Mercedes-Benz will offer an electric version of its new B-class compact in the United States starting in 2014, a company source confirmed.
The EV will be based on a new front-wheel-drive platform and will use battery packs, electric motor and other components supplied by Tesla Motors.
"We want to bring another battery-powered vehicle to the market," a source at Mercedes' parent company, Daimler AG, told Automobilwoche, a sibling publication of Automotive News.
Daimler, which owns a 4.7 percent stake in Tesla, sells an electric version of the Smart ForTwo.
Tesla supplied battery packs for the second-generation Smart EV. This fall, Daimler begins production of the third-generation Smart EV, using its own batteries and electric motor.
The source said plans to offer a B-class hybrid in 2014 with a small internal combustion engine as range-extender have been postponed.
"Zero-emission vehicles receive more favorable classifications and higher incentives than vehicles with a range extender," the source said. "This is especially an issue in the U.S."
Mercedes showed the Concept B-class E-cell Plus with a range extender last fall at the Frankfurt auto show. At the time, executives said the vehicle would go into production.
A five-door version of the B class is the first model based on the new platform. It went on sale in Europe last year.
Starting next year, the United States will get at least four vehicles based on the new platform. According to sources in Germany, the four vehicles are the B-class EV, A class, CLA four-door with coupe-styling and a crossover.