Mercedes- Benz Vans is to receive a grant of up to nine million Euro from the Federal German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety (BMU) for the research and development, testing and trial of electrically powered vans. The finds are being made available from the German government’s Economic Support Programme 2.

Sprinter

A corresponding declaration of intent was signed. The grant is in support of Daimler AG’s efforts to realise environmentally friendly goods transport in urban areas. Battery-powered vehicles emit no carbon dioxide or pollutants, and have significantly lower noise emissions than conventionally powered vehicles, which makes them very suitable for use in environmentally sensitive inner-city areas.

Up to 50 Mercedes-Benz vans will be produced and delivered to customers as part of this project. The drive system is configured solely for electric operation, and dispenses with a powertrain designed for internal combustion engines.

The findings from this project will be directly incorporated into the further development of these vehicles.
There is a particular focus on adaptation of the drive system, energy management and the reuse of braking energy (recuperation). Other aspects of the project also include the provision of replacement parts, charging and diagnostic systems, however. The lithium-ion battery that supplies the electro-van with its power is another major development emphasis. Temperature is an important factor for the operating life and performance of the lithium-ion battery, for example. The aim of all the sub-projects is to extend the technologies developed to other van model series, and to achieve series production maturity within a short time.

Research and development in the German Mercedes-Benz locations mainly takes place in Stuttgart, with the aim of both safeguarding employment and developing know-how in the field of electro-mobility and its cutting-edge technology in Germany. New project management methods are also employed to achieve shorter development cycles, with the supply industry and users also included in these efforts. Daimler AG is set to become the first vehicle manufacturer to integrate the production of electric vans directly into its plants.

Daimler AG has many years of experience with battery-powered vehicles: as early as 1972 a van with an environmentally drive system of this kind was built and successfully used at the Olympic Games in Munich.
Infrastructure-related aspects will also be explored during these major trials. Mercedes-Benz Vans will already start testing the electro-van with selected customers in 2010. These target customers are primarily fleet operators and public bodies conducting transport operations in environmentally sensitive areas. The main emphasis here is on short-range operating profiles with frequent stops in inner-city areas.

The goal is to market these vehicles at an acceptable cost for all parties involved in the future.

Source: Daimler AG