Mercedes partners with cargo bike provider Onomotion

Mercedes is cooperating with the cargo bike provider Onomotion in a pilot project for last-mile deliveries. The Sustaineer test vehicle has also been further developed for this purpose, with which Mercedes-Benz Vans is providing an insight into what sustainability could look like in the delivery traffic of the future.

Image: Mercedes-Benz

With the launch of the Sustaineer two and a half years ago, Mercedes-Benz Vans made its vision for the urban delivery transport of the future tangible. When it was unveiled in 2021, the battery-electric van based on the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter already had innovations and technical solutions on board that were designed for potential series production. The name Sustaineer is a portmanteau of the terms sustainability and pioneer.

Mercedes-Benz Vans has now given the Sustaineer an update and at the same time entered into a cooperation with the cargo bike provider Onomotion for last-mile delivery. One of the most important innovations in the vehicle itself is the combination of heating close to the body and zonal air conditioning. Test series in the Mercedes-Benz climate chamber in Sindelfingen have shown that it significantly reduces the energy required to heat the large driver’s cab of an eSprinter.

This has a positive effect on the range of electric vehicles. At -7 degrees Celsius, zonal air conditioning with heating close to the body consumed around 25 per cent less energy than conventional room air heating while providing comparable thermal comfort. At a temperature of +5 degrees Celsius, the energy requirement was reduced by around 50 per cent. In addition, the interior does not cool down as quickly after stopping to unload when the doors are opened and closed. The heating surfaces in the footwell, on the driver’s door and on the steering column panelling remain warm.

Mercedes-Benz has also given some thought to last-mile logistics and is cooperating with the Berlin-based cargo bike manufacturer Onomotion in a trial project. The two companies are forming a kind of logistics tandem: They are combining the all-electric van from Mercedes and the electric cargo bike from Onomotion to create a seamless supply chain. The latter’s Ono e-cargobike has a range of up to 25 kilometres and the 1.4 kWh battery offers a starting aid of up to 6 kph.

In this application scenario, the eSprinter acts as a mobile micro-depot. It delivers pre-packaged goods in special containers to cargo bikes, which take over the delivery to the doorstep. The transfer to the Ono e-cargobike is completed in just a few minutes. This means that the eSprinter does not have any long downtimes and can continue straight away – either to the next cargo bike or to deliver goods itself. Parallel delivery with cargo bikes and fully electric vans increases efficiency and shortens delivery times in both urban and rural areas. According to the cooperation partners, the innovative logistics concept is suitable for a wide range of industries – from courier, express and parcel services to large bakeries and service providers for workwear and company textiles to food suppliers.

The special containers on castors offer a load volume of more than two cubic metres and a payload of up to 200 kilograms. They can be flexibly configured for various applications, such as parcel delivery. The Mercedes-Benz Sustaineer has an integrated lifting arm on board for the containers, which was specially developed for this application. The container lift works hydraulically, has recessed conveyor rollers and can be controlled electronically via a hand-held transmitter. This allows the transport boxes to be loaded and unloaded quickly, safely and effortlessly. Two containers fit into the new eSprinter as a long panel van with a high roof. Nevertheless, there is still enough space for a shelving system to transport additional bulky goods. The shelving system can be accessed at any time (even when the containers are loaded) via the right-hand rear door.


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