimal effect on range. A very quiet, solid car… Mercedes quality throughout.