Originally, the plan had been to bring the B-Class into the electric world as a range-extender, but it seems the brand has had a change of heart, particularly because of U.S. regulations and incentives on pure EVs. Because of that, it looks like the car we originally saw last year in Frankfurt will be put on hold if not cancelled altogether in favor of a zero-emissions version to be called the B-Class E-Cell Plus.
Before the B-Class, Tesla had already collaborated with Daimler on the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive and Mercedes A-Class E-Cell. The brand’s technology sharing is part of an agreement between Tesla and Daimler from 2009 when the startup took investment money from the German conglomerate. Today, Daimler holds a 4.7 percent stake and is entitled to share in its battery technology and expertise.
The B-Class E-Cell Plus is still a concept at the moment, but Tesla is expected to supply the battery, electric motor and control systems for the car. Given that most of the necessary components are already available, it won’t be surprising to see Mercedes making announcements in the near future about progress toward production. If it doesn’t, the company could stand to lose out against BMW with its ActiveE, which is already on the road. Aside from BMW, the car will already be facing steep competition from the Toyota Prius C which already has an established customer base and will cost significantly less.