Mercedes-Benz Vans plans to put the eSprinter on a new platform. The ‘Electric Versatiles Platform’ (EVP) is meant to enable greater ranges and various superstructures in order to prepare the electric Sprinter for the requirements of the North American market and potential customer Amazon.
According to Mercedes-Benz Vans, a total of 350 million euros will be invested in the new platform. “The next generation eSprinter will enable us to make many more body variants available,” says Marcus Breitschwerdt, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “This will ensure we meet the requirements of our customers across multiple sectors in the future, while offering the advantages of locally emission-free electric drive.” In addition, reliability, quality and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) optimisation are to become important elements.
The German publication Automobilwoche initially reported on the new electric platform plans. The magazine quotes Van Sales Director Klaus Rehkugler as saying that the new platform is to go into series production “before 2025”. The changes are to take place mainly under the sheet metal cladding, so the appearance of the third generation, which has been built since 2018, is to be retained. “In future, the eSprinter will consist of a front module, an underbody module and a rear module,” Rehkugler said.
At present, the eSprinter is offered with two battery sizes, 41 kWh for 120 NEDC kilometres and 55 kWh for 168 NEDC kilometres. Sales launched in Germany in May 2020. Both variants are only offered in Europe, as the range is considered too small for urban delivery services in the USA. According to the report, the new platform will be available in two lengths, allow for panel and passenger vans as well as chassis for box bodies and three different battery sizes.
The largest version should then reach over 100 kWh, but a concrete range is not yet set for the model. What is clear so far is that the range is expected to be significantly boosted with the new platform.
In the summer, eCommerce giant Amazon ordered 1,200 eSprinter and 600 eVito for use in Europe from Daimler. In the US Amazon is cooperating with the startup Rivian; the first of its own electric transporters are scheduled to join the fleet in 2022. Initially, this will involve 10,000 vehicles, and by 2030 it is planned to cover 100,000 electric vehicles.
The fact that Daimler has not played a role in such orders in North America is apparently not only due to the lack of range for a day trip. As Automobilwoche further reports, without mentioning any sources, the eSprinter supposedly is unable to meet the internal safety standards for US models that go beyond the legal requirements. In view of the six-figure unit numbers, Daimler is said to have made the decision to invest around 350 million euros in the EVP. “We want to grow with the company in North America,” said Rehkugler.
It remains to be seen which vehicles could build on the EVP in addition to the eSprinter. For just one model, an investment in the three-digit million euro range will hardly be worthwhile.