2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter WorkerEnlarge Photo
Many automakers are focusing on electric cars, but what about an electric van?
Mercedes-Benz is reportedly considering an electric version of its next-generation Sprinter. The electric Sprinter could arrive by the end of the decade, coinciding with the arrival of the next-gen van, according to Trucks.com.
If approved for production, it would join a handful of electric vans already on sale—mainly outside the United States—and prove that Mercedes is serious about electric commercial vehicles.
Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] CEO Elon Musk only last week also hinted at an electric van, so there could be some competition in this space soon.
Mercedes electric commercial vehicles already testing
"I see there is growing demand in the market," Volker Mornhinweg—director of Mercedes-Benz Vans—told Trucks.com regarding electric vehicles.
Electric delivery vans make particular sense because they are generally used on short, predictable routes, which would make range anxiety less of an issue. They could also help reduce pollution in urban areas, and would likely reduce operating costs for owners significantly.
Mercedes has already shown some interest in electric commercial vehicles. Hot on the heels of Tesla's announcement of an electric semi truck, it unveiled the Urban eTruck concept. It's an electric truck designed for short hauls in urban areas.
Mercedes' parent Daimler is also conducting trials in Germany and Portugal of an electric truck made by its Fuso division. Called the Canter E-Cell, it has a 48-kilowatt-hour battery pack and a range of about 60 miles.