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April 30, 2014

Meet The Guy Who Just Went A Year Without Showering (And Isn't Stopping)

Rob Greenfield made friends, found romance, and had the adventure of a lifetime, all without a single shower.

Driving The Mercedes Electric Car, All For $42,375.00

Let's start with range. Mercedes expects to be EPA rated at 85 miles. My testing suggested that this is eminently achievable even during spirited driving. I wouldn't be surprised to see the range rated at 90 miles or more. As with the… As of this writing, the release of the BMW i3's EPA-rated range was imminent. Most people have guessed the BMWs range somewhere around 90 miles as well. From this perspective, given that the base prices of the BMW and Mercedes are similar, the Mercedes offers more: Up to 15% more range, plus what appears to be a higher level of standard equipment, including front-facing radar (part of a $2,500 option package on the BMW) and non-cloth seats. When you combine this with the Mercedes fitting a 3rd person in the back seat, and the much larger luggage space, the choice seems easy. However, the story doesn't end there. The BMW offers two options that could be crucial decision factors for some buyers: 1. A $700 option, the BMW offers DC charging, which could give you almost 70 miles of range in 30 minutes. Mercedes has no such thing. 2. A $3,850 option, the BMW offers a gasoline generator with a two-gallon tank, adding close to 70 miles of extra range. This is likely to be a very popular option as it takes range anxiety off the table. As a result, one could argue this Mercedes-BMW comparison two ways: Comparing the base cars, Mercedes is the clear value winner. However, the BMW can be optioned to deliver something where Mercedes simply doesn't compete. And either way, the Mercedes offers more interior room. The struggle between Mercedes and BMW is one thing, but one could argue that the greater opportunity is to take sales from Nissan's best-selling EV, the LEAF. The price of a well-equipped LEAF is $35,870, which isn't that much less than the $42,375 Mercedes. In comparison to the LEAF, the Mercedes is faster, has more interior room, is overall a more substantial car, and offers at least 15% more electric range. All of that for $6,505. Until the longer-range LEAF becomes available at some nondescript point in the future, I see the LEAF losing sales to the Mercedes. What about the driving characteristics? The electric Mercedes offers acceleration between the faster BMW and the slightly slower Chevrolet Volt. The noise insulation is the best of these cars although the BMW feels at least just as rigid and well-built. Thanks to its compact dimensions, the Mercedes feels very nimble on twisty roads. However, the BMW i3 is even more nimble, with extremely precise and direct steering. The Mercedes basically feels like a Volt on stilts, but with more noise insulation. On its most aggressive setting, I found the Mercedes' regenerative braking to be slightly stronger than the Volt, but less strong and well-calibered than the BMW. A first for any car, the Mercedes offers an automatic/adaptive braking setting that applies more regen when the radar senses an object ahead. I didn't like the automatic setting in comparison to the heavy regen setting, which was more consistent in city traffic. Mercedes provides an 8-year, 100,000 mile warranty for the battery, against more than 20% capacity loss. You basically take the car in for service once a year to get it checked. All in all, the Mercedes B-Class electric seems very well-built, has a very sane and utilitarian body that is very easy to park, and behaves neutrally on the road. Its position in the competitive landscape is one of being better than BMW's and Chevrolet's offerings on some things, while being behind on other metrics. It is a most welcome addition to the choices. Considering its relatively conservative styling, uncomplicated operation and neutral behavior, one could envision this all-electric Mercedes as a complement to the garages of existing loyal Mercedes owners, as a second or third car. The price is right, and the car provides lots of utility for what I call 'SSS' -- school, supermarket and soccer field. It could also be a commuter car. On an island such as Hawaii, it would be ideal. The pure electric car market right now is suffering from public charging station availability being too unreliable, mostly because there being too may EVs fighting for too few spots. You can charge at home and at work, but other than that it has become a crapshoot. I see this problem becoming worse and worse for at least the next couple of years. This makes the proposition for a pure EV a very difficult one who thinks rationally about not the 99% of the time when you travel a short distance, but about the inevitable 1% of the time when you forget to charge or have to travel longer on short and unexpected notice. As a result, the larger market for plug-in cars is likely going to be hybrids, where you will still charge at home and at the office, but where you don't have to suffer from all public charging stations being busy almost all the time. Mercedes has already announced the S-class and C-class plug-in hybrids. Most likely, there will be such a version of every major Mercedes nameplate within the next three years, and for good reason. The B-class electric is a wonderful car that will create a successful niche. It will take sales away from Nissan, and be a worthy competitor to the base version of the BMW i3. At the time of submitting this article, the author had no position in the companies mentioned.

Honest Trailers Takes Down The Entire "Spider-Man" Trilogy

Honest Trailers, the lovely channel-within-a-channel from Screen Junkies, takes the entire Spider-Man trilogy to town with this destructive mockery. "The Godfather trilogy of Superhero movies, in that the first two are great, and the third one sucks ass."

11 Of Your Favorite Disney Princesses Reimagined As Fairies

Artist Laura Knighton has reimagined the Disney Princesses as fairies. It looks like Tinkerbell is going to have a whole lot more to be jealous about!

13 Snarky News Headlines About Women, Improved

The Vagenda Magazine asked their Twitter followers to tweet them edited headlines. Their followers did not disappoint.

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