For the new EU Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) regulations, passenger cars and light vans are in two different classes. Manufacturers can’t compensate the surplus in one class to balance the deficit in the other. Most European van makers have a lot of sales in the smallest vans like the Renault Kangoo, VW Caddy, Peugeot Partner, Citroen Berlingo, and Opel Combo.
Mercedes does not have a smaller, more efficient model. Well, officially, it exists, but I have never seen it. The main model is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, probably the most popular large van. The midsize Mercedes Vito van is also a well-known vehicle on the road.
A not so happy Mercedes Vans press spokesperson explained that to stay out of fines, Mercedes had to reach 50% of van sales being fully electric.
Last year, the e-Vito and e-Vito tourer were introduced to the market. On the floor of the Geneva Motor Show, there was a mockup of the EQV, the electric version of the Mercedes V-class passenger van. Now, at the Brussels Motor Show, an actual prototype was on the floor.
The main course for Mercedes is the eSprinter. Production of a 55kWh van with a 85kW motor was started just three weeks ago in the middle of December 2019. That is approximately the same battery and a smaller motor than my Renault ZOE has.
I really don’t understand why all van makers start with an electric van that has the same or worse capacity than their smallest diesel offering. And the ridiculously high price is justified by the small number they produce.
Mercedes will get serious soon enough. Its customers will tell it that they need more range and a more powerful motor for a lower price. The alternative will be paying the fines.
Nobody likes to pay fines. They all are eager to own this new market. The future feels good for the electric van market.
Not many EU bashers and Brexiteers will agree with me, but I think the EU has very effective regulations when it comes to its new CAFE standards.
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