2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive - First Drive, May 2014
And that's not a bad thing--it means enough electric cars are hitting the market that we can accept them as we might any other vehicle.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is one such vehicle, and now potential customers can indulge themselves with the company's online configurator.
The B-Class Electric Drive provides a neat counterpoint to those seeking an upmarket electric car, but unimpressed by the BMW i3's relative lack of space or quirky, futuristic styling.
Mercedes' option is much more down-to-earth but none the worse for it.
For a price $100 more than the four-seat i3--the Benz costs $43,375--Mercedes offers a five-seat electric hatchback with a larger luggage area, a more conventional dashboard and a proper set of four doors.
Technically, the Mercedes isn't quite as sophisticated as its rival, but it feels more luxurious, it's a little softer to drive and its electric powertrain has more conventional characteristics--idle creep and less regenerative braking force, to name but two.
While Mercedes' configurator is a neat way of choosing your car's ideal color and options, it does show how quickly you can start adding to the car's base price.
That's no different from other Mercedes of course, nor the BMW for that matter, but it's always worth remembering that prestige vehicles like this often cost a lot more on the road than they do advertised on the website.
A leather interior adds just under $1,700, for example, and you'll pay almost $3,000 for the Premium Package with bi-xenon headlamps, heated seats, a Harmon/Kardon sound system and more... except you can't order this without rolling in the $2,370 Multimedia Package, the sticker price now spiraling towards $49,000.
A more interesting, and slightly more affordable option is the $600 Range Package, including a 'Temporary Range Extender'--extra insulation for the doors and roof to increase climate control efficiency, and a button on the dashboard to increase the amount of charge the battery can hold, boosting range by 17 miles.
We can't see many buyers missing that off the list. Throw in metallic paint and upgraded interior trim and you're looking at $50,000--but you'll have quite a nice electric car at the end of it.
One we rather liked driving when we tested it last month, too. Is Mercedes' new electric car on your own shopping list?