if you, like many of us, have a dog who goes berserk at the sound of a delivery van, you may soon be in luck. that's because mercedes plans to join ford, rivian, and gm in the quest to silence our vans and our dogs by making them electric. the vans, not the dogs. although ford's been looking into that, too.
that's according to a report in automotive news. benz told automobilwoche, an's german-language counterpart, that it will offer an electric sprinter by 2023. the platform will be new, rather than retrofitted, with a front module, rear module, and underbody battery tray module providing flexibility in both body sizes and battery capacity. the idea of an electric sprinter seems inevitable—with ford announcing an electric transit on the way, the pressure is on mercedes-benz to offer an electrified sprinter alternative.
mercedes already makes an esprinter for europe, and amazon ordered 1800 of benz's electric vans (about 600 of the smaller vitos and 1200 sprinters) this year. that's far shy of the 20,000 internal-combustion sprinters that amazon ordered for the u.s., never mind the 100,000 vans they ordered from rivian. in the parlance of the biz, benz better get with some next-day delivery, because in seven to 10 days the competition will have taken over.
and electric delivery vans are uniquely suited for their mission, even with relatively modest batteries. for instance, the ford e-transit will have 126 miles of range from a 67.0-kwh pack, which is smaller than the standard 75.6-kwh pack in the mustang mach-e. they're great for the "last mile" deliveries—not the long-haul stuff, but that ultimate destination on the tracking slip, the local warehouse or distribution center. those places are naturally suited for setting up charging infrastructure (they already have parking for lots of vans), and each day's route is a known quantity. this is not for the dhl driver heading for glasgow, montana, america's most isolated town.
unlike the internal-combustion models, benz's europe-market electric sprinters are front-wheel drive, with 114 horsepower and 218 pound-feet of torque. a 55.0-kwh battery mounted under the floor delivers 104 miles of range on the european cycle. max payload is 1964 pounds, which means the esprinter could haul more than 1500 bob ross chia pets. (and yes, with 11 cubic meters of cargo capacity, they'd all fit, with room to spare.) of course, you know, they could also fit a bigger battery, or dual motors for all-wheel drive. and they should, because 114 horsepower makes the ram promaster look like the renault espace f1.
plus, think about the possibilities for the nomadic van denizens. when you're driving around atop a huge battery, van glamping could get even more comfortable. you might not need shore power or a generator if you've got 100 kilowatt-hours under the floorboards. just throwing that number out there. because once we have enough battery, then we can add bigger motors. and then, finally, the sprinter might really live up to its name.