Bodybuilder solutions with locally emission-free vans from Mercedes-Benz

ABH @eVans Event

Vans from Mercedes-Benz with sector-specific conversions and bodies are used in all areas of the economy and society. For all of them, a reliable and flexible base vehicle is an indispensable component. Mercedes-Benz already offers bodybuilders and customers tailor-made solutions – 100% locally emission-free. And with the next generation eSprinter Mercedes-Benz will be creating even greater customer value.

Sustainable mobility is having an ever increasing influence on purchasing decisions and the everyday mobility behaviour of commercial and private customers. Mercedes-Benz is convinced of the ecological and economic benefits of battery-electric vans. Mercedes-Benz Vans has therefore firmly anchored its leadership aspiration for electromobility in its new strategy and is systematically electrifying all model series. The focus at Mercedes-Benz Vans is on reliability, quality and total cost of ownership (TCO) optimisation. Body manufacturers and customers can so far already choose from four battery-electric driven vans: the eVito Panel Van, the eSprinter and the eVito Tourer (combined power consumption: 26.2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km)[1] and the EQV (combined power consumption: 26.4-26.3 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km) 1. In the coming year, the new Citan will be available with battery-electric drivetrain, extending the electric product portfolio of Mercedes-Benz Vans to the small van segment.

The next generation eSprinter

In order to create even greater customer value in future, Mercedes-Benz Vans has developed the Electric Versatility Platform. It is the basis for the next generation eSprinter, which will be produced successively as of the second half of 2023 in Charleston, Duesseldorf and Ludwigsfelde. The requirements were defined in close cooperation with customers during the development process: with three battery and numerous body variants from the panel van to the chassis for box bodies, the next generation eSprinter is the perfect companion in virtually any business – not just in Europe, but, for example, in the USA and Canada, too. Compared with the current eSprinter, the range will be more than doubled depending on the configuration. In addition, the load capacity will rise by up to 50 percent, with box body even more.

Dynamization of the EV strategy at Mercedes-Benz Vans

Sustainability is a central guiding principle at Mercedes-Benz, and the next generation eSprinter will be produced CO2-neutrally. Mercedes-Benz Vans aspires to take over a leading role in electromobility and digitisation and to set benchmarks for the future. The existing expertise and investments in van construction are being focussed on electric drives and new technologies. Newly developed products will be consistently designed as battery-electric.

Bodybuilders build on Mercedes-Benz Vans

eVans from Mercedes-Benz are a reliable and flexible basis for sector-specific solutions for specialised body manufacturers. The eVito equipped for transporting refrigerated goods, the eVito Tourer converted for transporting people with restricted mobility, the eSprinter Pharma and the eSprinter patient transport ambulance demonstrate the broad spectrum of different bodies and conversion with locally emission-free vans from Mercedes-Benz that is already possible.

The requirements regarding bodies and fittings are as diverse as the sectors in which they are used. The biggest challenges are to be found mainly in the power supply for refrigerating the cargo and in caring for patients as well as the weight of the bodies and conversions when it comes to payload and permissible gross mass.

Two concept vehicles based on the next generation eSprinter show the bodybuilder and conversion solutions which might be possible in the future: the eGrocery concept for transporting foodstuffs and the CEP delivery concept for applications involving courier, express and parcel services. 

Mercedes-Benz eVito equipped for transporting refrigerated goods

The current situation when it comes to deliveries in the eGrocery market with battery-electric delivery vehicles is that either autonomous additional battery solutions or passive methods such as cooling pads or dry ice are used to actively cool the temperature-sensitive goods in the load compartment. Whilst the additional batteries are large, heavy and expensive, and lessen the payload capacity, the alternative is neither sustainable nor environmentally friendly. On top of this, the high-growth sector faces the challenge of still being able to make deliveries in areas with access restrictions for combustion vehicles, e.g. in city centres. A vehicle concept without local emissions is a natural choice here – especially given the fact that the typical application of plannable daily tours in the average range between 80 and 100 kilometres perfectly matches the performance profile of the Mercedes-Benz eVito.

The technical design of the vehicle is based on the idea of using the existing electrical energy in the Mercedes-Benz eVito for active cooling as well. To this end the highly energy efficient Kerstner C106EA cooling system is connected to the vehicle’s on-board electrical system, which means that the additional battery required as a source of energy can be minimised. The underfloor cooling system is reliably supplied with electrical energy in all phases of the delivery processes: during vehicle loading at the hub via 230 V stationary refrigeration using the power supply, during the journey indirectly via the vehicle’s on-board electrical system, and during breaks via the buffer battery in the co-driver’s seat. In order to reduce the energy consumption of the cooling system simultaneously, the Kerstner insulation of the load compartment has a particularly low K value of 0.30 W/m²K. 

Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer converted for transporting people with restricted mobility

Mobility forms the basis for autonomy and independence in life. In particular people with disabilities are reliant on the immediate availability of accessible transportation to enable them to take part in professional and social life. Transportation options for people with restricted mobility are an important topic for Mercedes-Benz Vans, be that in the form of Ex-Factory Driving Aids or appropriate conversion measures in cooperation with our partners.

The fully electric Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer PRO is available with immediate effect in its long and extra-long model as a vehicle converted to make it accessible for wheelchairs. In cooperation with our long-standing van partner AMF-Bruns GmbH & Co. KG from Apen in Lower Saxony, a vehicle conversion was carried out including a rear cut floor and a access ramp, which enables wheelchair users and people with restricted mobility to be transported comfortably and safely. The vehicle is available via dual-invoice transactions.

The generously dimensioned rear cut-out with a clearance height of approx. 1500 mm in conjunction with the installed anti-slip EASYFLEX ramp facilitates easy wheelchair-friendly access to the vehicle interior. The ramp is especially easy to operate with one hand and it can be quickly converted to a load space as an alternative. With the aid of a passenger and wheelchair restraint system the wheelchair is tied to the vehicle floor and the person being transported is secured. Extra-long electrically retracting belts secure the wheelchair at the front. The vehicle can also be optionally equipped with the FUTURESAFE head- and backrest.

A lowered floor tub ensures a generous amount of space for the wheelchair user with interior height of approx. 1450 mm which complies to DIN- and international standards. Where a twin co-driver’s seat is installed there is room for one wheelchair user, five people plus the driver. Two optional rotating and folding seats in the second row facilitate flexible use of the vehicle for up to seven people if a wheelchair user is not on board.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Pharma

Storage and transportation of medicines and other pharmaceutical products are subject to strict regulations so as not to endanger the shelf-life and efficacy of the products. Medicines are therefore sent with special vehicles for temperature-controlled transportation which have to guarantee interruption-free adherence to certain temperature ranges. In cooperation with Thermo King, a manufacturer of transportation temperature control systems, Mercedes-Benz Vans developed the eSprinter Pharma – and is for the first time presenting a fully electric van for products from the pharmaceutical industry.

The eSprinter Pharma is equipped with the E-200 all-electric temperature control system and a new lithium-ion battery from Thermo King. The combination of the E-200, connection to the vehicle’s on-board electrical system and the lithium-ion battery ensures a manually adjustable, constant temperature between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius, including when the driver stops to deliver goods. Even after the door has been opened the control system ensures that the temperature is quickly lowered again.

In addition the vehicle can be equipped with an optional refrigerated container for a second temperature zone (for example 2 to 8 degrees Celsius). With the eSprinter Pharma, Mercedes-Benz Vans in cooperation with Thermo King ensures the delivery of key medical products in a sustainable way. The vehicle currently has prototype status and is undergoing various test scenarios.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter patient transport ambulance

The special vehicles sector for ambulance, fire and police service vehicles has been an important area for Mercedes-Benz for a number of decades. Since the start of the first Sprinter generation in 1995, the Sprinter saw its first conversion into an ambulance and today occupies a large portion of the market for emergency vehicles with its various body variants. The need for reliable patient transport vehicles and emergency ambulances is particularly great. Mercedes-Benz Vans and the bodybuilder “Ambulanz Mobile GmbH & Co. KG” from Schönebeck in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany has used the eSprinter as the basis of its first electric vehicle for use in the health sector.

In spite of the necessary fittings in the patient area it was possible to adhere to the gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes. Special attention was paid to weight-saving measures during development of the body. The energy supply to the body is separate from that of the base vehicle thanks to the installation of an additional energy storage unit (rechargeable battery). The function of the medical devices can also be operated independently of the vehicle battery.

Next generation eSprinter based on the Mercedes-Benz Electric Versatility Platform

The Electric Versatility Platform announced in December 2020 is the basis for the next generation of the eSprinter. With the modular concept consisting of a front module for the high-voltage components, a module in the underbody for the high-voltage battery as well as a rear module with an electrically driven rear axle, the next generation eSprinter offers considerably greater freedoms in the development and design of different bodies.

Next-generation eSprinter – the “eGrocery concept”

Mercedes-Benz Vans aspires to intensify customer loyalty and optimally meet customers’ requirements. This is also evident in the eGrocery concept, which is based on the next-generation eSprinter. Different battery configurations enable customers to configure the vehicle so that it is tailored to their applications – and thus TCO-optimised. The first chassis variant of the eSprinter supplies the electric cooling system with electricity with the energy stored in the vehicle battery and ensures constant cooling of the temperature-sensitive goods.

Next-generation eSprinter – the “CEP delivery concept”

For the CEP delivery concept, too, the results of a lived co-creation process using courier, express and parcel services are clearly evident: the Speed Delivery Door brings drivers huge advantages on their daily tours, as they do not have to open and close the sliding load compartment doors manually up to 240 times a day. The modular Electric Versatility Platform enables an individual configuration to suit the respective vehicle application, be it for inner-city courier, express and parcel services or on longer journeys through the countryside.

[1] Electrical consumption has been determined on the basis of Directive 692/2008/EC.