Today, Mercedes-Benz pulled the cover off its new Sprinter van line, and announced that it's eventually going electric. Regular gas- and diesel-powered Sprinters will go on sale later this year, with the all-electric eSprinter arriving in 2019. The eSprinter isn't confirmed for the US market as of right now, but other models will make their way over here.
Mercedes says the eSprinter will primarily be used in large metropolitan areas, where range isn't critical, but emissions are. You can imagine a van like this being quite popular in European cities like London, where electric-vehicles are exempt from the congestion charge. Mercedes says operating an eSprinter will cost about the same as a diesel-powered Sprinter, and that these electric vans can be tailored for specific payload requirements.
Interestingly, Mercedes will offer the Sprinter with front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive, though that only the latter two will reach the US. Engines for our market haven't been detailed yet, but Mercedes did confirm we'll get a gas unit pared to a nine-speed automatic in addition to a range of diesels, possibly including a new 190-hp, 3.0-liter V6.
For the European market, Mercedes touts the fact that the Sprinter can be ordered 1700 different ways, though the US-market will likely get fewer choices. Mercedes is building a new factory for the Sprinter in South Carolina, with production set to commence later this year.
And just like you'd expect from Mercedes, the Sprinter is packed with all sorts of tech. For starters, the Sprinter gets the new MBUX infotainment system that debuted in the new A-Class last week, and also gets safety tech like a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and a system that monitors driver fatigue. There's even an optional self-leveling rear air suspension for campers and Sprinter owners who plan on carrying lots of cargo.
Mercedes says that the new Sprinter is lighter than its predecessor, with the smallest panel van weighing a little under 4400 lbs. Payload is increased, however, with its most capable Sprinter able to haul over 7200 lbs.
More information on US-spec Sprinters will come closer to when deliveries begin later this year. In the meantime, we're going to brainstorm all the ridiculous stuff we could carry with a Sprinter of our own.