Perhaps the day is coming when we will all be cruising down Electric Avenue and Mercedes may be leading the pack with the new E-Cell. Joining with Tesla Motors, Mercedes-Benz is producing 500 battery-powered E-Cell versions of the A-Class and introducing it at the auto show in Paris this month.
Mercedes will produce the car at its plant in Stuttgart, German and will have them road ready early in 2011. Bergen County, NJ new Mercedes buyers will be impressed with the 124-mile range produced by the battery. The 40-kilowatt-hour battery pack is equal to or even a bit faster than the gasoline A-Class Mercedes models, the automaker says.
Tesla apparently had a lot to do with getting this project off the ground. “Daimler is a careful company, and they’re always skeptical that a program can be delivered in time,” said one Tesla company official. “It was hard to get them on board the A-Class project, which we’d been discussing, without a proof of concept. So we went ahead and pushed the envelope to retire a lot of the risk.”
When Daimler executives visited the Tesla headquarters in California and drove the car, they were sold on the idea. After that, true development got underway. Bergen County, NJ C-Class buyers will be glad the project progressed when they get the chance to see the E-Cell in action. Wish we knew when that would be.
Daimler has plenty of experience with electric vehicles even prior to this project. The electric Smart car was produced last year and Mercedes-Benz also had an earlier version of the A-Class. But nothing like this. With handling and acceleration that mimic any other Mercedes model, the E-Cell won’t be a tough sell.
The test version has been described as “production-ready” and there’s little noise or bounce to deter buyers. Adding the battery pack to the A-Class design lowers its center of gravity and actually increases the car’s ability to take corners smoothly.
Right now sales of the E-Cell in the U.S. don’t appear to be on the board, but successful sales in Europe and customer demand could change that. After all, how many Mercedes owners really want to buy a Smart car just to go electric. It’s not exactly upscale and roomy in a business executive sort of way.
And a Daimler official noted, “We have customers who love the Smart electric drive and also customers who have children and need a back seat.” Well put! Bergen County, NJ C-Class buyers may just want to stick with what they have until a family-friendly electric Mercedes-Benz model becomes available in the states.
U.S. buyers might still be able to get one though, as Daimler plans to market it directly to customers rather than put it in showrooms. Bergen County, NJ new Mercedes dealers will certainly keep an eye out for the opportunity to hook their customers up with this new electric Mercedes-Benz wonder.