The second day of our eDrive@VANs press test-drive in Hamburg is over and I’m more than proud of my team and our performance. Based on the reactions of those attending, I can tell that we’ve adopted exactly the right approach at Mercedes-Benz Vans with our customer-centric thinking.
We tried something new with this event – just like the advice and support we provide, we’ve placed the customer perspective front and centre. You see, I reckon electric mobility should be seen from a holistic perspective. Especially in the commercial context, it’s far more than a drive system or a single product. Companies need more than that. They want to – and indeed, have to – run their transport as efficiently, sustainably and profitably as possible. That’s why it has to be all about our customers’ needs, operational processes and sector requirements.
And this is also exactly where the adVANce future initiative that we launched in 2016 comes in. eDrive@VANs is a crucial element of that. Within the scope of this strategy, we’re developing innovations in collaboration with our customers – to gain even greater insight into what really matters to them.
I’m truly excited that our team is applying this approach so comprehensively. It’s all about delivering holistic solutions for an incredibly diverse array of sectors and companies. Our vans are ideally suited to this. The eVito is already electrified, the eSprinter comes to market in 2019, with the eCitan following as a next step. Our eVito has an installed battery capacity of 41.4 kWh with a range of around 150 kilometres. The battery-electric drive produces 85kW of power and up to 300 newton metres of torque.
The eSprinter with an installed battery capacity of 55 kWh also offers a range of around 150 kilometres 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 kilometres. In return, the maximum payload increases by around 140 kilograms to approximately 1040 kilograms.
However, In the end it’s more than just the vehicle – we offer an ecosystem that encompasses charging infrastructure, a whole palette of services and connectivity solutions.
This kind of line-up puts us in a position to equip a zero-local-emissions fleet that still fulfils all the requirements of everyday usability, flexibility, reliability and commercial feasibility.
The right model for every application
We can very easily see from real life why this focus on customer needs is so important. Companies in the logistics sector, for instance, often run fleets of several hundred vehicles. And for that, they need an appropriate charging infrastructure, localised services, intelligent connectivity services and intelligent charge management that takes into account the routes of the individual vehicles as well as the weather conditions.
On the other hand, smaller companies such as craftsmen have different needs. The priority for them is vehicle flexibility and versatility, obviously without having to sacrifice range or an ergonomic driver Workstation.
Great media interest on Hamburg’s Grossmarkt
In workshops and on test drives with the eVito and eSprinter we are presenting innovations in fields such as range optimization, thermal management and safety aspects.
Another focus: the holistic eDrive ecosystem with charging infrastructure und digital services for small business customers and fleet customers. And obviously, journalists also have the chance to check out the everyday usability of the eVito in its natural habitat – on the streets of Hamburg. And for the first time the eSprinter can be test-driven on the ground of the Grossmarkt.
A zero-emissions holiday
We also had a little surprise in store for our guests – The fuel-cell powered Concept Sprinter F-CELL. It extends our eDrive@VANs strategy. You see, to make electric mobility as flexible as possible, we need to think beyond batteries. With the fuel cell, we’re combining zero emissions with longer range, paired with shorter refuelling times. These are clearly perfect for a motorhome:
It drives silently and with zero emissions out of the suburbs at night and into the countryside. Moreover, the technical configuration delivers maximum design freedom for the interior. Of course, other applications are just as conceivable – for example longer courier routes or interurban people moving.
The bottom line is the big smile on my face. I’m really looking forward to the next few days – and everything after that, too. Not only did the eDrive team put together an excellent event, we also showed all our guests how wide-ranging and all-encompassing our view of electric mobility actually is. Onwards and upwards!