One of the most popular delivery vans in Germany has a purely electric counterpart by its side - the eSprinter. Mercedes-Benz's commercial customers will in future be able to choose between the conventional combustion engine and the emission-free electric motor for the Sprinter. With the first generation of the eSprinter, in addition to the purchase price, the investment costs for the operational infrastructure are a decisive cost factor. An app that will be available in spring 2020 is intended to bring more transparency to investment decisions. A closer look at the basic electrical concept will help you make a decision.
After the establishment of the eVito, the large-format eSprinter is designed for a higher loading volume and more payload. Here, too, due to the limited range, the focus is on local emission-free delivery traffic for urban use. As part of a roadshow, Mercedes-Benz presented the vehicles in detail in December 2019 and made them available for test drives.
More relaxed driving
Local traffic is heading towards quieter times. The noise of the nailing diesel noises should be a thing of the past in just a few years. Deutsche Post has already heralded the switch to e-mobility in delivery traffic with the street scooter. According to Markus Reis, Product Manager at Mercedes-Benz Vans, Mercedes-Benz Vans is planning the electrification of the entire commercial product portfolio.
As part of the test drives during the roadshow in Hamburg, we were able to familiarize ourselves with the new E-Sprinter in the city. What is striking is the very tidy and clear cockpit with the reduction to all essential vehicle information. In any case, good clarity, a blind spot assistant and a good view of the long sides of the vehicle when maneuvering are decisive for small vans in big city traffic. Mercedes-Benz works with large-format side mirrors with an integrated warning signal when changing lanes. With these safety standards, the vehicle can be guided in relatively clearly and easily when changing lanes while driving in ongoing city traffic. Use as a delivery van, as a construction site vehicle or for service work is clearly the focus for daily use.
It starts with the eSprinter as a panel van with a gross vehicle weight of 3.500 kilograms. Similar to the Sprinter with a combustion engine, the load volume is 10,5 cubic meters. The electric drive in the eSprinter drives the front axle and, like the entry-level diesel unit, has an output of 85 kW with a torque of up to 295 Newton meters. A flexible charging and battery concept also allows adaptation to individual needs for use in practice. According to the manufacturer, the range with a usable battery capacity of 47 kWh (installed: 55 kWh) is around 168 kilometers with a maximum payload of 891 kilograms. A second battery option takes other priorities into account when it comes to the usage parameters: three instead of four battery units with a usable capacity of 35 kWh (installed: 41 kWh) enable a range of around 115 kilometers. In return, the maximum payload increases to 1.045 kilograms.
Flexibly switchable recuperation modes on the eSprinter
If you need more flexibility, you can use the integrated quick charging function, with which around 30 percent of the energy can be recharged within 80 minutes. The top speed can also be configured while driving to suit the purpose: to a maximum speed of 80 km / h, 100 km / h or up to 120 km / h. 80 km / h is definitely sufficient for city traffic during our short test.
While driving, the degree of energy recovery can be influenced with various modes using paddles on the steering wheel. The four recuperation levels "D-", "D", "D +" and "D ++" can be selected using the steering wheel gearshift paddles. In gear D-, anticipatory driving is possible with just one pedal. In level D ++, the eSprinter “sails” in ongoing traffic.
The three driving programs "E +", "E" and "C", on the other hand, are selected using the driving program switch in the center console. Depending on the situation, the eSprinter either drives particularly economically or focuses on greater driving comfort by adjusting the top speed or the air conditioning in favor of a greater range.
With recuperation, energy is recovered when the vehicle is decelerated. For example, the battery charges when driving downhill instead of losing energy when braking. The respective settings for the drive program and recuperation level are shown in the display of the instrument cluster. With this intelligent operating strategy, the profitability of the vans with electric drive can be further optimized and adapted in daily operation on the road.
The eCharging Planner as a planning tool
For commercial use, several aspects must be taken into account when making an investment decision. First of all, the operational loading capacities and the planned transport times must be taken into account. As part of the preliminary planning, the transport factors, loading capacities, route and profile as well as the outside temperatures must also be taken into account. All details are entered via the eCharging planner in the planning phase. A decision in favor of the eSprinter can then be objectively assessed by weighing up costs.
After the impressions of the first test drives, the eSprinter can definitely assert itself in local transport operations as an alternative to the Sprinter with a combustion engine. In view of uncertain crude oil prices and as an emission-free alternative, the Sprinter has the potential to establish itself in the short-haul segment.
Report from the roadshow in Hamburg from the green car magazine.
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