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With its future-oriented “adVANce” initiative, Mercedes-Benz Vans is evolving from a manufacturer of globally successful vans into a provider of holistic system solutions for the transportation of goods and passengers. The division is thus playing a pioneering role in its sector. adVANce combines activities in various areas and currently comprises six innovation fields: digital@Vans, solutions@Vans, rental@Vans, sharing@Vans, eDrive@Vans and autonomous@Vans. We are employing a customer-oriented co-creation approach to incorporate our customers into the development process at an early stage. Here, we are combining our six innovation fields in order to develop new business models and tailored solutions that are adapted to our customers’ respective sectors. Mercedes-Benz Vans is also adopting a new approach with eDrive@Vans, which utilizes the way a van is used in each specific case as the key factor for evaluating various drive system options. More specifically, with eDrive@Vans, the choice of battery-electric drive or a conventional combustion engine depends solely on which represents the best solution for a particular application. Fuel cells will be added to the drive system portfolio over the medium term. In order to meet as many transport needs as possible while allowing many different sectors to enter the world of locally emission-free electric mobility, the eSprinter is now ready to join the eVito as the second model with battery-electric drive. The eSprinter will be launched on the market sometime in 2019.
In the future, Mercedes-Benz Vans will expand its eDrive@VANs strategy to include fuel cells. Based on the example of a semi-integrated travel van, the Concept Sprinter F-CELL showcases the full spectrum of typical advantages of a fuel cell, from long range to locally emission-free mobility. The Concept Sprinter F-CELL unites fuel cell and battery technology in a plug-in hybrid. The eDrive@VANs strategy involves not only the electrification of the vehicle fleet but also a customized overall system solution for each individual fleet. This includes advice on vehicle selection, assistance with tools such as the eVAN Ready app, and an overview of the total cost of ownership.