Electric Mercedes B-Class gets integrated charge station finder

A growing network of electric car charging stations is gradually curbing range anxiety, but they won’t be of much use if drivers can’t find them.

As a remedy, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is arriving at dealers with its own version of Recargo’s Plugshare charging station app.

PlugShare is already used by smartphone-wielding drivers to find nearby stations, but Recargo says it developed a special version to be integrated into the electric B-Class’ navigation system. This will give Mercedes drivers a way of finding charging stations that’s comparable to the apps and navigation services offered with other electric cars.

The Nissan LEAF has a station-fining function as part of its navigation system, while the BMW i3 has its own ChargeNow app, part of the carmaker’s partnership with the ChargePoint network of stations.

The Mercedes PlugShare app can locate stations on multiple networks but, unlike Nissan and BMW, Mercedes hasn’t made arrangements with any of these networks for a streamlined pay services in the vein of Nissan’s EZ Charge or BMW’s ChargeNow cards.

Recargo sees the partnership as a way to extend the reach of PlugShare, by getting it onto dashboards as well as smartphone and computer screens.

The PlugShare feature is currently available in the US on the B-Class Electric Drive, which went on sale in the States over the summer in a limited number of markets.

So far, Mercedes has restricted sales to 10 states: California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. These are all market that followed California’s lead in adopting stricter emissions standards.

Mercedes plans to roll out the B-Class Electric Drive nationwide next year. When it does, drivers should have a relatively easy time finding charging stations.