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B-Class Electric Drive, the first true Mercedes electric vehicle, coming to US in 2014

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Mercedes has revealed its first electric vehicle for the US here at the New York International Auto Show: the B-Class Electric Drive. The German company has worked in conjunction with Tesla and added a 28-kWh lithium ion battery pack to its standard fuel-powered (and slightly bulbous) B-Class compact multi-purpose vehicle (read: small minivan). Mercedes says that the battery will offer 115 miles of range on a charge, and that it can charge up to a 60 mile range in less than two hours and up to full capacity in four hours using a 240-volt power connection (no information is available yet on how long it will take on a regular wall socket). The battery pack is placed underneath the floor of the car — rather than the trunk like some other vehicles — saving space for up to five passengers. The electric motor will provide 134 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque, and will go from 0 to 60mph in under 10 seconds.

Other than zero emissions, Mercedes is also touting the entertainment technology in the vehicle. The infotainment system centers on a 5.8-inch display and the instrument cluster uses an LCD as well to display vehicle information. What's more interesting is its network connectivity: owners will be able to check vehicle charge on the web, plan routes and view charging stations, and control the car's interior climate before getting in.

There's no word on how much the B-Class Electric Drive will cost, but it will certainly be the first electric vehicle from the manufacturer that normal people could dream of owning: the SLS AMG E-Cell isn't easy on the wallet, and, in any event, it isn't available in the US. (Daimler-owned Smart does offer the affordable ForTwo Electric, however.) Mercedes plans to make the B-Class Electric Drive available in early 2014 initially in the US, and then later in Europe.