PALO ALTO, CA. (TheStreet) -- I have now driven the all-electric Mercedes luxury car, and I'll attempt to compare it against its competitors, primarily the BMW i3 but also the Nissan LEAF and the Chevrolet Volt.
The electric Mercedes will start to appear in dealerships in July, and the base price is $42,375 including mandatory $925 destination charge. The gasoline and diesel-powered Mercedes B-Class has never been sold in the U.S., and there are not plans for them yet to do so.
The Mercedes all-electric is a short but tall station wagon. The length is 171.6 inches, and the width is 70.3 inches. These dimensions are important because they make this car extremely easy to park as well as maneuver in city traffic and other tight spaces.
Yet, the Mercedes has more than sufficient room for five adults at least six feet tall, and the luggage space is ample. Basically, the packaging of this car is outstanding. It is easy to get in and out, such as for a tall person or someone who has a bad back or is a bit older and stiffer.
What you really want to know is how it compares to the other major electric cars in its class. Most especially, it goes head-to-head with the electric-only version of the BMW i3, which is seeing its first US deliveries this week, having been in European consumer hands since last November 16.
Let's start with range. Mercedes expects to be EPA rated at 85 miles. My testing suggested that this is eminently achievable even during spirited driving. I wouldn't be surprised to see the range rated at 90 miles or more. As with the California-only Toyota RAV4 EV, however, you can charge it to a higher level, adding approximately 15% to capacity and range. This could push the range to just over 100 miles, perhaps 104 miles.