Mercedes put an electric motor and battery inside its existing B-Class hatchback.
“The B-Class electric is a low-cost and low-risk solution for Daimler,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.
In contrast with the BMW i sub-brand, Mercedes builds the B-Class on the same production line with the gasoline and diesel-powered versions, therefore, the productions costs are lower and the sales projections are less ambitious. Daimler CEO, Dieter Zetsche, doesn’t see a short term return on investment for the companies heavily investing in electric vehicles.
“You can reasonably say that nobody today is making a battery-powered vehicle that’s economically viable in its own right,” Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said at an Oct. 27 event on the Spanish island of Mallorca to present the electric B-Class to journalists. “Manufacturers will not see a return within a reasonable time on the billions they’re investing now.”
The battery and electric motor come from Tesla and it’s an easy, cheap and simple solution for the Stuttgart-based automaker.
Yet, BMW’s long-term electric strategy might pay off by 2020. According to IHS, BMW i would probably outsell the electric B-Class two to one for the fully electric version. The i3 REx is expected to sell over 30,000 units compared with 6,400 B-Class.
The B-Class will go on sale in Germany on Nov. 29 and comes with a range of about 200 kilometers, or 124 miles, at prices similar to the i3. The BMW car costs about 35,000 euros ($43,766) in Germany and $41,350 in the U.S, where a version of the electric B-Class has been available in selected states since mid-July.[Source: Bloomberg]