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2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: First Drive Page 4

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The B-Class Electric Drive will be available for lease or purchase, and a home 240V charging unit will be required for those who buy or otherwise wrapped in as part of the lease price. Mercedes-Benz will announce a partnership with a particular charger company by the time the B-Class goes on sale.

Is it a compliance car?

And of course there's one other lingering question: Is the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive a compliance car? Mercedes-Benz officials say that it isn't, and that the official company position on this vehicle is that it will make as many as the market demands.

The automaker has negotiated with Tesla to supply as many powertrains to go along with estimated sales (not disclosed) over the remainder of the current B-Class' life span (at least three more model years), while they have the option to negotiate for more if sales are higher than anticipated.

Although full pricing for option packages and standalone extras hasn’t yet been detailed beyond what's here, Mercedes-Benz has released that the 2014 B-Class Electric Drive starts at $42,375.

Mercedes-Benz plans to sell the B-Class Electric Drive only at dealerships in ten California-emissions states beginning this July; then next year it will expand sales to all 50 states. And it's already made sure that all M-B dealerships in the U.S. can support, maintain, and repair the Electric Drive.

Perhaps most importantly, Mercedes-Benz has finally jumped into the electric-car market in a way that we can see entirely meeting the needs of those who already own vehicles from the brand.

It fully lives up to the driving feel and the overall ambiance of what the brand has worked so hard to establish in the U.S.; it feels luxurious and comfortable—supremely so, compared to most of these other small electric cars.

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