Rumors of an electric B Class from Mercedes-Benz have been making the rounds for ages now, but at the 2012 Paris Auto Show, we'll be treated to the debut of the new Concept B Class Electric Drive, a version of which is headed to production in 2014.

Mercedes says the Concept B Class Electric drive is "almost ready for series production," but doesn't give us any hint as to what may not yet be quite ready for primetime. Nonetheless, the specs look good at first glance: a 100 kilowatt (134 horsepower) electric motor produces 229 pound-feet of torque and a driving range of 124 miles, according to the announcement.

Both standard 230-volt and 400-volt rapid-charging are possible, though the rapid-charge option requires a special terminal. That's pretty standard fare--as are the drivetrain specifications.

The "innovation" in the Concept B Class Electric Drive is the Energy Space, an area under the floor and in front of the rear axle where the battery is located. That means the cargo area and occupant space isn't affected by the conversion to electric power, preserving the B Class's small crossover/microvan/hatchback utility. Mercedes says placing the lithium-ion battery pack in that position also helps to lower the vehicle's center of gravity.

Also new is the apellation "Electric Drive," a term familiar to Daimler-owned Smart, but new to Mercedes. The Electric Drive moniker will now be added to all battery electric Mercedes-Benz, AMG, and Smart vehicles.

As yet there's no official word on whether the electric B Class will make its way to the U.S., but it is a possibility. Full details--and our own live image gallery--will come at the Paris Auto Show's press days, which kick of September 27.