Mercedes-Benz recently presented two all-electric vans, the eVito which comes to the market within three months and the new eSprinter, scheduled for 2019.

Both models, the pre-production eVito and first example of eSprinter prototype were tested by Autogefühl, who appreciates the simplicity and usability of the new electric vans (on par with conventional versions), but feels a little worried about the range (100-150 km in most cases).

It seems that manufacturers in Europe (Daimler, Nissan, Volkswagen) are repeating the strategy from the plug-in hybrid market, by offering low-range delivery vehicles so as to not increase the price too much.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter:

  • 41.4 kWh batery or 55 kWh battery
  • around 115 km (71 miles) with 41 kWh or around 150 km (93 miles) with 55 kWh when conditions are unfavourable
  • payload of 900 kg (55 kWh) or 1,040 kg (41 kWh) and maximum cargo volume is 10.5 m3
  • 84 kW and 300 Nm of torque
  • top speed of 80 km/h conserves energy and increases the range (alternatively, it can be configured for a top speed of up to 120 km/h)

Gallery: Electric Van Face-Off - Mercedes eSprinter vs eVito

Mercedes-Benz eVito spec:

  • 41.4 kWh batery
  • around 150 km of range (93 miles) or 100 km (62 miles) when conditions are unfavourable
  • payload of up to 1073 kilograms and cargo volume of up to 6.6 m3 depending on version
  • 84 kW and 300 Nm of torque
  • top speed of 80 km/h conserves energy and increases the range (alternatively, it can be configured for a top speed of up to 120 km/h)
  • fully recharged in six hours

Gallery: Electric Van Face-Off - Mercedes eSprinter vs eVito

"Efficient, economical, flexible and reliable at all times: in everyday fleet operation, battery electric vehicles are measured against the same parameters as vehicles with conventional drives. With the eVito, which comes to market right after the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Vans is proving that electrified models are competitive and, depending on use case, able to hold their own in terms of cost against classic internal combustion engines. That is why the brand with the three-pointed star has been taking a new approach since the introduction of the eDrive@VANs strategy – the use case is now the key factor when it comes to evaluating various powertrain options. Battery-electric drive or classic internal combustion engines are then only selected when they offer the optimum prerequisites for a defined application. "

"Check practicality with the eVAN Ready app

The level of interest in this new form of mobility already apparent ahead of market launch shows that the new eVito model range meets customer expectations. One strong indicator of positive customer feedback is the extensive use of the eVAN Ready app, which enables users to check online whether battery-electric models could play a role in their own fleet.

“A zero-local-emissions fleet that still meets all expectations in terms of everyday usability, flexibility, reliability and economy – the eVito dispels these apparent contradictions. We are at the forefront of this development, will use the momentum, follow up with the eSprinter and, in the medium term, offer battery-electric drive across the entire van line-up. We want the selection of a specific powertrain variant to be determined by the respective use case and not by the availability of the suitable vehicle class”, says Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans."

"Vehicle energy management – the supreme discipline

Starting with a defined use case for the configuration of exactly the right vehicle with battery-electric drive requires consideration of the fleet as a whole. This also means more than ever that the interdependency of different variables must be included in the calculation. In certain situations, the longest possible range and the use of comfortable extras are diametrically opposed and have to be adapted to the respective use case. For reasons of efficiency and resource conservation, energy management is a crucial discipline in all Mercedes-Benz vehicles. However, in battery-electric models it is the most critical factor, the “ supreme discipline”.

Seat heating, efficient heating control during winter or use of air conditioning in summer have a direct impact on the energy gauge and thus on the range. This is where Mercedes-Benz Vans has achieved a careful balance that takes into account both the range requirements and the comfort of the workstation behind the wheel. One important factor in this is pre-conditioning, which, depending on the outside temperature, warms or cools the vehicle interior before the motor is started. Not only does this hugely increase driver and passenger comfort, it also lowers the energy required for climate control while driving, thus effectively avoiding load peaks.

Recuperation is another way of increasing range. The potential savings are dependent largely upon use case (incl. payload) and driving cycles. This form of energy recovery unfolds its full potential above all in city traffic with lots of deceleration phases. That’s why the eVito is offered with three driving programmes and four further recuperation phases that enable the driver to get the very best from his/her vehicle at all times based on different usage parameters and individual driving style.

No compromises in safety and reliability

To establish the eVito and then also the eSprinter in the market, functionality, comfort and everyday usability must be on par with that of diesel-powered models. The same goes for the reliability under the challenging circumstances of daily used commercial vehicles and also for a dependable maintenance and service management.

Mercedes-Benz Vans offers a round-the-clock service network and comprehensive aftersales support with suitably trained and qualified service personnel. In the everyday business of fleet management, this service quality, including short maintenance and repair times, forms the basis for minimising downtime. The sales and service network ensures that operating a battery-electric fleet is economical and straightforward."