The German environmental ministry has awarded Daimler a $13.46 million grant to help subsidize the development of an all electric Sprinter commercial delivery van.  Daimler hopes to start delivery of the vans next year with intentions of using the EV powertrain in other van models in the companies lineup.

The company will produce up to 50 of the Sprinter EV vans which will see us in congested, inner city areas.  The vans will undergo real world testing.  The testing aims to prove that these vehicles can produce cleaner city air and reduce national CO2 emissions.  The grant will be utilized to develop the electric drive system, to perfect the lithium-ion batteries, and to develop the energy management system including the regenerative braking system.

The electric powertrain is ideally suited to the short stop and go trips of commercial delivery vehicles.  According to research, electric vehicles provide ample torque for inner city stoplight to stoplight driving, reduce sound pollution, offer suitable range for repeated short trips and improve both air quality and the environment.

Taking a cue from research suggesting that EVs are ideally suited for this type of work, both Ford with it Transit Connect EV and Fiat with the Ram branded Doblo EV will enter the market alongside Daimler's Spinter EV.  These vehicles will see small scale fleet use initially.  Additonal electric delivery vans are marketed by small scale companies such as Smith Electric Vehicles and Azure Dynamics.