Last week, Mercedes' U.S. head was kicking dirt in Tesla's eyes; today it's announcing the B-Class Electric Drive using Tesla's powertrain

Although Tesla Motors has garnered the lion’s share of the attention directed at all-electric vehicles with its gorgeous Model S sedan, some well-known names in the automotive industry are also looking to grab a piece of the action. Just last week, Mercedes-Benz U.S. head Steve Cannon came out with guns blasting against Tesla, quipping, “How long do you think we’re going to wait and let Tesla be out there alone [selling premium electric cars]?”
Today, Mercedes-Benz announced that it would make it 2014 B-Class Electric Drive available to U.S. customers starting this summer. The vehicle is all-electric and comes equipped with a 177hp (252 lb-ft) electric motor which is fed by a lithium-ion battery pack (Mercedes-Benz has not divulged the capacity of the battery pack).
What’s most ironic is that for all the trash talk that Cannon aimed at Tesla last week, it was actually Tesla that helped develop the powertrain and battery pack that powers the B-Class Electric Drive. In fact, the press release states:
The battery for the predecessor model of the smart fortwo electric drive, for instance, came from Tesla. For the B-Class Electric Drive, Mercedes-Benz is once again leveraging the extensive know-how available from the electric car pioneer and is using the Tesla drive system in its own vehicle.
The B-Class Electric Drive has a top speed of 100 mph and has an all-electric driving range of 85 miles (EPA rated). The vehicle is also capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. In addition, the B-Class Electric can be replenished to a 60-mile driving range in just 2 hours using a 240V outlet.

When it comes to usability, the 5-seat B-Class Electric Drive offers a respectable 17.7 cu ft of storage space behind the rear seats. With the rear seats folded, that specs swells to 51.4 cu ft.

When the B-Class Electric Drive launches in a few months, it will butt heads with the BMW i3. The former will be priced from $41,450, while the latter will have a starting MSRP of $41,350.

Sources: Mercedes-Benz [1], [2]

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