Mercedes-Benz launches fully-electric Sprinter van, the eSprinter

Dave Kunz Image
Thursday, February 22, 2024
Mercedes eSprinter is brand's new fully-electric Sprinter van
The Mercedes eSprinter is similar to the regular Sprinter but is battery-only and glides pretty quietly. Range is estimated at 248 miles or more.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For more than 20 years in the U.S., and much longer in Europe, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been an icon in the van world.

"The 'Sprinter segment.' Which I think is officially called the large van segment, but it's also the Sprinter segment," said Klaus Rehkugler, global head of Mercedes-Benz vans.

Now, a very different kind of big van from Mercedes: the eSprinter. E meaning...electric.

"Delivery sector, industry sectors, but also we're looking at craftsmen, e-grocery, delivery stuff. Goods that enter a city. So there are lots of commercial use cases that we're looking at," added Rehkugler.

It's pretty much the same as the conventional Sprinter, but is battery-only, and glides along pretty quietly. Range is estimated at 248 miles, or possibly more.

The electric work van segment is definitely growing. The eSprinter will be hitting U.S. roads soon, joining the Ford E-Transit, which has been out for a while. GM has a whole new division called BrightDrop, which produces the Zevo, already in use by FedEx. And Ram has a battery-powered version of its ProMaster van on the way.

Obviously the target for the eSprinter is large fleets, as well as small business owners and tradespeople. Mercedes also hints it could be a hit with retail customers who live what's called "van life" - camping and such.

Electric vehicles aren't quite ready for every commercial situation. For example, going long distances over highways, the recharging times are just too high. But for local deliveries they're a great solution.

Think about all those vans you see day in and day out, making the rounds in your neighborhood. Practically speaking, in metropolitan areas they could mostly be replaced with electrics.

"And you'll be able to cover 99.9% of all those daily routes," said Rehkugler.

Delivery vans typically run a fixed route each day with little variation in total miles. At night, they return to their base of operations, easily recharging while stationary anyway. And, charging during the overnight hours means using off-peak power, which is often priced lower.

While somewhat expensive - the eSprinter costs in excess of $70,000 to start - that expense can be offset by lower overall operating costs.

"We offer a proposition to our customers that is fundamentally cheaper than operating a combustion vehicle," noted Rehkugler.

So in the near future, you might see plenty of these eSprinters in your neighborhood taking care of business, literally. But being electric powered, you just aren't as likely to hear them.

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