Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a range-extending hybrid version of the new 2012 Mercedes-Benz B-Class - called the Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-Cell Plus - at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Mercedes-B-Class-E-Cell-Plus

The Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-Cell Plus showcases the company's first ever range-extending hybrid setup. It comprises a 50kW 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, as well as a 70kW electric motor. The E-Cell is able to drive on electric power alone, but when current starts to drop off or if the driver requires full power, both motors kick in to produce 120kW.

Mercedes-Benz says the B-Class E-Cell Plus has a combined range of 600km and a electric-only range of around 100km. As for its on-road performance, the B-Class E-Cell Plus is able to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 11 seconds while top speed is rated at 150km/h.

Other interesting features include the B-Class E-Cell Plus's ability to communicate with a user's smart phone. Details of the E-Cell's battery level and potential range can be sent to the user's phone at any time providing information before heading off on a journey. Prof Dr Thomas Weber, member of the board of management at Daimler AG, recently spoke about the concept, saying,

"The Concept B-Class E-Cell Plus shows that our new range of compact cars is all set for the future. The variant involving a battery-electric vehicle with Range Extender further broadens the range of alternative drive concepts from Mercedes-Benz. This innovative and highly flexible concept meets our customers’ wish for emission-free driving coupled with a large range.”

Although the Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-Cell Plus on display at the Frankfurt show is only a concept, Mercedes-Benz does have plans to put a production version onto the market in 2014. Specific details of the production version are yet to be finalised.