Unveiled at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mercedes-Benz Concept B-Class E-Cell Plus was meant to be a preview of the German automaker's first range-extended electric vehicle. Along with a battery pack to power it for 100 kilometers (62 miles), it was also to feature a 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline-burning engine to give it an additional 400 kilometers (248.5 miles). Indeed, a production version was to be shown this past April at the New York Auto Show.
Well, scratch all that. Maybe. If a report over at Automobilwoche is correct, the E-Cell Plus is losing the dino-juice burner and going all-electric. Not only that, they say that the entire powertrain will be supplied by the Tesla Motors.
The reason for pulling the plug on the engine? According to an unnamed spokesperson, zero-emissions vehicles get better ratings and higher incentives than vehicles with a range extender. As the B-Class E-Cell is supposed to be sold in the U.S., this is an important point.
News of a deal with Daimler to supply an entire powertrain for an upcoming vehicle came to light last November, but there have been rumors it might be for an A-Class. One thing we do know: Tesla expects this program to be much larger than its previous Smart ED arrangement or it supply agreement for the Toyota Rav4 EV.
While we wait for an official announcement from Daimler to clear up the situation, let us know in the comments if you'd prefer a Mercedes E-Cell or a Tesla Model S with similar range.