The next-gen model is promised with more than double the range of the current electric van, and plenty of variants.
Ford may have the early lead in the U.S. when it comes to battery-electric vans, but Mercedes-Benz is not far behind. A few days ago Mercedes-Benz revealed it is testing the eSprinter, slated to be produced in South Carolina soon, at Sweden’s Arjeplog proving grounds, not far from the Arctic Circle. The electric cargo van is undergoing tests focused on thermal management, ergonomics and handling, at double-digit temperatures below zero. The automaker is also testing the performance of software and interfaces in the winter cold, in addition to charging behavior, drive components, and heating systems. The electric cargo van, which will arrive in 2023, will be offered with a choice of three battery versions and several body variants, including as a chassis cab, box body, and a variety of cargo vans.
“After only half of several weeks of planned tests it became clear that the next generation eSprinter defies both ice and snow, extreme temperatures and can cope with the most difficult test cycles,” the automaker notes. The next-gen eSprinter is promised to offer more than double the range of the current one, according to Mercedes, which means we’ll see a serious bump over the 96-mile WLTP range of the current 55-kWh model, which is not currently offered stateside. But whether the longest-range version will break through the 250-mile barrier is an open question.
Mercedes is expected to offer a 120-kWh battery in the longest-range version of the van, while the smallest one will be about half that size. This should put the model pretty close to the 250-mile figure, which will certainly allow it to exceed the range of the Ford E-Transit, all versions of which are equipped with a 68-kWh battery pack. Deliveries of the E-Transit began just days ago. When it comes to work vans, trying to achieve range comparable to passenger models via large batteries runs into diminishing returns quickly, as the vast majority are used by local businesses in a limited geographic area. Therefore, a lot of users won’t be doing even a hundred miles in a single day, and will rely on recharging overnight at their home base.
The eSprinter won’t be the sole electric Mercedes van on the market in Europe, as the automaker already offers the EQV, eVito Panel Van and eVito Tourer, with plans to add the T-Class and the eCitan to the battery-electric lineup. So there are quite a few models already on the menu, with more on the way. Mercedes will reveal the U.S. pricing for the eSprinter and detailed EPA numbers closer to its commercial launch stateside. The model itself will be unveiled later this year.