Driving report: Mercedes eSprinter: Full commitment

It will take more than two years until the completely new Sprinter, which will then be offered as an electric version alone.

Driving report: Mercedes eSprinter: Full commitment

It will take more than two years until the completely new Sprinter, which will then be offered as an electric version alone. By then, many interested parties should be able to get used to the model upgrade, which improves details and, in particular, raises the electric version of the eSprinter to a new level. Until now, the electric version with a small battery pack and a standard consumption of 38 kWh per 100 kilometers only offered manageable everyday use. Things look completely different in the new edition. Here the customer can choose which of the three battery packs they want, depending on the application. Admittedly, the entry-level model with a battery module of just 56 kWh is only the right choice for delivery traffic in the city center. “Most customers will probably choose the medium battery pack with 81 kWh,” explains Dr. Andreas Zygan, responsible for the technology of the Mercedes vans. If you want to use the electric sprinter on long journeys and don't want to be disappointed with the range in winter, you can opt for the large battery pack with 113 kWh, which can cover more than 440 kilometers without recharging.

The Mercedes Sprinter is a global bestseller and this will be even more noticeable in the USA in the future. Here the prices were high and the import thresholds were high, so that not enough Sprinters rolled onto the market to be able to meet demand profitably. That has changed completely with the new production facility in Charleston / North Carolina. Those responsible are expecting a significant increase in North American demand through local production. Unlike in Europe, the US customer only gets the closed panel van with a large battery pack and at prices that are significantly lower than in Europe. The European models come with two lengths and two body shapes from Ludwigsfelde and the main factory in Düsseldorf. “With the new eSprinter, we are raising the electric large van segment to a new level,” says Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes Vans, “the triad of efficiency, range and loading volume while simultaneously optimizing TCO makes the new eSprinter the most versatile Mercedes vehicle. Benz eVan of all time.”

In order to get costs under control and minimize the disadvantages of expensive production in Germany, Mercedes is streamlining its offering. The new eSprinter consists of a uniform stem that contains all high-voltage components and can therefore be combined with all vehicle variants - regardless of wheelbase and battery size. The high-voltage battery with a size of 56 to 113 kWh is located in the underbody between the axles, while the electrically driven rear axle is installed in the rear module. The 130 kilogram permanent magnet synchronous motor is offered in two power levels with 100 kW / 136 HP and 150 kW / 204 HP, which produce a maximum of 400 Newton meters of torque. In contrast to the combustion engine variants, all-wheel drive is not offered. The loading volume of the new Mercedes Sprinter is 14 cubic meters and the permissible total weight is up to 4.25 tons. With a range of around 440 kilometers until the next charging stop, even die-hard diesel fans should seriously consider the electric model. In pure city operation there are 530 kilometers and any commercial business that can fill up with discounted industrial electricity will now be much quicker to think about switching to the plug. However, the eSprinter is only suitable to a limited extent for real long-distance use at high speeds, as the maximum charging power is a moderate 115 kilowatts.

The electric version is definitely convincing in everyday use. The whisper-quiet electric motor not only appeals in the city with its tight performance, but also when driving briskly on country roads and on the motorway. Since the battery pack is hidden invisibly in the underbody, the loading space is not restricted. During daytime use, the driver can switch between the four recuperation levels D-, D, D, D using a button next to the starter. If you prefer to let the technology do the work, you can use automatic mode, in which the load master automatically adapts to the traffic situation. The Eco Assistant shows in the instrument display when the driver should take their foot off the pedal. The MB-UX operating system offers further support in charging planning, which flexibly adapts the charging stops to the route and driving style.

The price remains and it is admittedly steep for the electric model. The new Mercedes eSprinter starts in length A2 with the small 100 kW / 136 HP drive and narrow 56 kWh battery for 59,990 euros (net). Many customers are likely to opt for the version with a long wheelbase (A3) and the large battery pack, which drives the price up by 27,150 euros to 87,140. Things look significantly cheaper in the USA, as the same variant here starts at $71,886. For many customers, it might be worth leasing the whirring load master. The eSprinter starts here with a term of 48 months and a maximum of 80,000 kilometers at 690 euros per month.