The new Sprinter makes the leap from vehicle to integrated system solution

  • The adVANce future initiative: shaping the transformation from vehicle manufacturer, pure and simple, to provider of integrated transport and mobility solutions
  • Symbol and initial exponent of the new approach: the Sprinter is the smart hardware for every use case and every sector
  • Taking diversity to a new level: individualisation with more than 1,000 different variants
  • eSprinter: electric drive is a vital element of locally emission-free integrated system solutions

As an initial sneak preview of the new Sprinter, Mercedes-Benz Vans is showing at the Sprinter Innovation Campus in Stuttgart how the best-selling van is set to lead the large van segment into a new era. The adVANce future initiative which was presented in 2016 plays a central role here. Developments including new connectivity solutions lend it more concrete form and it will go into series production for the first time with the new Sprinter in the spring of 2018. For its third generation, the segment founder, best-seller and innovation flagship has been reinvented once again. Its internet connectivity, unique scalability, silent electric drives and individual hardware solutions for the load compartment, as well as the way it is combined with sharing and rental services, make the Sprinter the first integrated system solution. Integration of these innovations is geared exclusively to the individual customer benefit to be achieved in each sector and will be a boon to fleet managers and drivers in their daily work.

"The Sprinter is the flagship of our commercial fleet and embodies our approach towards an integrated system solution. Comprehensive industry-specific know-how, a vehicle that is adaptable to different transport requirements and innovative networking services add up to an all-embracing fully integral product offering. The Sprinter is the first example of this new class of vehicle from Mercedes-Benz Vans and represents our understanding of the concept of smart hardware in every respect", says Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

Since its market launch in 1995, the Sprinter has been defining the large van segment in the most diverse fields. And satisfying customers in more than 130 countries. With sales to date in excess of 3.3 million units, the Sprinter is among the top-selling commercial vehicles and is the best-selling vehicle of Mercedes-Benz Vans, the globally successful van manufacturer.

Development focus: concentration on five fields of innovation

The adVANce future initiative stands for Mercedes-Benz Vans' transformation from a vehicle manufacturer into a provider of fully integrated transport and mobility solutions. The development of products and services is shaped by five fields of innovation: digital@vans is concerned primarily with connectivity and the digital networking of vehicles. solutions@vans focuses on the development of hardware solutions that can make customers more efficient in their daily business. The area of rental@vans centres on innovative rental models, while sharing@vans pools new concepts in the field of public passenger transport. eDrive@vans embodies a holistic approach to electric mobility.

Sneak preview of the new Sprinter's attributes

The third generation of the Sprinter, which will be presented in February 2018, serves as an innovation flagship for an entire vehicle class, above all by virtue of completely new networking services. The internet connection hardware is deeply integrated as an integral part of the vehicle's infrastructure for the first time. This establishes an essential prerequisite for innovative sector-specific services and solutions and their ongoing development in the future.

"We have expanded the already wide-ranging Sprinter portfolio at relevant points and added a multitude of new product features. This will allow us to meet even better the requirements of our commercial customers in the various business sectors, all over the world. One of the particular features of the new Sprinter is its digital networking ability, which offers a whole host of new opportunities to improve efficiency and optimise processes throughout the customer process chain. The Sprinter is part of the Internet of Things and slots seamlessly into the digital world", says Dr Ulf Zillig, overall project manager for the Sprinter at Mercedes-Benz Vans.

New role for the fleet in keenly contested markets

The mega-trends of digitalisation and urbanisation meant that companies and fleet operators are confronted with extreme challenges. The market for courier, express and parcel services is characterised by tight delivery deadlines, flexible delivery windows and high cost pressures. Overnight delivery is standard in online retail, for example, while the delivery of goods on the day of ordering, e.g. in the food sector, is becoming more and more important.

In order to survive in this highly competitive environment, vehicle fleets need to be integrated to an even greater degree than ever into corporate processes. This gives rise accordingly to a growing scope of applications for intelligent vehicles, which are required to play an even greater role in helping to keep companies with corresponding transport needs competitive and successful. Cutting-edge commercial vehicles are transforming from pure means of transportation into platforms for logistics concepts. While attributes such as reliability and economy remain integral to the Mercedes-Benz Vans brand, the future generation of vehicles additionally needs to offer new technologies for the most diverse use cases. Isolated solutions are giving way to a well-conceived integrated system solution.

Innovative developments here cover maximum flexibility and integration of the vehicle into the corporate IT infrastructure and inventory control systems. In this way, value is generated along the entire value-added chain for the fleet. The vehicle becomes part of the Internet of Things. The Sprinter fits the bill here as an integrated system solution.