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Mercedes wants your next Amazon delivery to arrive in an electric eSprinter van

Driving a battery-powered commercial truck may not sound exciting to you — but for Mercedes-Benz and the likes of Amazon and UPS, it promises to be a shared moment.

As the Mercedes engineer who drove me for a short while in the prototype eSprinter showed, there is little difference between this sedan and the petrol and diesel versions that have hit American roads. It is certainly quieter, and its direct-drive transmission eliminates wobble and tonality compared to a traditional transmission.

What matters is under our feet. Massive battery pack replacement for ICE powertrain promises cleaner last-mile transportation and simpler service for companies and cities that can begin shifting their fleets to electric Sprinters right in the season. next summer.

Mercedes will then begin production of an upgraded version of its Sprinter truck, and for the first time, that electric version will be assembled and sold in the US.

The ESprinter launching next year will be a tweaked version of the model that is currently being manufactured at several factories and sold in countries around the globe. It will continue to be sold in fossil fuel models, at least for a while longer – until a new solenoid valve architecture emerges in the middle of the decade. Benz promises that its electric commercial vehicle architecture (“Electric Multi-Purpose Platform”) will eventually replace all ICE-powered trucks.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

Two-step electrification process

Manufacturing US-made electric ESprinter According to Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, will start next year at the Mercedes plant outside Charleston, SC.

Mercedes has confirmed that the eSprinter will be produced not only in Charleston, but also at two factories in Germany. In all plants, it will be built alongside existing ICE-powered trucks as Mercedes transitions customers to battery power.

While it didn’t confirm the battery pack size or supplier for the new van, only confirming the capacity and roughly double the range, Mercedes has revealed some basics. Future vehicles will be rear-wheel drive with a single electric motor and be powered by a lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery, compared to a nickel-manganese-cobalt lithium-ion battery ( NMC) in its EQS and EQE electric cars.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

Mercedes engineers explain the LFP . packages Green car report, At an event this week in Germany, give some background information about the upcoming electric vehicle from the company, which will offer a longer life with thousands of additional charge cycles available at a cost. lower than the NMC package — an important consideration for fleet customers who may very narrowly specify how much range and capacity they need, for how long and how fast they must be able to recharge their vehicle. me. Last-mile parcel services — such as Amazon — may require only a small package with limited coverage, with a charging solution that allows for long, low-intensity charging. Conceivably it could order a van with an expected service life of more than ten years, with bidirectional charging and a battery pack that allows for a 100% charge without sacrificing life.

“The good thing about those last mile deliveries is that they can work out exactly what they need,” says Geisen. He added, “I think it’s fair to assume that this last mile delivery industry is essentially going to be the first to transition to electric, like commercial vehicles. Because that, from a use case, is basically a perfect industry. ”

ESprinter combines countless new avenues for efficiency. Excess engine heat is routed through a heat pump into the HVAC system; an underbody tray smooths out airflow underneath the battery pack, which doesn’t increase the ride height compared to ICE-powered Sprinters.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

Last mile charge

The new van architecture due out mid-decade will greatly expand the company’s ability to offer a wider range of electric commercial vehicles, including parcel delivery. The sketch shows those vehicles will include ambulances, motor homes and refrigerated vehicles.

Geisen added: “We have been a leader in internal combustion engine technology when it comes to trucks. “And we also want to keep this technology leadership for those electric vehicles.”

But at its core, the electric truck market is focused on parcel delivery, which could boost Sprinter sales in the US Open, Mercedes executives hinted. The company sells existing electric vans to Amazon in Europe, but it has waited for the latest version and made it domestically in the US before responding to demand from customers in its US fleet.

Partly because battery range of eSprinters Europe meets the “last mile” requirements of the continent, with denser population centers. For the US, the “last mile” range needed for a one-day delivery value could be twice that of today’s battery-powered Sprinter – which is exactly what Mercedes suggests that its new truck they will provide without specifying what those numbers are.

The ESprinter on the European market today has a wide choice of 40 kwh or 50 kwh battery packs.

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

Mercedes-Benz eSprinter preview, April 2022

By the time the new van architecture arrives, it will enable a range of electrical features that are simply not available in today’s vans, including advanced safety features such as emergency braking. automatic level and blind spot monitor.

Mercedes showed off a new touchscreen infotainment system that will look like the EQS and EQE cars, with the ability to predict and plan charging times and cycles; seat belts and heated steering wheel, which can prevent the vehicle’s heating from having to stay on for long periods of time while the driver delivers; and an extensive camera suite that includes a cargo view, a rearview camera mirror that gives a panoramic view of the traffic behind the dashboard van, the dashboard doors close automatically and the coolest thing is — and unlikely for vehicles in the US, at least at launch — a set of side-view cameras that replace the side mirrors and display their real-time video on screens placed in the top corners of the vehicle. windshield for a better field of view at pedestrian level.

“We put everything into it,” said Geisen, “because we really believe that [the] In the long run, for all use cases, that’s basically the way to go. “

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