In February 2018 the time will finally have come for Mercedes-Benz Vans to unveil the new Sprinter to a global audience. The third generation of Vans’ flagship model isn’t just a new vehicle, but the first overall van solution to be fully connected and uniquely scalable, and to feature a noiseless electric drive system, customized hardware solutions for the load compartment, and a range of combined ride-sharing and rental services. The new model will be fully in line with Mercedes-Benz Vans’ future-oriented adVANce initiative.
What does this mean specifically?
Among other things, it marks the first time that the hardware for Internet access has been integrated as an inseparable part, deep in the vehicle’s infrastructure. This means that all fleet customers — from small operations to major clients — will be able to benefit from Mercedes PRO connect in the future. This web-based service gives fleet managers an overview of their vehicles. They can for example manage jobs in real time, and see where each vehicle is at any moment, when they need to refuel and when they need to go into the workshop for maintenance.
Our new Sprinter also raises the bar in terms of the diversity of variants, of which there will be more than 1,000 basic types. This is because vans have never been used in as many different ways as they are now. Some customers use the Sprinter as a construction site vehicle, cleaning it in the evenings with the pressure washer. Others use it to shuttle VIPs from A to B. As a result, the portfolio ranges from a basic variant for price-sensitive customers through to a high-end version. The Sprinter will be available with a conventional cab or a crew cab, as a bus, as a panel van, and with right-hand or left-hand drive. It will also come in different body lengths, drive system variants, load compartment heights, and, beginning in 2019, also with an electric motor. Once Vans has introduced the eVito and the eSprinter, it will also electrify all of the other commercial model series in the years ahead. And because Mercedes-Benz Vans won’t simply produce batteries on wheels, it will work together with the customers to develop customized ecosystems. Among other things, this means that the vehicles will be supplied with connectivity services and optional power supply equipment, and also have the new concepts incorporated into existing operations. However, the concepts will always take into account the size of the fleets, the driving profile, and the structural preconditions for the charging infrastructure.
But let’s return to the wide range of variants. The stowage concept aptly illustrates the versatility of the interior. Our customers can choose between open, enclosed, and closable compartments in the roof lining and in the cockpit. The same applies to the equipment of the instrument panel. The optional new telematics generation with maximum connectivity marks the top of the product range. Customers who do not require an infotainment system have a stowage compartment fitted in the same place.
In addition to a broad range of equipment options, the vehicle will feature customized sector-appropriate hardware solutions for the load compartment in order to make daily work easier for business owners and employees. For example, the courier, express, and parcel delivery sector will be assisted by a largely automated goods registration and loading system, and with vehicles that are integrated as effectively as possible into the logistics chain. Among other things, these vehicles will feature a low loading height, electric parking brake, and appropriate load compartment concepts. The latter is particularly relevant because people are increasingly also ordering food via their computers. This food must be delivered just as cool and fresh as if the customer in person had bought it from the supermarket shelf or weekly market.
In the future, the skilled trades could also benefit from the In-Van Delivery & Return connectivity solution, which is currently undergoing testing. In this solution, a logistics service provider collects parts that are no longer required from the vehicle and delivers those that are required for the next day directly to the vehicle overnight.
A variety of requirements have to be met in the passenger transportation sector. Companies expect a reliable vehicle, the driver's priority is a pleasant work environment, and passengers want to be transported from A to B quickly and in comfort. These diverse requirements are squarely met by the new Sprinter, whose cab and rear boast high-quality appointments that are without parallel in this segment. Vehicle occupants have access to USB charging facilities and Wi-Fi, for example. Another highlight: Daimler intends to put smart mobility solutions on the road by offering the on-demand ride-sharing service Via — in the Sprinter too, of course.