Mercedes-Benz showed off its latest research effort into electric cars at the Paris Motor Show, the E-Cell. With a power train provided by Tesla fitted into a Mercedes-Benz A-class car, this vehicle is road-worthy. Mercedes-Benz is putting 500 E-Cells into series production in Fall of 2010, and leasing them to customers in Europe as an initial test fleet.
With two lithium ion battery packs set into the floor of the car, making for a low center of gravity, the E-Cell gets a range of 125 miles, using the New European Driving Cycle testing. Mercedes-Benz boasts that the car offers the same internal capacity as a gasoline-powered A-class, making the car a reasonable urban-based family car.
The E-Cell, like the Tesla Roadster, uses a J1772 standard recharging plug, offering smart charging characteristics. As such, the car can be set to recharge during specific hours, when electricity is cheaper.
Two plug-in cords are neatly situated under a panel in the cargo area. These cords handle two possible European standard wall currents, either single-phase or three-phase 230 watts. Using a single-phase outlet, the E-Cell takes 8 hours for a half charge. The three-phase outlet reduces that time to 3 hours.
With no engine under the hood, the auxiliary battery takes center stage. The car's single electric motor generates 95 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes-Benz says the car can get to 35 mph in about 5.5 seconds.
The instrument cluster shows a power-use gauge instead of a tachometer, along with a range readout in the center display. The E-Cell includes a function that lets the driver preset the climate control while the car is charging.