Mercedes’ newest EV seeks to edge a key Tesla rival in important, underseen segment

Mercedes-Benz  (DDAIF) – Get Free Report may be known for being the pinnacle of luxury cars, but those in the know, know that the three-pointed star is behind some of the best equipped commercial vans on the road. 

Whether you know its name or not, there is a high chance that a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter was the vehicle carrying your package, catering delivery or your plumber, electrician or cable technician. 

However, Mercedes’ plans for an all-electric future means that the humble Sprinter gets the electric treatment to compete in a crowded field of EV commercial vans. 

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The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

Mercedes-Benz


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Dubbed the eSprinter, the one arriving stateside is an updated version of the electric Sprinter already rolling around European streets. This new eSprinter boasts longer range than the outgoing one, thanks to new components such as a larger battery pack and a reengineered electric motor. 

These upgrades not only increase the range, but also allow the electric version to be built alongside conventional diesel-powered commercial vans at Mercedes’ South Carolina factory. 

To make the eSprinter, Mercedes bolts on a 113 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery pack to the underside frame of a conventional Sprinter, as well as an electric motor near the rear axle, while its related electronics go under the hood in lieu of the engine.

This setup allows for a range that Mercedes estimates is 250 miles between charges, edging out rivals such as Ford’s  (F) – Get Free Report E-Transit and Rivian’s  (RIVN) – Get Free Report Commercial Van for Amazon. Additionally, Mercedes states that the van can change from 10% to 80% in about 40 minutes with a 115 kW fast charger.

The cargo bay inside the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter is seen.

Mercedes-Benz

The eSprinter will initially be offered exclusively as a high-roof cargo van with a 170-inch wheelbase here in the states, with other configurations available in other markets. 

According to a statement by Mercedes, the eSprinter has 488 cubic feet of cargo volume with a maximum payload capacity of 2,624 lbs. For comparison, the Benz has a slightly lower payload, compared to Ford’s E-Transit, as it can carry a maximum of 3,553 lbs, but will have to make do with a smaller 404.3 cubic feet of cargo space in similar versions of the blue oval’s cargo van, which has a tighter, 148-inch wheelbase. 

The two configurations currently available for the Rivian Commercial Van are either smaller or bigger than the eSprinter, with its smaller variant boasting a 157.5-inch wheelbase and 2,734 lbs. of max payload, while its bigger version boasts a whopping 187-inch wheelbase and 2,513 lbs. of max payload.

The interior of the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter

Mercedes-Benz


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Inside, the Sprinter keeps some of the key design features from the diesel-burning model, including a cabin that is all Mercedes — minus the extremely luxurious creature comforts like supple leather and wood trim. However, a full suite of driver aids such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and a driver-attention assist are available alongside an electronic rearview camera mirror and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

Mercedes says that the all-new eSprinter is now available at dealers starting from $71,866 for the ‘standard output’ version with 134 horsepower and $75,316 for the ‘high output’ with 201 horsepower. 

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