Mercedes reveals plans for next eSprinter electric van

  • New Electric Versatility Platform for next-gen eSprinter
  • Mercedes Vans aiming for ‘best-in-class’ performance
  • Three modules, three batteries, greater body choice

It seems we weren’t the only ones raising an eyebrow about the limited number of eSprinter electric van variants. Mercedes-Benz has been working on the problem and has now revealed plans for the next-generation eSprinter, which will come on a special new platform offering greater flexibility.

Called the Electric Versatility Platform – very snappy – this will make it possible to sell future electric Sprinters in more than just the single panel van version.

As part of the announcement, Mercedes-Benz Vans says it is ‘accelerating its electrification strategy’, which suggests the firm has decided to move things forward faster than originally intended.

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So what’s different about the new eSprinter platform?

The new Electric Versatility Platform is based around three modules ‘that enable the greatest possible flexibility in the development and design of different body types. This allows for new eSprinter body configurations previously only available with combustion engines.’

Next-generation Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Electric Versatility Platform - body options

So rather than just coming as a panel van, the next eSprinter should be available as a chassis cab – and therefore with a box body suitable for online supermarket delivery vans – and as a people mover, meaning minibuses and ambulances. It will still be offered in just two wheelbasesl, however.

The modules are split front, middle and rear. The front module houses all the high-voltage compenents necessary to make an electric van run, the middle or 'underfloor' module carries the batteries, while the rear module concerns the electrically driven back axle.

The EVP, as we'll call it for short, will also offer three battery pack sizes (Small, Medium and Large, natch), enabling far greater driving range than the current Sprinter electric van – which is limited to just 96 miles per charge.

Whether any of this will be able to improve on the eSprinter’s equally limited payload remains to be seen. But Mercedes is aiming for ‘best-in-class performance’ – and we don’t think they mean the 0-62mph time.

Next-generation Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Electric Versatility Platform - three modules explained

In order to make this all happen, Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing 350 million euros (around £316m at today’s exchange rates) into the Electric Versatility Platform. It also says the next eSprinter will be carbon neutral in production as well as zero emissions on the road.

When will the next eSprinter go on sale?

Mercedes hasn’t given any specific dates. But we can’t imagine it will wait too long, as current eSprinter is already way behind compared with the large electric van offerings from several other manufacturers – including Renault and Fiat (the Master ZE and E-Ducato, on sale now).

And there’s a very impressive-looking Ford E-Transit on the way in 2022 as well.

What else is Mercedes saying about the new eSprinter?

Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, Marcus Breitschwerdt: ‘The Sprinter has been demonstrating our competence in the transport field for a quarter of a century. In the field of electromobility, we have initiated many innovations in recent years. With the implementation of our accelerated electrification strategy, we’re combining the best of both worlds – our innovation and expertise!’

Next-generation Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Electric Versatility Platform - chassis cab with dropside body

The firm also made clear its intention to take a leading position in electric vans and so-called digital solutions, with the an ‘objective to set new standards in the van segment with customer- and future-orientated solutions.’ Vehicle networking has been mentioned specifically as an area for development.

Will there be any other new Mercedes electric vans?

Mercedes Vans has confirmed that it will soon sell electric versions of all its vans, naming the eCitan as a future model, alongside the already available eVito and eSprinter.

The eCitan will be part of an all-new small van family that will once again be based on the Renault Kangoo, which launches in a brand new generation in 2021; Mercedes is said to have had more input into the design and engineering of the new model this time around, so hopefully the new Citan will feel less like a poor relation to the rest of the range.

We’ll bring you more on the next Mercedes eSprinter as soon as we have it.

Also read:

>> Mercedes eSprinter pricing and spec info

>> The Parkers guide to electric vans

>> The best electric vans you can buy now

>> Electric vans coming soon