In eDrive@VANs, Mercedes-Benz Vans combines all of its activities related to electric mobility in commercial contexts and demonstrates how efficiency, economy, and reliability function in a commercial vehicle. Some initial impressions are provided by the battery-electric eVito and eSprinter models, as well as the technology vehicle Concept Sprinter F-CELL.
In day-to-day fleet operation, battery-electric vehicles will be measured against the same standards as conventionally powered vehicles. With the eVito, which has been available since the IAA Commercial Vehicles 2018 auto show, Mercedes-Benz Vans is proving that electric models are competitive and that they can match conventional combustion engines on cost, depending on the vehicle’s intended use.
Electric vans for many transport needs
In order to meet as many transport needs as possible while allowing many different sectors to enter the world of locally emission-free electric mobility, Mercedes-Benz will soon stage the market launch of a second model, the eSprinter. This large van will make its market debut next year. After that, it will be the Citan’s turn to go electric.
When it comes to assessing the various powertrain options, Mercedes-Benz has adopted a new approach since the eDrive@VANs strategy was unveiled: The customer’s intended application is now the decisive factor. The choice of a battery-electric drive or a conventional combustion engine will be dependent solely on which one represents the best solution for the particular application. In the medium-term future, the drive system portfolio will be extended by the addition of the fuel cell. The advantages of this technology are showcased by the Concept Sprinter F-CELL.
A locally emission-free vehicle fleet, which nonetheless meets every expectation in terms of everyday utility, flexibility, reliability, and economy: The eVito resolves these apparent contradictions. We are at the forefront of this trend, and we will exploit this momentum, adding the eSprinter to our range and, in the medium term, offering battery-electric drives for our entire van portfolio. The decision in favor of a particular drivetrain variant must be determined by the intended use and not by the availability of the matching vehicle class. That is why we are expanding our eDrive@VANs strategy with the fuel-cell powertrain, which presents great opportunities in the medium term, especially for long-haul operators.
The eVito: a range of 150 kilometers, fully recharged after six hours
The new eVito will be used mainly for urban deliveries. Thanks to its range and load capacity, it also meets the needs of tradespeople and service technicians. An installed battery capacity of 41 kWh makes for a range of around 150 kilometers. Even under unfavorable conditions, the vehicle is good for 100 kilometers. The full range is again available after just six hours charging time.
The battery-electric drive system offers an output of 85 kW along with up to 300 Newton meters of torque, making it well suited to urban use. The top speed can be adjusted to the particular application. If the eVito is primarily used in the city, a maximum speed of 80 km/h conserves energy while increasing the range. Alternatively, it is possible to configure a maximum speed of 100 km/h or 120 km/h.
The midsized van comes in two different wheelbases. The basic version with an overall length of 5,140 millimeters has a maximum payload of 1,073 kilograms, putting it on a par with the conventionally powered Vito. The extra-long version measures 5,370 millimeters. Its generously sized load compartment can take a payload of up to 1,048 kilograms. The maximum permissible gross vehicle weight is 3,200 kilograms. The positioning of the batteries also guarantees maximum flexibility with a load capacity between 6.0 and 6.6 m³. The batteries are mounted under the vehicle and therefore do not reduce the cargo space.
The energy management system makes an important contribution to maximizing the range. Auxiliary climate control, for example, allows the vehicle interior to be warmed up or cooled down before the engine is started. This not only makes for enhanced comfort but also reduces the energy needed for climate control while on the road. This makes it possible to effectively avoid temporary load spikes. Another element is energy recovery. This develops its full potential primarily in urban traffic, where there are numerous deceleration phases. The eVito comes with three drive programs and four energy recovery levels. They take different usage parameters and individual driving styles into consideration, enabling the driver to get the most out of the vehicle at all times.
The eSprinter has all the qualities of a segment pioneer
In 2019, the eSprinter will follow hard on the heels of the eVito. This pioneer of the large van segment is the perfect companion, whether it’s used as a mobile workshop or as a spacious delivery vehicle. The new eSprinter will be initially offered as a panel van with a high roof and a permissible gross vehicle weight of 3,500 kilograms. Like the Sprinter with a combustion engine, it has a maximum load capacity of 10.5 m3. An installed battery capacity of 55 kWh makes for an anticipated range of approximately 150 kilometers with a maximum payload of 900 kilograms. The second battery option lets customers give priority to other types of use. Three battery units with a capacity of 41 kWh allow a range of about 115 kilometers. In return, the maximum load capacity rises by approximately 140 kilograms to around 1,040 kilograms.
The electric drive in the eSprinter has an output of 85 kW with a torque of up to 300 Newton meters. As with the eVito, the maximum speed can be configured to suit the application: 80 km/h, 100 km/h or as much as 120 km/h if necessary.
No compromises on safety and reliability
To enable the eVito and the eSprinter to establish themselves on the market, their functionality, safety, comfort, and everyday utility must be on a par with models that have conventional drive systems. The same standards apply to their reliability, even during tough everyday commercial use, and to their reliable maintenance and service management. Mercedes-Benz Vans provides around-the-clock service and a comprehensive aftersales network with appropriately trained employees. In everyday fleet management, this service quality includes short maintenance and repair times as the basis for minimized downtimes. The distribution and service network ensures that a battery-electric fleet can be run economically and conveniently.
A customized overall system solution for each individual application
The eDrive@VANs strategy of Mercedes-Benz Vans includes not only the electrification of the vehicle fleet but also a customized overall system solution for each individual fleet. This includes advice on vehicle selection, assistance with tools such as the eVAN Ready app, which can be used to check online whether battery-electric models can play a role in the customer’s own fleet, and an overview of the total cost of ownership. Equally decisive for potential eVito and eSprinter users is an analysis of the organizational and technical circumstances at the premises of commercial customers. Finally, the inclusion of an intelligent charging infrastructure lays the foundation for conserving resources with a commercial fleet while remaining economically competitive.
The Concept Sprinter F-CELL shows expansion of the eDrive@VANs strategy
More than ever before, Mercedes-Benz Vans is making the choice of a drivetrain dependent on the maximum possible benefit to the customer. In addition to the vehicle technology, the system weight, charging/refueling time, range, and economic efficiency are also taken into consideration. In the future, Mercedes-Benz Vans will expand its eDrive@VANs strategy with the fuel cell. Based on the example of a semi-integrated camper van, the Concept Sprinter F-CELL showcases the full spectrum of the typical advantages of a fuel cell, from a long range to locally emission-free mobility. These attributes are also ideally suited for other applications, such as long courier trips or small intercity buses. The Concept Sprinter F-CELL unites fuel cell and battery technology in a plug-in hybrid. The intelligent combination of a battery and a fuel cell makes for an electric output of approximately 147 kW along with a torque of 350 Newton meters. The three tanks in the vehicle substructure store a total of 4.5 kilograms of hydrogen, allowing a range of around 300 kilometers. If a longer range is required, it is possible to add another tank at the rear, increasing the range to as much as 500 kilometers. As a plug-in hybrid, the Concept Sprinter F-CELL can “refuel” not only with hydrogen but also with electricity. This boosts its range by up to 30 kilometers.
The basis for almost limitless conversion options
The positioning of the hydrogen tanks in the vehicle substructure, the positioning of the fuel cell in the front-end assembly, and the rear wheel drive make for maximum flexibility when it comes to designing the interior. With a self-sufficient power supply for the living area and a long range, this technology vehicle fully exploits its advantages as a travel companion or, in other applications, as a spacious load carrier.
The design of the Concept Sprinter F-CELL, with rear-wheel drive and a relatively low system weight, provides the greatest possible flexibility for additional conversions as well as for commercial applications with high payloads. With a modular system, the fuel cell can establish itself as an alternative to conventional or battery-electric drivetrains for use over shorter distances for the maximum possible number of use cases.