Mercedes eSprinter electric van 2020: price, specs and release date
Mercedes has announced the start of production of its eSprinter electric van at a factory in the German city of Dusseldorf. The plant there has long specialised in Sprinter production – turning out over 4.5 million examples to date – and will now also build the electric version of the big-selling model.
The rolling out of the first production eSprinter was attended by Armin Laschet, the minister president of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as Thomas Geisel, Dusseldorf's mayor, and Dr Armin Willy, head of the Mercedes plant in the city.
When it goes on sale in the UK during 2020, the eSprinter will be a rival for the Citroen Relay Electric, Fiat Ducato Electric, Peugeot e-Boxer, Renault Master Z.E. and Volkswagen eCrafter. Like those vans, it'll be aimed primarily at businesses conducting multi-drop 'last-mile' deliveries in urban areas subject to (or soon to be subject to) emissions restrictions.
The eSprinter shares its running gear with the smaller eVito electric van, which will go head-to-head with upcoming electric versions of the Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Expert, Toyota Proace and Vauxhall Vivaro.
Mercedes eSprinter load volume, payload and specifications
The eSprinter will initially be offered in high-roof panel-van form, with a maximum gross weight of 3,500kg and maximum load volume of 10.5 cubic metres. Like the entry-level diesel Sprinter, the eSprinter is front-wheel drive, with an electric motor sending 114bhp to the wheels. Integrated fast charging means the battery can be topped up to 80% capacity in 30 minutes.
Mercedes is offering a choice of battery setups so that buyers can prioritise either range or carrying capacity as needed: with four battery packs (for a total capacity of 55kWh), the eSprinter will have a range of 104 miles and a maximum payload of 891kg.
Alternatively, three battery packs can be specified (with a total capacity of 35kWh), reducing range to 71 miles but boosting the maximum payload to 1,040kg. The van also has an adjustable speed limiter, allowing its top speed in use to be capped at 50, 62 or 75mph (80, 100 or 120kph) as appropriate.
The production eSprinter will feature the Mercedes MBUX infotainment system, as well as a host of connectivity features, which will allow remote monitoring of parameters including range and energy consumption by fleet managers.
In July 2018, our sister title Auto Express had the opportunity to test drive a prototype version of the eSprinter. Although the test route was entirely within a coned-off car park, it was still possible to discern that eSprinter isn't quite as quick off the mark as its eVito sister model.
It's still a strong performer compared to the entry-level diesel Sprinter, though, thanks to the characteristic instant torque common to all electric vehicles. It's also quite agile, with a low centre of gravity due to the batteries being mounted as low down as possible in the van's chassis.