2008 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

2008 Mercedes-Benz A-Class

As reported earlier, Mercedes-Benz will be launching a new all-electric version of its entry-level A-Class model dubbed the A-Class E-Cell. This limited production model is being developed together with Tesla and will reportedly make its world debut next month at the 2010 Paris Auto Show.

Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, formed a partnership with Tesla last year to help accelerate the development of electric vehicles. In the case of the A-Class E-Cell, Tesla is to supply its battery pack and controller technology, which will be shipped to the Mercedes-Benz Rastatt plant in Germany where the A-Class model is built.

Few details have been released but the A-Class E-Cell is expected to have a range of about 124 miles and a peak output of 214 pound-feet of torque. The battery pack is a lithium-ion type built of 4,000 individual cells and is rated at approximately 40 kilowatt-hours.

Only 500 of the cars are to be built, with deliveries to start early next year as part of a trial. No markets have been announced but a U.S. launch is unlikely considering the A-Class model was never sold locally and would need to meet government standards for safety.

Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz already has a number of electric vehicles in production. The first was the Smart Fortwo ED, which commences in trials later this year, followed by the Vito E-Cell commercial van that we reported on last month.

[Wheels Blog]