Archives for July 29th, 2013

Tesla to build 2014 Mercedes B-Class EV

2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class rear overhead view

Tesla Motors will be farming out its electric vehicle (EV) technology in the coming years. The company is building Toyota RAV4 EVs, and will soon begin a similar project for Mercedes-Benz.

Mercedes wants to a bring an electric version of its B-Class compact to the United States in 2014. Automotive News reports that Tesla will supply the car’s electric motors and battery pack. Mercedes did not comment on the report.

Details on the B-Class EV’s performance are few, as there is still much development work to be done. The B-Class itself is a tall-roofed, five-door hatchback based on Mercedes’ new MFA platform. The MFA platform will support several front-wheel drive Benzes, including the CLA “four-door coupe” previewed by the Concept Style Coupe concept car.

Mercedes calls the current B-Class a “Compact Sports Tourer,” a smaller version of the R-Class “Grand Sports Tourer.” Powered by a selection of small four-cylinder engines, the car has been on sale overseas since 2005. Mercedes hasn’t seen fit to bring it to the U.S. until know, since fuel economy is trumping snobbery over driven wheels, size, and pretentious names like “Sports Tourer.”

When the B-Class EV hits the market, it will hold a unique place. Other luxury EVs, such as the Tesla Model S and upcoming Infiniti LE emphasize style, but the chunky Benz seems more utilitarian. The body style is almost a mix between a compact van (like the Nissan eNV200) and a regular, five-door hatchback (Nissan Leaf). The three-pointed star in the grille might also help sales against less prestigious brands.

This is not the first time Tesla has offered its services to another company. It is already building 2,600 RAV4 EVs for Toyota, with a 100-mile range and a price tag of $50,610. The project will give Tesla some cash while its Model S and Model X production lines spool up to full capacity.

A team-up with Mercedes makes even more sense, since Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, owns 4.7 percent of Tesla. The electric carmaker has already built a Smart ForTwo EV for Daimler.

By Stephen Edelstein

Tesla Developing All-Electric Mercedes-Benz B-Class

As we had previously reported at the end of May, the Daimler group had reportedly contacted Tesla Motors regarding the development of an all-electric vehicle. At first, it was thought that the vehicle in question would be an all-electric A-Class, but now, according to, we realize that it may not be so.

It is, in fact, an all-electric B-Class which is due to make its debut on the world stage in 2014. Apparently, engineers first considered incorporating a range extender into the system, but it was ditched in favor of a much simpler (and lighter) all-electric setup, similar to that of the Model S, but with its electric motors driving the front wheels instead of the rears.

Given the fact that Tesla is behind the car’s drivetrain, and considering the fact that they have very advanced battery and drivetrain technology at their disposal, as well as the fact that they are developing the EV for Mercedes-Benz, we expect the 2014 B-Class E-Cell (previewed by a Frankfurt 2011 range-extended concept) to be an excellent package – let’s just hope that we’re right!

By Andrei Nedelea

Thread of the Day: What New Car, Truck, or SUV Are You Thankful For?

Thread of the Day: What New Car, Truck, or SUV Are You Thankful For?

It’s Thanksgiving week, which means it’s time for turkey, family, road trips, football — and yes, even being thankful. In the automotive sphere that means being thankful for the latest and greatest new cars, trucks, and SUVs currently in production or entering production soon.

We’re thankful for quite a few new vehicles here at Motor Trend – like the uber-luxurious and uber-capable 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, the lightning-quick and all-electric 2013 Tesla Model S, and the pint-sized, entry-priced 2013 Scion FR-S and 2013 Subaru BRZ twins.

In honor of Thanksgiving and for today’s Thread of the Day, we want to know which currently on sale (or soon to be on sale) 2013 or 2014 car, truck, or SUV you’re most thankful for. Our only restriction is that the vehicle must be in dealerships now, or will soon go on sale.

Have at it in the comments below.

By Christian Seabaugh

Cameron Diaz Buys a Tesla Model S

Cameron Dias, one of the Hollywood names who need no introduction, is now the third famous actor owner of a Tesla Model S EV. She was preceded by fellow actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, both of whom have bought the all-electric sedan.

She was recently spotted leaving the gym, and getting aboard the Model S, which does not appear to be the Signature top spec model, as it does not have the trademark anthracite wheels, which are also larger in size than the ones on her car.

Still, at least this way celebs will stop buying the Toyota Prius simply as a green statement, as the Model S is a proper no-emissions luxury car, which is exactly what they are looking for. It is also great publicity for the car, and Cameron Diaz is undoubtedly not the last famous person to buy one.

We are curious to see who buys one next, but regardless of whom that may be, the more celebrities buy the Tesla, the higher the car’s popularity will be, even among non-celebrities. Also, once they begin European deliveries, as well as deliveries to other major markets, the Model S will hopefully become a more common sights on the world’s roads.

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By Andrei Nedelea