Hello, my wife drives a B-Class while I am waiting for my Tesla Model 3. I took an i3 base for a 3 day test drive. Here's my take posted on the MB forum.
Just a quick Cliffs Notes on the benefits of an EV car. There is a term in the auto industry called NVH. That stands for Noise, Vibration, and Harshness. I don't know why Harshness is in there because the Noise and Vibration pretty much covers it, but these are from car engineers working in the cold of Detroit. It's a big change from studying Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State, but anyway... An Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) has it, an EV doesn't. We should actually start calling ICE cars NVH cars. Ha! So, an EV car has little to no NVH, costs 4 times less to fuel, requires much less maintenance, has instant torque, and has less of a carbon footprint. But you probably already knew that, or you wouldn't be here. Let's start with the i3 doors.
The i3 Doors
Even in tight spots, a regular door lets you escape into the open. But with the suicide doors, a rear passenger is trapped in the folds of the front and rear doors. When dropping off at the curb, its an involved process. I have to reach all the way over to the passenger side door and open it. The rear passenger can then open his door and get out. The passenger then has to close the rear door, then the main passenger door, in that order. Its about the same on the drivers side, except that I have to also unbuckle my seat belt.
Don't like it. I like that the B is conventional, and that I don't have to explain it.
I get it. Less rolling resistance makes it more efficient, while the 20's gives it a little bit of the contact patch back. But they're just weird looking.
Having owned a MB BED for exactly one year, I can tell you that there is a definite difference between the luxury expectations of the MB, and the sustainability of the i3. Luxury comes at a cost: The MB is 1300lbs heavier than the i3! But I get leather seats, trays and arm rests in the back, seat memory, more space, etc.
The i3 has aggressive regenerative braking when you lift off the accelerator pedal. This is great during stop and go traffic. But what about when you just want to coast? Isn't it more efficient to accelerate again after coasting, than it is to accelerate after aggressive regen braking? I mean, you're going slower after braking, so it makes sense that you have to accelerate longer to regain your speed. Think about it: Going from 45 to 40 to 45 is better than going from 45 to 30 to 45. I guess you can coast with the i3 too, but it would take a lot of foot control to hold the pedal in just the right spot...
I think the ICE version of the B-Class is about 1000 lbs less. So the MB is overweight and top heavy. It doesn't handle or ride like it was a purpose built car. The i3 on the other hand, seems to be able to handle it when you have the itch. I have a tuned Mazdaspeed, so I've had my fun in a car. But the sweet spot of my car is above 60 MPH. An EV with its instant and quiet torque can scratch that itch even at legal speeds.
The i3 truly is revolutionary. If the specs fit your needs, I would recommend it. But we have a 9 and a 12 year old, and frequently drop them off and pick them up around the neighborhood. Having to get out and unbuckle each time is a deal breaker. I guess I'll stick with my NVH car until the 16 Leaf comes out.