Mercedes-Benz electric vans à la carte.
New generation of electric vans.
Daimler deliberately took a new approach as it developed its new generation of electric vans. Long before the market launch of the eVito and the eSprinter, Daimler conducted direct talks to find out and analyse customers’ wishes and expectations. The result is a range of commercial vehicles that are made to measure for a wide spectrum of applications. These electric-drive models can be used by large fleet operators as well as by individual companies and tradespeople with much smaller fleets. The eVito will be launched on the market in autumn, and the eSprinter will follow suit next year.
What range is actually needed?
“We already started to talk to our customers two years before the market launch of the eVito because we wanted to know what basic expectations they had concerning an electric van. Of course the conversation began with the obvious questions about the van’s range and battery capacity. The traditional commercial vehicle parameters such as load capacity and payload also played a major role,” says eDrive@Vans Product Manager Markus Reis. That’s the theoretical side of the equation. In order to meet the customers’ real needs as precisely as possible, the Daimler technicians worked together with potential customers to analyse the routes they drive on a daily basis with conventionally powered vehicles.
Electrifying the fleet.
“In this way we wanted to find out how our vehicle’s technology had to be designed in order to represent these driving profiles with an electric system,” said Reis concerning this phase of development. The results of this analysis flowed into the development process, and when the first test vehicles were ready, a number of models were provided to customers for testing in daily use. The designers wanted to see how the solutions they had developed actually measured up to the wear and tear of day-to-day use. “Again and again, we would try to find out what was working well and what wasn’t,” Reis explained. During this phase of testing, all the parameters of the vehicles were scrutinised, from the range and the payload to the charging capacity and charging time. “At the same time, we investigated and analysed the infrastructure at the customers’ locations to see whether the existing power lines were adequate for electrifying their fleets,” he added.