First Time EV'er | Why I Chose the B250e... a Confession

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New member
Feb 5, 2020
I can't remember who suggested it first. But it's been over a year since either my wife or I first said it out loud... "maybe we should buy a 100%-electric car." As I type, a new-to-us B250e is sitting in the garage, quietly charging away. We bought it 5 days ago.

First, the specs:

24,900 miles
It came off lease in Oakland, CA in Nov 2019, was sold to auction, and ended up at a dealership in Massachusetts in Jan 2020. The Carfax revealed that it was driven very little since it was returned to the dealership, so it must have travelled across the country on a flatbed.
Exterior has several scrapes and dings, but interior is in excellent shape.

First, the reasons why we said YES to EV, and the B250e in particular:
- The 87-mile range is not really a concern to us. We're a family of four living in a rural setting, so we need 2 cars no matter what. Our other vehicle is a Honda Pilot with 4-wheel drive. If we are honest about it, there are very few potential scenarios where my wife and I both need to travel more than 87 miles on the same day. As long as we plan ahead, we should always be able to coordinate who takes the B250 and who takes the Honda on any given day. In the warmer months, I also have an ICE motorcycle that I can use as a backup for long trips (granted it's a 1971 Triump Bonneville and long trips are not it's forte. But in a pinch...)
- We are lucky that in Vermont, USA, about 90% of our electricity comes from carbon-free sources. Of course, no electricity source is guilt-free, but approximately 60% of our power comes from hydroelectric dams in Quebec, Canada and another 30% is nuclear. So if we're being thoughtful about reducing our family's carbon footprint, trading in our 20mpg Jeep for an EV is a big step forward. (What to do with that nuclear waste is another topic.)
- We couldn't afford to buy a newer model Leaf. And, dude, I'm sorry, but the first-gen Leafs are just too frumpy looking. They look like an upside down cupcake. Put that against the B250e and, c'mon, it's no contest. I've never owned a Mercedes and I never planned to, but with limited choices in the used EV lineup, it made the choice to spend a few thousand dollars more on the Benz'y an easy one.
- Speaking of pricing... we picked up our B250 for $16,476 USD. That included a brand new set of winter tires. After dealer fees and registration (we didn't have to pay tax because our trade-in vehicle was worth more than the B250), we were just shy of $17K. Could we have purchased a 2016 Leaf with the similar mileage, cheaper? Sure. But only $1K or $2K cheaper, and... well, the upside-down-cupcake thing.
- I had an authorized Mercedes dealership do a full inspection of the vehicle and the only flaw they found were the exterior dings and scratches.
- In Vermont, and the Northeastern US in general, rust is a big problem because of the rock salt and brine solutions spread on the roads during the winter. Because this is a California car, it has zero rust, which is a big selling point around here.

And now, the reasons we were RELUCTANT to dive in:
- By far the biggest challenge is that we live in Vermont. We have lots of mountains. Some small, some big, but there's nowhere in the state is flat for more than 1/4 mile. For 5 to 6 months of the year there's snow on the ground. In the spring, we experience a unique phenomena called "mud season," whereby our frozen dirt roads thaw and mutate into muddy messes where 12-inch ruts are not uncommon. For that reason I've always driven Jeeps, and my wife has driven Subarus or some other 4-wheel drive vehicle. The Grand Cherokee I traded in had more than double the ground clearance of the B250e. Will we be relegated to one vehicle (the Honda Pilot) during big snowstorms and the 2 weeks of mud season? Undoubtedly. But that's a sacrifice we can overcome. Again, we just have to plan ahead. Our first big winter storm since purchasing the vehicle is literally rolling in tonight, so we'll see how she performs.
- I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about all the motor failure issues I read about during my research. It seems uncommon enough that I was willing to take the risk, but common enough that I'm constantly listening for strange noises while driving it. Luckily our vehicle is still covered under the 4-year warranty (the dealership that did the inspection confirmed that the 4-year warranty, and 8-year battery warranty, are still in tact.) But the 4-year warranty that covers motor failure expires on June 5, 2020, just four months away. If you're gonna fail me, Elon Musk and whoever-owned-Daimler-in-2016, please fail me before June 5.
- As mentioned, I've never owned a Mercedes. But I know enough to know that when a Benz'y does break, it's going to cost 2 or 3 times more to repair than the Jeeps and Subarus we're used to. The saving grace is that EVs are supposed to have way less maintenance and repair costs. Right? RIGHT?! Let's hope that's true.

Some other comments about our experience so far...
- My kids, age 7 and 9, LOOOOVE the airplane-style fold-out trays in the backseat. So simple, yet such a hit.
- What's up with the MercedesMe app and the mbrace subscription? Am I missing something? They want me to pay for mbrace, and yet I don't see a way to monitor charging progress or remote start, the only things I really care about.
- I'm already a big fan of the PlugShare app. I can easily see myself becoming addicted to finding free-of-charge places to charge wherever I go. Find me "VT250e" username on the app.
- Our electricity rate at home is $0.18 per kWh. When I charged at a public SemaConnect station today, the pkWh was about $0.25. I haven't done math yet to figure how that compares on a per-mile-cost to my 20mpg Jeep, but I know it's waaaay cheaper. As long as that motor don't fail...

Thanks for reading. By far the most valuable insight I gained during my research came from this forum, so thank you to everyone who has contributed over the years. I'd be grateful to hear other owners' thoughts on what I presented above, especially around the "reluctant" bullet points.
Good for you! Sounds like you got a good deal.

You've missed your chance to experience the MercedesMe app. M-B abruptly turned it off late last year. It was pretty erratic in it's ability to connect and you couldn't do much with it, but it's still a shame they killed it. Maybe they thought the new EQC would be out by now with it's own app they could migrate to (or maybe that's just wishful thinking).

It's a remarkable car at used prices. And with Mini and Honda releasing brand new EV's this year with not much more range, it's amazingly still viable despite it's 2014 origins. Plus we have a Tesla battery and drivetrain.

hallcp said:
You've missed your chance to experience the MercedesMe app. M-B abruptly turned it off late last year.

Charles et al.,

That's not been my experience. I have the MercedesMe app on my iPhone, and it has several features that require interaction with my B250e:
Lock & Unlock (Operate door locks)
Send2Benz (Transfer an address to the in vehicle NAV system - this one I use often)
My Dealers (Finds a dealer, probably based on the vehicle location, so far it only shows me the local dealer where I bought the vehicle)

Plus Locate Vehicle (show mapping and walking directions to where I parked, and
Lifestyle (link to MB marketing materials)

Missing is the vehicle charge stats, as I came to the B250e after the feature was shut off. Pity, this one would be very helpful. Our EVSEs at work don't 'talk' over WiFi, so I'm never really sure when the vehicle is fully charged, and I can then release the station for another coworker.

BTW, ChargePoint public stations do send text messages, so you know when it full, or if someone unplugged you - not that's happened to me.