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Mercedes-Benz eVito goes on sale this fall, eSprinter next year; fuel cell powertrain coming in medium term; Concept Sprinter F-CELL

Last fall, Mercedes-Benz Vans announced it would offer electric drive options on all its commercial van model lines starting with the mid-size eVito, with further model ranges following in 2019. (Earlier post.) Now, Mercedes-Benz has announced that the eVito will come to market right after the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles in September with the eSprinter to make its debut next year.

Mercedes-Benz Vans also announced that it will augment its powertrain line-up in the medium term with a fuel cell option. Showcasing the merits of this technology is the Concept Sprinter F-CELL.

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Left to right: eVito, eSprinter, Concept Sprinter F-CELL.

eVito. The new eVito is suited primarily for urban delivery. However, its range and load capacity also meet the demands of tradespeople and service technicians. An installed battery capacity of 41 kWh delivers a range of around 150 kilometres (93 miles). Even when conditions are unfavorable, the customer still has a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles). The full range is restored after six hours of charging.

The battery-electric drive generates 84 kW and up to 300 N·m of torque. The top speed can be adapted to the given use case. If the eVito is driven largely in city-center environments, a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) conserves energy and increases the range. Alternatively, it can be configured for a top speed of up to 120 km/h (75 mph).

The mid-size van can be ordered with one of two available wheelbases. The base version has an overall length of 5140 millimeters and a maximum payload of 1073 kilograms, placing it on par with the conventionally powered Vito. The extra-long version comes to 5370 millimeters.

Its generous cargo space has room for goods and wares up to a payload of 1048 kilograms. The maximum gross vehicle weight is 3200 kilograms. The position of the batteries also ensures excellent flexibility, with a cargo volume of between 6.0 and 6.6 m3. The energy storage units are located underneath the vehicle and do not impinge on cargo space in any way.

Not least of all, the eVito demonstrated its reliability and the technical maturity of all components during extensive winter testing. (Earlier post.) Handling, efficiency, ergonomics and comfort in extreme conditions were closely examined at temperatures of as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius, in snow and on icy roads. The tests also covered charging and driving characteristics in the cold as well as the low-temperature resistance of the powertrain components and software.

eSprinter. The new eSprinter will be offered initially as a panel van with a high roof and a gross vehicle weight of 3500 kilograms. Just like a Sprinter with an internal combustion engine, the maximum cargo volume is 10.5 m3.

With an installed battery capacity of 55 kWh, the anticipated range stands at around 150 kilometers with a maximum payload of 900 kilograms. The second battery option allows customers to set other priorities in the usage parameters. Three battery units with a capacity of 41 kWh deliver a range of around 115 kilometers (71 miles). In return, the maximum payload increases by around 140 kilograms to approximately 1040 kilograms.

Like the entry-level diesel engine, the electric drive in the eSprinter generates 84 kW and torque of up to 300 N·m. Just like the eVito, the top speed can be configured for purpose—to a maximum speed of 80 km/h or up to 120 km/h if more pace is required.

Concept Sprinter F-CELL showcases expansion of eDrive@VANs strategy. Mercedes-Benz Vans is making the selection of the right powertrain concept dependent upon customer benefits. Besides vehicle technology, this also takes into consideration system weight, charging or refueling time, range and commercial economy.

Looking to the future, Mercedes-Benz will enhance the eDrive@VANs strategy with the fuel cell. The Concept Sprinter F-CELL uses the example of a semi-integrated motorhome to show the full breadth of the characteristic benefits of a fuel cell, from long-range to zero-local-emissions mobility. These are characteristics that are also ideally suited to other use cases such as longer courier routes or minibuses in inter-urban operation.

The Concept Sprinter F-CELL combines fuel cell and battery technology in a plug-in hybrid. The intelligent interaction of battery and fuel cell delivers an electric output of around 147 kW and 350 N·m of torque.

The three tanks in the substructure store a total of 4.5 kilograms of hydrogen and facilitate a range of around 300 kilometers (186 km). If a longer range is required, another tank at the rear of the vehicle can be added, lifting the range to as much as 530 kilometers (329 miles).

Comments

Davemart

I think it is now clear that limits to batteries mean that to cover the duty cycle of diesel delivery vehicles we need fuel cell range extenders.

Not only is that important in its own right, but it means that the supposedly massive impediment of creating a fuel cell infrastructure is overcome, as they will be needed to enable the elimination of pollution in deliveries anyway.

That is good news for prospective buyers of fuel cell cars.

SJC

It have my doubts about fuel cells in mini vans, but we will see.

gryf

Now I can build my All Electric "Glamper Van" and for those emergency times when a recharger is not close it will have a BMW Range Extender in the Frunk (for reference see the Workhorse N-Gen configuration).
Expect Winnebago to have one in 2020.

HarveyD

Excellent use of small FCs. Champers and Vans with FCs as range extender will solve all three major issues (range-speed, low pollution and short refill time) .

These Mercedes units will be copied by many other major manufacturers.

Davemart

SJC:

La Poste already has hundreds of Renault Kangoo ZE vans with a fuel cell range extender on the road.

SJC

Oh yeah, they have hundreds but I mean millions.

HarveyD

Hundreds will be followed by Thousands (now) and by Millions (by 2020+) .

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