The Mercedes-Benz Dusseldorf plant has started production of the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter. (Earlier post.) Mercedes-Benz has been building its globally successful vans in Dusseldorf since 1962; more than 4.6 million vehicles have been produced in Dusseldorf to date. Since 2018, production of the newest Sprinter has also taken place there, with more than 200,000 units having already left the assembly line.
The battery-electric eSprinter is intended to cover a range of use in urban mobility. Accordingly, it is initially being offered as a panel van with high roof and a permissible gross weight of 3,500 kilograms. Its maximum loading volume is 10.5 m3, the same as for the Sprinter with combustion engine. Similar to the entry-level diesel engine, the electric drive in the eSprinter drives the front wheels with an output of 85 kW and torque of up to 300 N·m.
A flexible payload and battery concept allow adaptation to individual needs for practical use as the customer can choose between three or four battery units. Equipped with a battery capacity of 55 kWh, range is an estimated 168 kilometers (104 miles) with a maximum payload of 891 kg.
A second battery option takes into account other priorities in the use parameters: three instead of four battery units with a capacity of 35 kWh allow a range of around 115 kilometers (71.5 miles). In return, the maximum payload increases by around 140 to approximately 1040 kg.
The integrated fast-charging function provides for more flexibility; 80% of the battery charge can be replenished within 30 minutes. The maximum speed can be configured to suit the task at hand: the top speed can be set at 80 km/h, 100 km/h or even as high as 120 km/h, if speed is essential.
The production of the fully electric eSprinter marks the beginning of a new era in Dusseldorf. Over the past years, already in advance of production of the new Sprinter and the new drive system variants, Mercedes-Benz Vans has invested a total of around €330 million in the technical expansion of production, while taking into account the fact that, in future, the manufacture of both conventionally operated and fully electric vehicles will be built on a single production line.
Besides the investments in the production systems, the plant has also been massively investing in the basic and advanced training of its own employees. Since the decision was made to build the eSprinter in Dusseldorf, the plant has become the competence center for electric drives and has developed the requisite expertise. To date more than 2,400 employees have been trained for handling and assembling the high-voltage technologies.
Various measures have been initiated as part of the company’s green production strategy: energy purchasing at the Dusseldorf plant has also been consistently switching to green energy, and from 2022 electric power is to be procured from 100% renewable sources only.
The CO2 balance sheet of transportation within the plant is also being addressed: at present, new mobility systems, such as on-demand plant shuttles, are being implemented in Dusseldorf. In addition, since 2012 the Dusseldorf plant has already been a paperless factory and is increasingly relying on automatically guided fuel-cell vehicles.