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Mercedes-Benz says electric Vito vans skate through Arctic endurance testing

Mercedes-Benz said that winter trials in Northern Sweden have shown that the new electric eVito vans perform handily under low-temperature adverse conditions. The new eVito was tested for several weeks in the Scandinavian winter, in temperatures down to minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 ˚F). The focus of the trials in Arjeplog near the Arctic Circle was on cold-starting as well as charging and driving characteristics at sub-zero temperatures.

The eVito, the second all-electric production model from Mercedes-Benz Vans after the Vito E-Cell of 2010, has been orderable since November 2017 with deliveries to begin in the second half of 2018. At the test site in Arjeplog with its driving dynamics stretches, turning loop and forest stretch, the vehicles were required to demonstrate their handling, efficiency, ergonomics and comfort under extreme conditions. During test drives on frozen lakelands and on the test site, charging and driving in cold conditions as well as anti-cold protection of the drive components, software and their interfaces (e.g. brakes, ESP) were tested using special metrology equipment.

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How a battery-electric vehicle responds to different climatic conditions is essential to practical fleet management. Thus, in addition to cold-starting and defrosting characteristics, the focus of the testing was also on battery range. With its installed battery capacity of 41.4 kWh, the range of the new eVito will be around 150 km (93 miles). Even in unfavorable circumstances such as at Arjeplog, customers have a range of 100 km (62 miles) available.

The van must also appeal to the drivers who are out and about in it day after day. The interior heating must work reliably at low temperatures, and the window heating must ensure a clear view as rapidly as possible. Other factors include safe handling on snow and ice, as well as winter-resistant components throughout.

All these parameters were tested in Arjeplog by around 30 engineers, electronic specialists and mechanics from Mercedes-Benz Vans. The winter trials are to be followed by summer trials. In summer the eVito will be subjected to further testing in Spain, in temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius (+95 ˚F) in the shade.

Mercedes Benz Vans is planning the electrification of all its commercial model series in the coming years. The start is being made with the eVito, which customers are able to order at a price of €39,990 (US$49,000) (in Germany, excluding VAT). The first 1000 orders will be rewarded with a service package which includes a wallbox. The eVito will be followed by the eSprinter in 2019. The line-up will then be rounded off by the Citan.

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