The Smart ForTwo electric car will be getting a sibling.
This new companion is not another Smart EV, the third generation of which goes into production later this year. No, this new electric car will be for Mercedes-Benz, Smart’s more “upscale” brethren.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV will arrive here in the states sometime in 2014, says the automaker, either as a 2014 or 2015 model. Mercedes has teamed up with Telsa Motors, which will be providing the B-Class’ batteries, electric motor, and other components. Telsa has a similar agreement with Toyota; Tesla helped with the design and provides batteries for the Japanese automaker’s RAV4 EV crossover.
The regular, gasoline-powered Mercedes-Benz B-Class is a subcompact hatchback scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. sometime in next year. Mercedes admits it’s bringing both the B-Class and the even smaller A-Class here to the states to meet the U.S.’s strict CAFE requirements. Those requirements are also the reason why Mercedes is developing the B-Class EV and delaying a B-Class model with a range-extender powertrain similar to the Chevrolet Volt EV. States a source from Daimler, parent company to both Mercedes and Smart, “Zero-emission vehicles receive more favorable classifications and higher incentives than vehicles with a range extender. This is especially an issue in the U.S.”
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)