The all-electric Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Electric Panel Van – part of the solution for local air pollution issues – is the subject of a guest review for Green Car Guide by Gill Nowell.
Key points about the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Electric Panel Van
Here’s the view of the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter Electric Panel Van from Gill Nowell:
My first reaction on delivery of the eSprinter van to my home address was one of great excitement, as it rolled off the truck. The diesel truck. But, as someone so generously pointed out on social media, we are in a transition period. As electric vans become more popular and grace more dealers’ showrooms, the diesel delivery may become a distant memory. For now though, Mark the delivery driver did a grand job of showing me the ins and outs of the vehicle, in other words, how to turn it on (it’s a keyless start, so simply press a button), how to reverse, drive forward and park (very straight forward using the paddle on the right of the steering wheel – there are no gears – it’s electric), and finally, how to open the charging port at the front of the van (push the left hand side of the Mercedes-Benz logo. Very neat).
The drive experience of the eSprinter van is excellent. It’s smooth and quiet. There is a whirring noise as you drive along, but overall it’s a lovely vehicle to drive. If you are driving a van for many hours each day, I can only imagine that this would be a big bonus. There are no noisy gear changes; it is of course essentially fully automatic as it’s electric. I find any electric vehicle easy to drive, and the eSprinter van is no exception. It’s not particularly quick off the mark, but then again it’s a heavy vehicle and not made for speeding off at the lights.
The cabin is spacious, functional and comfortable. After two full days driving the van, I found the driver’s seat supportive. It has more cup holders than you can shake a stick at, and the air conditioning kept me warm or cool depending on the changeable British weather. Using the aircon uses up around four miles of range. It also has a heated seat for the driver.
Raving about range is something that I do regularly about my family car – a Kia e-Niro, which has a range of around 240 miles even in lower temperatures, against a WLTP (formal testing) range of 282 miles on a single charge. So what of the eSprinter, which has a stated WLTP combined range of 82-95 miles? In real world driving terms, I was pleasantly surprised to find that miles driven aligns well with range used. On four trips of 28 miles each, the range came in at between 28 – 32 miles. It is very dependent on driving style and mindful use of the regen (regenerative braking, where the battery is recharged as you drive along). It’s worth noting that Amazon uses the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter for local urban deliveries. Anecdotally, I spoke to one of their drivers recently, who told me that he often gets 100 miles on a single charge.
Charging at home and away. The eSprinter van comes with AC 7kW charging for home charging overnight, and the 80kW option (recommended) for rapid DC charging which will take you from 10% to 80% charged in just 30 minutes.
‘Topping up’ the battery using a public charger was a seamless experience, using an RFID card. It’s simply plug in, tap and go. I used a conveniently placed Osprey charger just off the A55 in North Wales. As it says on the tin, it took 30 minutes to charge from around 10% to 80%. One note of caution. This charger was located in a large and empty car park. I would not have been able to charge the van in my local car park, because the allocated parking spaces are not long enough. It would be helpful for chargepoint location apps to include information on this to help electric van drivers assess suitability of a public chargepoint in terms of accessibility.
Charging at home was straight forward using my Ohme smart charger. Fully charged the range came in at 96 miles. If you can charge at home overnight, this is a convenient and cheap way to fill up with electrons. It costs me 1-3p per electric mile to charge at home, as opposed to the 15p per mile I was paying in diesel.
Fully loaded! The eSprinter all-electric van has a payload of 731kg. What I really wanted to know, was what impact a full load would have on the range. My assumption was that the range would be depleted, given the extra draw on the battery. Herein lies the biggest surprise of all. I had the van loaded up with boxes of smart chargers, thanks to Ohme and its warehouse in North Wales. The full load weighed in at 730kg. Driving it along quite hilly rural and suburban roads on a round trip of 30 miles, there was no discernible impact on range. 30 miles driven fully loaded, 30 miles of range used. This did come as a shock. I’d expected the range to plummet. However, the fact that it’s actually a heavy vehicle in the first place, and so the additional load is small in relative terms, plus the benefit of regen, means that this van is extremely efficient when it comes to impact of a full load on the battery.
In summary… the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter all-electric van is pleasant to drive, easy to charge, functional, and very efficient on range for its primary use, which is that of urban logistics. I would anticipate that significant cost savings could be achieved through far lower maintenance and driving costs. If it’s good enough for Amazon, it’s surely good enough for many other companies too.
Fast facts about the new all-electric eSprinter van from Mercedes-Benz: it has a WLTP combined range of up to 95 miles, which is apparently 60% more range* than the average commercial vehicle operating in Europe requires in a day. With AC and DC charge options it can add up to 80% within 30 minutes. The van has an eight year/160,000km battery guarantee, and comes with a three-year unlimited mileage vehicle warranty plus up to 30 years’ free breakdown cover. The price is from £51,950.
Standard features include remote eCharging, GPS tracking, double locks, anti-theft protection package, aircon, remote locking, 270 degree double-wing rear doors, DAB radio with Bluetooth, pre-heat or cool the vehicle whilst it’s charging, heated driver’s seat, and recuperation modes.
*Mercedes-Benz research analysed 1.6 million journeys anonymously on the EQ Ready app and 96% of all journeys recorded were shorter than 100km (62 miles).
About the reviewer: Gill Nowell has been driving electric vehicles for almost a decade. Her day job is working on data-driven solutions to support electric vehicle uptake on local electricity networks at ElectraLink. Gill supports drivers to make the switch to EV through her voluntary work as a Director at Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England, and is the founder of EVclicks, a free online resource library of EV images. This review is non-remunerated and is wholly independent and free of any association with ElectraLink, EVA England, or EVclicks.
Review by Gill Nowell