On Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz debuted its latest electric vehicle, and this time it’s not a sedan or an SUV. It’s the eSprinter, an electrified version of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ workhorse, and it goes on sale in North America later this year, with European sales set to follow sometime before the end of 2023.
American consumers have mostly given up on the van, but on the commercial side of things, the shed-on-wheels appears to be gaining in popularity, especially since European imports like the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter started strutting their stuff on US roads.
Ford was the first to electrify its commercial van; we drove the E-Transit at the beginning of 2022. Now it will have competition for emissions-free vantime, at least once the eSprinter goes on sale in the second half of this year. Production is scheduled to start in Düsseldorf, Germany, and then eSprinters will also be built in Ludwigsfelde, Germany, and Charleston, South Carolina, in time.
Although the eSprinter has been designed to be modular, the US will get the long cargo van variant with a high roof and the largest battery pack, which has a usable 113 kWh. Although it’s too soon for an official EPA range estimate, the eSprinter appears to be slightly longer-legged than the Ford E-Transit, which makes do with a battery pack that’s almost half the size of the eSprinter’s. (The eSprinter’s WLTP range is 400 km, or 500 km in city driving.)
Interestingly, the battery pack in the eSprinter uses not lithium-ion but lithium-iron phosphate chemistry. Onboard AC charging is possible at up to a maximum of 9.6 kW, and it will DC fast-charge at up to 115 kW, which should take the battery pack from 10 to 80 percent state of charge in about 42 minutes.
All eSprinters are rear-wheel drive and come with a choice of 134 hp (100 kW) or 201 hp (150 kW) output, with up to 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t divulged the eSprinter’s maximum load weight, but the van has a gross vehicle weight rating of 4.25 tons and a capacity of 488 cubic feet (13,819 L).
On the inside, eSprinter drivers will be treated to one of the better infotainment systems on the market, as the van features the same MBUX system found in consumer-oriented Mercedes-Benzes, albeit with a much less flashy infotainment screen. The system’s highlight is its extremely capable voice recognition, but the range-aware navigation will probably come in handy, too.
Pricing, like the EPA range, should be announced closer to the eSprinter’s arrival in the second half of 2023.