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There will be a next generation Sprinter van from Mercedes-Benz, and the good thing is there will be an option for an all-electric drivetrain. The German automaker believes a fully-electric van will allow the Sprinter to be more competitive and will enable it to operate in congested cities while having zero emissions.
Ulf Zilig, the head of Sprinter’s replacement project, said in an interview that the new generation van will be available in 2018. It will reportedly share the same dimensions as the current Sprinter van, but will be packed with a slew of other upgrades to make the van easier to manage. There is a possibility of an autonomous driving system.
For a better-designed product, Mercedes will be working with upfitter companies to build the van’s bodies, interior shelving and full box truck systems.
If you want the fully electric Sprinter, however, you’d have to wait for more information. Zilig said that the electric drivetrain would only be available “if the market supports it.” So, before Mercedes invests more money into its research and development for the all-electric van, it has to make sure there is market there.
But to be sure, Mercedes will build the Sprinter with an all-electric drive in mind.
This full-size van is hugely popular both in Europe and the United States. Ford and Ram went so far as to adopt Mercedes’ strategy in using Euro-spec Transit and ProMaster vans for American use.
Mercedes is just right to arm itself with a new electric drivetrain option, considering the potential challenges being posed by other automakers. The German automaker even established its own van production plant in Charleston, South Carolina. This new facility is scheduled to start operating and be online before the decade ends, just in time for the release of the new Sprinter in US shores.
There is no information yet about the specifications of the van, as well as the pricing, so stay tuned for more details as Mercedes releases it.