Vehicle fleet managers may be the first to convert wholesale to electric vehicles, because their decisions start and end with cost, and electric miles are cheaper than gas.
Mercedes-Benz has made a commitment to offering a full range of electric commercial vehicles from minivans to semi-trucks.
Starting with the smallest segment, Mercedes introduced Monday the eVito in Germany. The eVito is an electric version of the minivan known as the Metris in the United States.
It has a range of about 93 miles from a 41-kwh lithium-ion battery. On a Level 2 charger it can be fully recharged in six hours. Its electric motor delivers 113 horsepower and 221 foot-pounds of torque.
The electric version is available in both long and short wheelbase models for maximum flexibility for customers and can carry 2,310 pounds of cargo.
The next electric commercial vehicle in Mercedes's lineup will be an electric version of its larger and more popular Sprinter vans, the eSprinter, which will debut next year.
The eSprinter will cone only as a high roof panel van and will offer three battery configurations ranging from 41 kwh with 71 miles of range to 55 kwh with 93 miles of range.
The smaller batteries offer a bigger payload of up to 2,290 pounds. It uses the same 113-horsepower, 221 foot-pound electric motor as the eVito. Mercedes says the motor produces the same power as the base diesel engine in the Sprinter.
Mercedes has also built an app to help fleet managers choose and configure the perfect van based on their duty cycle—from range and recharge times to payload and cargo volume.
The first customers will be Amazon logistics, which will put 100 eVito electric minivans into service shuttling packages to and from its Duesseldorf and Bochum distribution centers, along with Hermes fashion.
If you live in Germany, that next garment you order could arrive a lot more cleanly and efficiently. The benefits could be compounded if you have to send it back to get another size.