World Economy

BMW i3 vs Mercedes B-Class Electric

BMW i3 vs Mercedes B-Class ElectricBMW i3 vs Mercedes B-Class Electric

It’s taken awhile, but electric cars are finally getting some serious attention from the mainstream automotive press.

In an article in CleanTechnica, Ted Kidd, a Rochester NY Electric Vehicle fanatic, says, it wasn’t just him, it was everybody he was with him had the same opinion -- he prefers the Mercedes B-Class Electric over the BMW i3.

 He said, the four of them checked out both cars. They went from the BMW, which they loved, to the Mercedes — and laughed…

If getting “more attention when it came down to it” is important EV purchase criteria for you, definitely buy the i3. Then you can spend your savings getting help with that narcissism problem, he said.

When driven back to back, the Mercedes made the i3 appear like his Gem e2… which is basically a glorified golf cart, he said.

They really wanted to like the i3. The car salesman at the Car & Drive’s was awesome. He let them take the car for the afternoon, and the car drove great. And actually, he did like the car, but he felt the need to counterbalance the BMW bias of Car & Driver’s conclusions (BMW a big advertiser? Someone own an i3?).

MPGe gets 5 points? When people go from paying 20-50¢ a mile to 2-4¢ per mile, he said he doesn’t think saving an additional ¼ cent is worth the space on the page, much less 5 extra points! (Car and Driver’s upper group rankings have Mercedes 85, BMW 78 — which he thinks does better justice to how these vehicles measure up, he commented.)

If you only have 2 people, the BMW shortcomings are small. But when you move to 3, 4, or 5, it immediately becomes burnt toast next to the Mercedes B-Class Electric, he said. The Mercedes back seat is luxurious, even has fold-out trays.


So, things he said he didn’t like about the i3. Things that might not be obvious without the benefit of driving the Mercedes immediately after the BMW:

* Stupid, ugly, inelegant, cumbersome on/off/shifting pod behind the wheel. Mercedes controls are the best.

* No regen paddles.

* Park bench dash and door materials.

* Terrible/claustrophobic accommodations for rear passengers.

* Front seatbelt attached to rear door, further instilling the feeling of being trapped.

* Huge, ugly, inoperable window in back instead of something smaller that actually opens — further instilling the feeling of suffocating rear-seat passengers.

* Weird, pop-up mini iPad displays.


* Paddles for regen.

* An AMAZING interior with memory seats.

* A range charge option.

* Awesome rear-seat room and comfort.

* Nice, normal looking — huge improvement over previous ugly duck look.

* Great Mercedes/Tesla control stalks — improved for 2015!

* Smooth-adjusting cruise (better than Tesla).

* Great backup camera.

* Range mode — the battery pack charges to 80%, range mode allows a periodic full charge, meaning this car can go 100–120 miles when you need it to.

* Etc….

He said he didn’t like the iPad display on the Mercedes either. Or that it didn’t have keyless go. And he couldn’t get the cruise control radar to work.

He added, he did like the more powerful regen in the BMW. He found the seats of both equally comfortable. The BMW is more “sprightly” (but it’s much less car). BMW had awesome modular cup holders, and keyless go. Ultimately he said he didn’t like the weird for weirdness sake look, or the poor design of that back door. The front seat needs a built-in seatbelt (like his ‘98 Dodge had) and the rear window needs to be smaller and it needs to operate.

He really liked both cars, he said, possibly more than the Car & Driver folks did. But the Mercedes is so much nicer and more useful that “I think somebody didn’t do their readers justice with their BMW-biased commentary.”