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Mercedes commits to eVito, eSprinter in Australia

In the running: Mercedes wants the all-new electric Sprinter for its fleet customers in Australia, but must wait until production in Europe, which starts next year, frees up for this market.

Fleet demand shores up local case for electric Mercedes vans but timing not yet set


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13 Apr 2018

MERCEDES-BENZ is committed to offering full-electric versions of its Vito and Sprinter vans in Australia based on demand from its fleet customers but must wait until European production schedules switch to export markets.

This means that the mid-size eVito and larger eSprinter might not be seen here until later next year, or even further afield, although Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia/NZ managing director Diane Tarr will look to progress the local case when she meets with executives in Portugal next week to work on local specification for conventional versions of the forthcoming new Sprinter due in October.

“We are a very interested market for both the electric Vito and electric Sprinter, and we certainly have got interest from quite a few of our fleet customers and we are very committed to bringing in that eVito or eSprinter version,” Ms Tarr told GoAuto at the X-Class utility launch in Tasmania this week.

“We haven’t got any firm commitment as to when we are likely to see that in our market, but the eVito will be in Europe this year and (electric) Sprinter next year, and so we hope to see that in our market as soon as possible.

“We have very interested customers at this point in time.”

Mercedes-Benz Vans Aust/NZ PR and corporate communications manager Blake Vincent added: “The global plan is that it is firstly a European launch for both those models, and as production starts to ramp up the idea is that they’ll branch out to other customers (markets).”

The next-generation Citan will also be available with full-electric drive and the Australian subsidiary is working on the business case to introduce the compact van here.

“We’ve always had an interest in making the business case work for Citan,” Ms Tarr said.

Mr Vincent added that the new-generation Citan would be better suited for the Australian market specification-wise and that the decision to launch it would hinge on issues such as pricing and potential sales volume.

Mercedes has invested around $233 million to electrify its commercial-vehicle range and has secured a major deal with Hermes in Germany to produce 1500 full-electric mid-size and large vans by 2021 – the sort of deal that has helped guarantee series production but could also push the timing out for right-hand-drive markets such as Australia.

The eVito has been available for order in Europe since November last year and first deliveries will take place in the second half of 2018.

Full specifications are not yet available, but Mercedes has confirmed it will be installed with a 41.4kWh battery and offer a driving range of around 150km.

The company says that “even in unfavourable circumstances, customers have a range of 100km available”.

The electric motor will produce 84kW of power and up to 300Nm of torque, and the vehicle will have a top speed of up to 120km/h. Customers will have the option of a lower maximum speed of 80km/h which is said to fulfil “all requirements in city traffic and urban areas, while conserving energy and increasing range”.

Importantly, the eVito will still offer a payload of more than one tonne and a cargo volume of up to 6.6 cubic metres.

Mercedes is also yet to provide details on the eSprinter, but in launching the redesigned large van earlier this year the German manufacturer said it was developing appropriate charging infrastructure to use on operators’ premises and that the vehicles could be “precisely adapted to the relevant operating purpose with respect to range or payload”.

Operating costs with Mercedes’ electric vehicles are also described as being “roughly the same level as for comparable models with a diesel engine”.

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