Orders have opened for Mercedes Vans all electric e-Vito

Orders have opened for Mercedes Vans' all electric e-Vito

Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to offer all its commercial van model lines with electric drive, starting with the mid-size eVito, now available to order, with deliveries commencing in the second half of 2018.

Further model ranges will follow, starting in 2019.

The van maker presented its "holistic electric drive strategy" in Berlin, saying the focus was not just on the electric van itself but also on a "technological ecosystem tailored specifically to customers' business needs".

According to Mercedes, a "holistic strategy based on five cornerstones delivers an innovative total system solution covering the entire value chain of commercial usage. In order to meet this goal, customer co-creation plays a central role in product development, integrating the strategic partner and their industry expertise into the development process". The new eVito is the first production vehicle to have been developed using this approach.

"We are convinced by the necessity of electric drive in our vans, especially in city centre applications. That said, electrification of the commercial fleet is not an end in itself, but follows the same principles as a classic drive when it comes to profitability. With our eDrive@VANs initiative, we're showing that only holistic mobility solutions extending beyond the drive itself present a real alternative for commercial customers. The eVito is the starting point and will be followed by the new generation Sprinter as well as the Citan", said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

If fleet electrification is to compete on equal terms with the classic internal combustion engine, it will need more than the right economic parameters such as the cost of purchasing and operating the vehicles. Just as important from the perspective of total cost of ownership is the integration of a robust charging infrastructure as well as comprehensive service and maintenance management.

The eVito costs from EUR39,990 in Germany excluding VAT with orders open now ahead of first deliveries scheduled for the second half of 2018.

The first 1,000 orders on a dedicated microsite will receive a service package including Wallbox. The eVito will be followed in 2019 by the eSprinter with the Citan to follow.

Holistic ecosystem augments vehicle development

Daimler reckons an "off the shelf, one size fits all" electric model for tradespeople, couriers and people movers has no long-term future, which is why it is pursuing tailor made total system products based on expert advice. Dialogue with customers will enable the individual adaptation of operating concepts to meet sector needs, fleet size and driving profile as well as the structural prerequisites for creating a dedicated charging infrastructure on company premises. The advice provided thus extends well beyond choosing the right vehicle variants and industry specific equipment details. The use of connectivity solutions specific to electric vehicles as well as financing and mobility concepts will also be addressed at the early planning stages.

The dealership network offers nationwide service in electric mobility as the basis for reliable, round the clock management of maintenance and servicing while other elements include an intelligent charging infrastructure, connectivity technology for charge status, battery range and optimum route planning in real-time, the eVAN Ready App and TCO tool for analysis of driving behaviour and overall costs, rental vehicles for peak periods and a driver training programme for electric fleets.

"Employee training is particularly crucial to the effective use of an electric van in everyday business as the right driving style can have a positive impact on maximum range," Daimler said.

Mercedes-Benz Vans will offer versatile and flexible base electric vehicles that can be adapted during the purchasing process in their range and load facilities to suit their specific usage scenarios.

Focus on profitability and low TCO

Comparing electric with diesel powered Vito, Daimler says the higher purchase price is offset by lower energy and maintenance costs as well as tax savings. A prerequisite is the appropriate framework, such as attractive electricity pricing. Rapid developments in battery technology promise that electric drive vehicles will be amortised faster than those with conventional engines and will offer distinct commercial and environmental benefits.

Customer co-creation during development

Strategic customers such as logistics service provider, Hermes, and its specific requirements are integrated directly into the ongoing development of the electric vehicles and services. Hermes and Mercedes-Benz Vans agreed on a cooperation earlier this year, and will embark on a pilot phase in Hamburg and Stuttgart at the start of 2018. The electric fleet, which will be used for parcel deliveries, will subsequently be rolled out to other urban areas and reach 1,500 electric Vito and Sprinter by 2020. The strategic cooperation also includes working together to generate a concept for an efficient charging infrastructure at Hermes logistics centres, and IT services for optimum control of the electric fleet. In addition, the entire delivery process will be accelerated through the likes of automatic load space systems that facilitate automated loading and unloading of packages.

eVito

Deutsche Accumotive – a Daimler subsidiary based in Kamenz near Dresden – supplies batteries for the eVito. With an installed battery capacity of 41.4 kWh, the range will be around 150km. Even in unfavourable conditions such as low outside temperatures and with a full load, it will have a range of 100km (60 miles). The battery can be fully charged in around six hours and electric motor output is 84 kW and 300Nm. Top speeds of 80 km/h or 120 km/h are offered.

Initially, it will be possible to pre-order the eVito with 5,140 mm or 5,370 mm wheelbase. Maximum payload is 1,073 kg and maximum load volume 6.6sq m. Installation of the battery beneath the vehicle contributes to unrestricted usability of the entire load space. Maximum gross vehicle weight is 3,200 kg.

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