Ford isn’t the only automaker readying a battery-powered commercial European van. At a European Council meeting in Spain, Mercedes-Benz revealed its new Vito Electric, which will be placed into limited production.
Based largely on the midsize Vito sold in Europe, the EV van uses a lithium-ion battery, and drives the rear wheels with a 90-kW electric motor. Mercedes-Benz says the van has an 81-mile range (1 mile more than the Transit Connect Electric), but a top speed of only 50 mph. (The Transit, in contrast, can hit 75 mph.) Mercedes says the van is intended for short distance runs involving multiple stops, potentially making it the darling of delivery fleets across Europe. Perhaps more impressive, Mercedes says the Vito EVs suffer no loss of load volume or payload, despite the weight of the batteries.
Mercedes-Benz will initially produce 100 vans for 20 customers, mostly fleet operators and public institutions. The second phase will involve as many as 2000 vans. Standard equipment includes stability control, ABS, and air bags that range in number depending on trim and seating configurations.