The next generation of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter utility van could be released as an all-electric variant, in addition to there being internal combustion engine (ICE) variants, according to recent reports.
There’s no public launch date or product guarantee (let alone price) as of yet, according to the head of project VS30 at Mercedes-Benz, Ulf Zillig, but the vans are definitely being designed with both autonomous driving capabilities and battery packs in mind. The first models to feature these sorts capabilities will hit the market as soon as 2018.
Notably, the next generation of Sprinter vans from the company will be roughly the same size as earlier ones.
The Detroit Bureau provides more, stating that the “next generation vans from Mercedes-Benz will be capable of supporting both battery electric propulsion and autonomous driving features in the future into a competitive landscape where electrification is destined to play a larger role.”
The new Sprinter will supposedly feature several improvements that will make it easier to drive, which will allow it to “better meet the requirements of the various companies that ‘upfit’ the Sprinter for a growing variety of uses of all kinds.”
In related news, during the recent unveiling of the Urban eTruck in Germany, Wolfgang Bernhard, the executive responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses, stated that electric trucks are an important part of the division’s future plans.
“Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck. In light distribution trucks, our Fuso Canter E-Cell has already been undergoing intensive customer trials since 2014,” Bernhard commented at the time.
“With the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tons. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving,” he continued.
As I’m sure you already know, Tesla is also planning to expand into the semi truck, bus, pickup truck, and probably transit van market. Exciting times are ahead as electric vehicles begin to invade more and more markets, cleaner our air and protecting our health in the process.
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