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Story: COLIN DAWSON

Mercedes Sprinter E-CELL makes world debut
The Sprinter E-CELL can supplied as a chassis-cab as well as with a wide range of bodies

Mercedes-Benz continues development of battery-electric-drive vans, with the zero-emissions version of the Sprinter making its world debut this week at the Hannover Commercial Vehicle Show. According to Mercedes, the prototype of the Sprinter E-CELL has been developed thanks to the positive reactions to the Vito E-CELL.

The platform for the zero-emissions Sprinter was provided by the Vito E-CELL. The first Vito E-CELL models were delivered to customers two years ago, and now around 500 vehicles are in use.

The Sprinter E-CELL can supplied as a chassis-cab as well as with a wide range of bodies, making it appealing for a host of different business uses. It’s powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor that can achieve a constant output of 70kW, with short-term peak output of 100kW; 220Nm of torque (short-term 270Nm) is available from standstill. It draws its energy from two lithium ion batteries, each with 93 cells and a combined capacity of 35.2kWh.

Top speed is limited to just under 50mph (80kmh) in favour of an extended range. This makes it suitable for inner-city areas and also for inter-city journeys or short motorway stretches. Its preferred area of use, however, is inner cities and towns, and the range was designed with this in mind. With an NEDC energy consumption of 27kWh, the range is around 83 miles (135km).

The batteries can be charged in less than two hours when connected to a 400-volt power source, extending the possible areas of use of the Sprinter E-CELL, as it does not require overnight charging. The charging socket is located on the driver’s side, at the bottom of the B pillar instead of the usual tank filler neck.

The batteries are located in containers between the axles and below the frame, so neither the luggage compartment of the closed Sprinter nor its body-mounting ability are impaired. With a maximum permissible gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes, the payload of the Sprinter E-CELL can be up to 1,200kg, depending on body. Ground clearance and angle of approach are not restricted.

The Sprinter E-CELL, in common with every other Sprinter model, will be fitted with the newest generation of the Electronic Stability Program with all its functions. In addition there is a high level of protection for the high-voltage power system.

The Sprinter E-CELL design makes it suitable for many uses, with a long wheelbase, as a double cab and with a range of bodies. This could make the vehicle of interest to a large number of trades and business van users. For example, the Sprinter E-CELL is ably suited for use as a dropside with double-cab for landscape gardening operations. And other weight variants might also be considered.

The prototype is still undergoing tests and no production date has been announced.

Keep up to date with developments in our Business Van News section.

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